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Parents Go Nuts over First Grader with Peanut Allergy

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Parents of students who attend first grade with a girl who has a life-threatening peanut allergy want her removed and home-schooled, instead of following the special rules to protect her health.


"That was one of the suggestions that kept coming forward from parents, to have her home-schooled. But we're required by federal law to provide accommodations. That's just not even an option for us," said Nancy Wait, spokeswoman for the Volusia County School District.

"To protect the girl, students in her class at Edgewater Elementary School are required to wash their hands before entering the classroom in the morning and after lunch, and rinse out their mouths, Wait said, and a peanut-sniffing dog checked out the school during last week's spring break," according to Reuters.

"If I had a daughter who had a problem, I would not ask everyone else to change their lives to fit my life," said Chris Burr, a father of two students at the school.

School leaders are meeting this week to address all the parents concerns.

Momlgoic wants to know -- how would you feel if your child were part of this little girl's class? Also, how would you feel if your child were asked to leave due to a health issue?

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47 comments so far | Post a comment now
anonymous March 23, 2011, 4:05 PM

Well NANCY, I breastfed all of my kids exclusively for a year and my boys still have peanut allergies. Making generalized statements like that is just ridiculous. It’s like saying ALL bottle-fed kids have allergies. Or all idiots are named Nancy or Chris.

Debra March 23, 2011, 4:48 PM

If my child were in the class I would gladly oblige - just put yourself in the place of the parents and the little girl. However, if the child with the severe allergies were mine I would not be sending her to a public school - if the allergies are as severe as we’re made to believe I would either homeschool my child or put her in a private school. They may not be able to do this for financial reasons though.

Michelle  March 23, 2011, 5:52 PM

TO NANCY - Both of my girls were exclusively breastfed -

One has severe allergies to: Soy, Wheat, Eggs

The other has severe allergy to: MILK

Guess you should go hit the books again since you are blindly misinformed

Enid  March 23, 2011, 8:01 PM

its a shame what this child has to go through with the whole peanut allergy deal. But why can’t the parents home school this child until they are old enough to know exactly what to do in any case they come into contact with peanuts. What if by some mistake this child comes into contact with peanuts while under the care of the school and isnt tended to quick enough and it turns out fatal..then there is going to be a lawsuit on the school system..has anyone taken that into consideration. I know if i was a parent of one of the kids attending school, I would be a little upset too. I’m just saying

Julia March 23, 2011, 8:14 PM

To Nancy:

Are you serious? Do you even have children? My mother couldn’t breastfeed, so all 8 of us were formula fed. (Oh, the HORROR!!!) We are all adults now and we’re perfectly healthy, no allergies at all. My breastfed cousins, on the other hand, were always sickly and they both have allergies.

I’m not denying that breast milk is better, but do you honestly think that breast fed babies don’t get allergies? Puh-lease.

Oh, and did it ever cross your mind that some mothers are unable to nurse??

Anna March 23, 2011, 8:45 PM

This is so ridiculous. So the kids have to be more careful about washing their hands, and not bring peanut-containing foods to school. It’s not the end of the world!

And to the parent who said their child will not eat anything besides pb&j sandwhiches, if he really will not eat anything else, maybe he should be the one leaving the school. It’s too bad all the kids/parents can’t work together on this, but if anyone has to leave it should be the ones who are unwilling to be cooperative.

My final verdict: Leave the poor girl alone and let her stay in school. Kids have their entire lives to eat peanuts, not being able to during the 6 hours they’re at school should NOT be a big deal!

mamaspeak March 23, 2011, 9:27 PM

Ok, just read through all the comments, and OMG! what century are some of you people living in. It is not uncommon for kids w/severe allergies to be in public school. AND even kids who were breastfed end up w/allergies.

My daughter ended up sitting next to the kid w/the nut allergy in her classroom. SHE, not me, opted out of peanut butter while sitting next to him. Instead, she would have butter & jam on her sandwich & most of the time went w/a ham & cheese. The teacher has an epi pen in case the kid gets exposed. Again, NOT a big deal. Should kids who are allergic to bees stay home when it’s Spring? My kid has learned about being empathic and that everyone has issues, some are more visible than others.
Our school also has a zero tolerance bully police. Those parents would be kicked out.

Caz Makepeace March 24, 2011, 12:37 AM

Hard call. If my daughter had the peanut allergy then I would not want to inconvenience everyone nor put her at such a risk so I would probably home school.
But if my child was in the class, I would just deal with it and teach my child that sometimes we need to do things to help others, even if it costs us a little bit of inconvenience.

Tina March 24, 2011, 5:29 AM

The school should accomodate & support this child 100% & the parents of all the the other children need to set a better example… This little girl has a severe allergy & it’s life threatening. Not every child is “perfect” and in this day and age this shouldn’t even be an issue. There are all kinds of ‘disablities’ … WHY is this one child being singled out? I would be ashamed if I were one of those parents! It’s not THAT big of an adjustment - kids should wash their hands anyway.

Leah March 24, 2011, 5:55 AM

IF the child’s allergies are that severe she shouldn’t be in a school until she is older enough to be able to handle reactions (i.e. epipen)should she come in contact with whatever she is allergic to. I believe in accomondation TO A POINT - but when it’s every one else bending over backwards to accomodate the needs of only one, that’s ridiculous

Ms. Teacher March 24, 2011, 7:56 AM

‘It’s ridiculous to bend over backwards for one person.’ Seriously?!
If a child (who cannot help the allergy) is in this situation, we need to accommodate her. The parents did not choose the situation either. Not everyone has the ability to homeschool their child by financial means or other. Also, breastfed babies are not immune from allergies and you say it as if NOW they are able to go back and change things! (Many women who wished to breastfeed are unable to.)

Anonymous March 24, 2011, 8:22 AM

Wow, so many of you people are doing what the internet does best - hating a child. Seriously, this is ridiculous:

JESSIE SLAUGHTER needed police protection.
REBECCA BLACK has been told to cut herself and die.
And now we have someone with a peanut allergy.

The children in this class have to do two things:

Wash their hands.
Rinse their mouths.
(The dog was brought in ONCE.)

Is that really so hard to do? Is it so difficult that the child needs to be taken out of school? All the ‘what ifs’ don’t help the situation precisely because they are ‘what ifs’. What if a cow fell on your roof tomorrow? What if the moon drifted away on a rainbow? What if Texas turned out to be an imaginary land? Going into ‘what if’ territory helps nothing and highlights the prejudice of the speaker.

Maybe this girl doesn’t want to be home-schooled. Maybe the parents can’t afford to give up work in order to home-school her. Maybe they don’t have the money to pay for a private institution. Maybe, just maybe, being a class with a group of peers who respect her allergies and want to be her friend in spite of them is what this child needs the most. That, along with the support of her friends’ families. Seems like she doesn’t have many of those though.

Himsie March 24, 2011, 8:36 AM

I am completely sympathetic towards this childs situation. Having a peanut allergy is a life threatening condition. Our family lost our dear Carolyn to an allergic reaction to peanut oil. Her dinner was cooked in a pan that was previously used to cook someone else’s dinner. The restaurant even tried to accommodate her needs, but failed to realize that their pan was contaminated.
With that in mind, I believe the parents of said child are doing their kid a huge disservice. The world is not going to look out for their daughters health needs. The world is an unfriendly and dangerous place for this child and she must be trained to not take her allergy lightly. Even if everyone looks out for her, she will be contaminated by peanuts. She must be taught to care for herself and to not trust that others are preparing “safe” food.

I know that this may sound harsh - but I wish my Carolyn had lived her life this way. She’s been gone twenty years. Such a loss - if only she had been brought up to trust no one regarding her diet.

Danielle March 24, 2011, 9:16 AM

This is a life and death situation and if there is a way to protect that little girl then the parents of the classmates need to deal with it. I’m sure if the situation was reversed they would be yelling for rights for their child. My child is Autistic with Sensory Issues and he has a very picky diet but if he could only eat peanuts then I would expect him to eat in a different area from the little girl. That way both children are taken care of. It’s basic hygiene that the children are being taught and even more important, consideration for others. What message are these parents teaching their kids?

4EqltyMom March 24, 2011, 9:34 AM

Why is it that parents have such a problem with having to alter what they send in for school parties or what they send in their kid’s lunch, but they don’t have a problem with alterations to a building or classroom to accommodate wheelchairs, or accommodations for a severely mentally or physically disabled child, or accommodations for an autistic child, or accommodations for a learning disabled child? Why? Because it’s an inconvenience to the parents. This is about selfish, self-centered, entitled parents who wouldn’t think twice about demanding accommodations if it were their child, but who refuse to be “put out” when it’s not.

I don’t think it’s our place to debate the fact that these parents send their child to public school as opposed to homeschooling the child. Debating the safety of this choice is pointless. They’re sending the child to school. Not everything is as black and white as homeschooling the child.

Just like everything isn’t as black and white as @Nancy would like to think they are. Some kids are adopted from orphanages in foreign countries. They weren’t breast fed. Some people can’t breast feed, like me, due to a breast reduction for medical reasons prior to having children. Some people, like a good friend of mine, chose to have a bilateral mastectomy to save her life when she had breast cancer rather than preserve her milk ducts for her children.

It is not our place to judge these people for their choices because we don’t know their situation.

CosmoGirl March 24, 2011, 12:38 PM

Nancy, you’re stupid and blindly misinformed. I breastfed both my children. My 10 year old is fine. My soon to be 4 year old is allergic to peanuts. So you CAN breastfeed and STILL have children with product allergies. I wasn’t breastfed and I’m not allergic to any kind of food. Besides, what about mothers who can’t breastfeed due to medical issues? Are you going to say they shouldn’t have had kids at all since they can’t nurse? I hope your children don’t grow up with your misinformed opinions.

Carol March 24, 2011, 2:38 PM

This article is incomplete. The chidlren are require twice a day and on ocassion three times again to wash their hands and rinse their mouths. Aditional all surfaces must be disinfected. The time for all this is estimated at a hour a day. That’s 5 hours a week that the children are not be taught. That is what a number of parents are upset over.
Further, there is no plan in place in case a child is allegeric to dogs. Pet allegeries are common as well.
Apparently this child is so severly allegeric that even smelling peanuts can casue a reaction.
Before you jump down the opposing parents, look at the food in your own home. Peanut oil and products are is very common. Some ethnic groups feature peanut products and use the oil for cooking as a key competent.
So it is very hard for peanut residue, dust, particles, essences etc transferences on to clothes , shoes or backpacks not to occurr.
A child can go home, hug his mother as she’s stir frying with peanut oil, tiny oil splatter lands on the kids jacket. A kid eats a pb sandwich at home as residue on his hands, grabs his sneakers, jacket or backpack. Kids go to school and seats next to girl or passes her in the hall.
The girl’s safety can never be guaranteed.

Anonymous March 25, 2011, 6:03 AM

As a parent and person who suffers from severe allergies I think this is ridiculous to risk this child’s life putting her in a regular class and leaving the other frist graders and teacher to be responsible for her. IF her allergies really are that severe she must be homeschooled until she is of age to be responsible for herself. Public schools offer special home tutors for children with disabilities (as this clearly is).

Kelly March 25, 2011, 7:18 AM

My son has nut allergies. I think that washing your hands is a very small thing that is asked of the students. It not only will protect the child with the allergies but it will protect everyone else from the other germs that are picked up. I dont think they are asking a lot. How is this inconveniencing the other students?

Arlene Bradt March 25, 2011, 9:33 AM

This makes my heart ache. My 4 year old daughter has life-threatening allergies to nuta, dairy and egg.In this economy Private school and homeschooling are absolutely not an option for us. My child already knows not to take food/candy etc..from other children as well as how her epi-pens work and all the safety precautions she needs to follow while away from home. It is so rediculous that these parents are upset that their children have to follow a few simple safety rules to prevent cross contamination in the classroom. Whatever happened to compassion and understanding for others? Shame on Chris Burr for this selfish attitude. Has this child not suffered enough.If it was your child that could die from something as inocuous as a cracker you would have an entirely different attitude.She has a legal and moral right to be kept safe in her classroom!

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