School Torn Apart by Peanut Allergies
The debate over special accommodation for peanut allergies has gotten ugly at a Florida school. Parents at a school in Edgewater, Florida are asking that a 6-year-old with a life-threatening peanut allergy be homeschooled so their children don't have to deal with the rules to protect her.
I'm sure the story is more complicated than it seems, but it plays ugly in the media. The grade one student is severely allergic to nuts and to minimize her exposure, the school insisted that her classmates wash their hands and rinse out their mouths twice a day. (The horrors!) The Board allegedly sent in a police dog to sniff out nut remains over March Break.
Some parents dislike the "time-wasting" aspect of this and have even staged protests, picketing on the school grounds. The board dropped the mouth rinsing component, but the hand washing stays.
My step-father has an anaphylactic reaction to peanuts and tree nuts so I have a sense of the fear of nuts. But luckily I do not have an allergic child. I have no problem with schools being nut-free zones or hand washing. I don't love the fact that bake sales have been cancelled because of fear of allergies. I wasn't too happy when I had to sign a form at our local gymnastics that my child would not eat nuts before class. But I am willing to make accommodations for nut allergies because I think that is part of being in a community and it is a good lesson for my kids. Not to mention, I would never want to be the cause of a child having a severe reaction.
What surprises me about this story is the lengths the opposing parents are going to to fight the safeguards. What lesson are they teaching their own kids about being part of a community? Children are often more empathetic than adults and will go to extra lengths to protect their friends. I find it surprising that parents think that by ostracizing a child they are teaching their own children a good lesson about education.
What accommodations does your school make? Do you think it is far enough or too far?
Want more chaos? Last year, I tried to count up the UPIs (unidentified parent injuries).