Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Peanut Allergies

What do you think of this?

Despite protests by angry parents, a school in Florida is standing behind its decision to implement new regulations to protect a first grade student suffering from a severe peanut allergy.

Students at Edgewater Elementary are required to wash their hands and rinse their mouths out before entering the classroom each morning and after lunch. Teachers, who monitor the daily rinsing, must also ensure that desks are being continually wiped down with Clorox wipes. The school has banned all peanut products, eliminated snacks in the classroom and prevented outside food at holiday parties. And last week a peanut-sniffing dog was brought into the school.

District spokeswoman Nancy Wait of Volusia County Schools said the school is legally obligated to take these safety precautions because of the Federal Disabilities Act.
Is it all necessary?
“On average, it’s probably taking a good 30 minutes out of the day. That’s my child’s education. Thirty minutes could be a [whole] subject,” Carrie Starkey told FoxNews.com.

On Thursday she and other parents protested outside the school, picketing with signs that said, “Our Kids Have Rights Too.”

Experts say the school may have gone too far and that there are easier ways to protect the child.

No administrator ever got fired for playing it too safe.


Rhymes With Right said...

At what point does coddling those who are deathly allergic to common naturally occurring items in the environment do great harm not just to society, but to the human species?

I know that sounds heartless, but do we really want that gene preserved and passed on to the next generation?

James said...

How many children's rights are allowed to be infringed for one single child? And what is this child going to do when he grows up? Is he going to use the ADA to force his employer to make a "peanut free workplace"?

As awful as it is that this child apparently has such a dangerous allergy, it is unfair and unjust to require dozens of people to make such sacrifices to accommodate the very particular needs of a single individual.

Mr. W said...

it's things like this that piss me off.

I was reading a book to my daughter "Peanut Free Cafe". This new kid comes to school, but he's allergic to peanuts so he can't eat in the cafe because everyone else loves peanut butter. So the teacher makes a special peanut free room and makes it so fun everyone stops eating peanuts for him to go into the new room. This one kid ends up all by himself because he still likes his peanut butter sandwich. Eventually he gives in goes peanut free.

When I finished I told my wife I would never read that book again because the needs of the kid that likes peanut butter wasn't considered. You want a peanut free room, fine. But to make kids who like peanut butter feel bad because they could enjoy something others couldn't is pure liberalism. Horrible story.

To see it has gone this far is ridiculous. Rights of the other students are forgotten. I am glad to see this happening.

W.R. Chandler said...

I swear, peanut allergies have practically become a status symbol.

These measures being taken are ludicrous. To subject the other students to this nonsense is a waste of time, and the other students' parents are correct in their anger.

Mary Elliott said...

My first thought is...

I wonder who this child's parents are, and why they have so much clout that a school can go to such lengths for one child?

My second thought...

If allergies are now going to be classified as disabilities, it's going to open up a whole new can of worms in the schools, and yet another thing that will interfere with what our school system was set up for...learning.

scott mccall said...

this is what happens when we start catering to every little detail about every single person.

next thing....they'll get rid of all electronics in the classroom because they dont want to offend the religion of the Amish students

handsinthesoil said...

I can understand allergies- my mother goes into anaphlactic (however you spell it) shock from many medications, and I get hives from certain foods and medicines...not a deadly allergy, but hey, I have some perspective.
However, how the heck will this kid survive? I am sick and tired of this my child is a god/idol mentality. Does mommy clorox the park bench, the entire grocery store - shelves, produce, etc? Does mommy tell the McDonalds cashier to wash her hands? Does mommy walk around with sick-people face masks, purell, and caution tape when walking her son down the sidewalk? I doubt it so she is just being a b---- to the school. Or perhaps her precious son never leaves home (except for school) because of his allergy which I'd say is child abuse and perhaps why he has the allergy in the first place- being too sanitized leads to problems.

Anonymous said...

I'm surprised at the people who can say that his genes are better off not passed on to the next generation or that he won't survive in the real world so why make an effort to keep him alive today without having talked with him or his mother.

Sounds an awful lot like eugenics, and I'm not trying to be controversial but as soon as you start talking about how a persons genetic trait would be unfavorable in your future human race that's what it sound like.

You're assuming that his family has a higher social standing and that is why the school is making the extra effort, or you're assuming that the mother is doing it just to be a "b****" and everyone knows what happens when you assume.

I think that the line "Experts say the school may have gone too far and that there are easier ways to protect the child" sums up this article best.

Some effort should be made to allow this child to have an education, but the measures that this school took may have gone too far.

Happy Elf Mom said...

I'm sad to see the attitude in some of the comments. These kids should just die off and help the human race?

I can see having a peanut-free room and insisting that the children wash their hands and have a sip of water at the drinking fountain before coming in. That oughtn't take half an hour of class time.

I grant you the constant clorox-wiping seems a bit overboard. But if you've ever seen a child struggle to breathe, you'd at least understand where some of these folks are coming from.

The attitude of the mother that her child ought to be able to go to school no matter what seems a little odd though. You can't prevent every bit of peanut at a place like a school. Someone at the grocery store could have touched something you later brought home and that sort of thing. Multiply that by 500 and you can see how much risk there really is. I would keep him home until he's a bit older and able to do his own epipen/advocacy.

KauaiMark said...

That's just plain "nuts"...so to speak.

Anna A said...

I'm puzzled by all the requirements. The Clorox wipes, etc. sound more like protecting someone from bacteria, not a food stuff.

What happens if a superbug is formed and the kids get very sick? Is the school going to take responsibility?

Darren said...

I'll admit to a little discomfort in Rhymes With Right's eugenics-like point and will agree with what Happy Elf Mom wrote above.

Rhymes With Right said...

And for what it's worth, I'm not entirely comfortable with the comment I posted, either. I'm not sure that I like the conclusions that the questions I posed might lead to.

But let's be honest -- how far do we go to aid those so mal-adapted to the environment that the presence of a common substance is potentially fatal to them? Does it stop at the launching of an anti-peanut jihad like is seen at this school? Do we pass laws to ban peanuts in interstate commerce or in programs funded with government dollars? Do we start a peanut eradication campaign to eliminate the deadly nuts from the planet entirely? How far is far enough? And what other extreme allergies do we accommodate in this way?

Folks may not like me pointing out that Darwin tells us how nature deals with such mutations outside of the cocoon of human society, but that is the reality -- but that does not make it any less true. And I put forth an intentionally contrararian view in order to raise the issue that we do not like to think about -- that accommodating certain conditions that are otherwise fatal (and I'll include my own diabetes in that category) has the potential to perpetuate them in the species and lead to greater problems for us down the road. Where do we draw the line between the good of each individual and look at the common good for ourselves and future generations? Maybe this story and this forum are not the right place to ask those questions -- but that is where I was pointing.

W.R. Chandler said...

What if a school has a kid with a deadly reaction to bee stings, and the mother tells the school to pull up all flowering plants on th campus and not let the students bring anything sugary to school because these things attract bees?

Telling the other students they can't bring certain food items to school because one kid will have an allergic reaction is ridiculous. If the kid is that sensitive to such an everyday item, then the kid needs to be put in a special school or taught at home.

MiaZagora said...

I don't know what the solution is to the peanut problem in schools. Maybe the kids could arrive 30 minutes earlier, or stay 30 minutes later to make up for the lost class time? Maybe they should open up whole peanut free schools?

We had a kid at our church that would have a reaction if someone had eaten peanuts or peanut butter and breathed in his general direction. His dad was always around, policing the food brought to childrens' events. But, the guy really did have terrible reactions. Fortunately, he grew out of most of it, from what I understand.

On the other hand, the mother of a girl in my daughter's Kindergarten class claimed her daughter was allergic to peanuts, so we couldn't pack peanut butter products for lunch. It turns out, the mother had lied. The girl wasn't allergic to peanuts. She was just afraid that her daughter would eat some peanut butter by sharing lunch with a friend and consume some "peanut mold"...which is apparently bad for you...but the evil peanut butter people don't care...at least according to the mother who is a "Naturopathic Doctor". She lied because she said it was hard to explain. :0)

Ellen K said...

This appears to be more of the same shaping of the school environment to the individual rather than the individual conforming to the environment. Granted, the parents say the child has a severe allergy BUT I also know that I have had several students who admitted that they could work themselves into an asthma attack before a big test. While safety for all should be a concern, I see a situation where some parents create a type of hysteria that insures their child is always in the limelight for good or ill. So what's next? Lots of kids are lactose intolerant. Should we remove milk from the school menu? In a similar manner many children are allergic to wheat. So now are pasta, bread and crackers also to be banned? At what point does this end? If a child is so very allergic that the mere PBJ breath of a classmate can cause anaphylatic shock, then I question whether this child should be permitted out of the very safe and narrow confinement of his home. After all, the rest of the world doesn't have to conform to the No peanut room. Frankly, it appears that some parents are using medical excuses to bully the rest of us to conform to their worldviews.