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March 24th, 2011
09:36 AM ET

Parents picket girl with peanut allergy, ask her to withdraw from school

A student at Edgewater Elementary School in Volusia County, Florida is being asked to withdraw from the school by her classmates' parents.

The student has a life-threatening peanut allergy and, as a result, her classmates are asked to make accommodations to ensure her safety. Some parents of children at the school say the extra steps their children are taking to ensure the girl's health, such as washing their hands or rinsing out their mouths, are taking away from their own children's learning. Meanwhile, the school is standing by its decision to make accommodations for the student.

Do your kids have allergies? What's your take on the situation?

Jason Carroll reports on the controversy in Florida.

Dr. Scott Sicherer, Professor of Pediatrics at Jaffe Food Allergy Institute at Mount Sinai Medical Center, talks to Kiran Chetry about how to handle food allergies.


Filed under: Education • Food • Health
soundoff (808 Responses)
  1. KC

    As someone who has worked in an elementary school, I can honestly tell you that handwashing and mouth rinsing do not take NEARLY as long as dealing with a kid who is undisciplined and acting up in class. As for the parents who are "protesting", what is that teaching your children? Seriously think about it for a minute. The children will think their rights are more important that a child who could DIE if these simple (and these are very simple) steps are not followed. I feel very bad for the little girl who has people with no sense of empathy protesting against her attending school with their children when she has done absolutely nothing wrong! I think adults make huge deals over stuff that the kids really do not care about. Personally I think the kids who act out should have protesters on the streets to have them removed from class.I would like someone to do a study to see if the kids whose parents have no sense of empathy end up being bullies later on.

    March 26, 2011 at 9:44 pm |
  2. B

    I am appalled at this situation. The real disability is with the brains of these parents! We can't make a few sacrifices for someone. They have an opportunity to teach their kids lessons and they are choosing the wrong one. Think about yourself only!!!

    March 26, 2011 at 9:42 pm |
  3. Lili

    My school banned peanuts all together! We are now no longer to eat peanutbutter and jelly sandwiches nor have brownies nor chocolate chip cookies because of 1 child. There are students and this school who RELY on peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to get through the day-simply because there are so few appealing options. For many children, peanut butter is a vital source of protein. What happens to these children when a very important nutrient is taken out of their diet completely?

    March 26, 2011 at 3:04 pm |
  4. Al

    So, why do all the other kids suffer while this girl with an allergy gets the kid gloves treatment? I feel sorry for the girl that is suffering, but this is why our education system is in shambles – we go out of our way to tailor around the lowest common denominator; as a result the other 99% get shafted.

    This child would be better off in a home-schooled environment to avoid the possible dangers of being contaminated in a peanut area as well as avoiding the backlash as a result of school administrators catering to one person's whims over several hundred. Sorry, life is not fair.

    March 26, 2011 at 2:45 pm |
  5. Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

    Schools already DO this, A. Marie. They don't allow classroom pets, or plants, or many other objects or substances that are unhealthy for anyone who is in the classroom or in the school.

    Of course, no one can guarantee that no allergens will cross any child's path. But the public schools DO have an obligation to provide an education in the least restrictive environment that is appropriate for every child.

    What some of the idiot parents in this case don't grasp is that IF this child is denied access to education at her school, then THEIR TAXES WILL BE USED TO PAY FOR PRIVATE EDUCATION FOR HER. Her parents will not be required to provide it-YOU will, out of your taxes.

    Get a clue, you bozos.

    March 26, 2011 at 2:28 pm |
  6. someone8u9243894389643

    I agree the school should accomodate her REASONABLY, like asking parents not to have kids bring peanut butter sandwiches to school or serve peanut items in the cafeteria. But this situation is very extreme because this child is so highly allergic that anything that was near a peanut could come in contact with her and possible cause a fatal reaction. what if the allergic child touched a pencil or pen that another classmate brought to school but also used while at home while eating a peanut butter sandwich?
    If this girls allergies are that bad, then she should be schooled at home. The city can hire a tutor.
    The liability in this situation is too great and if she still suffers a fatal reaction, the parents could still sue the school.
    It is impossible to accomodate every disablitiy, and if the situation is too extreme that reasonable measures cant be taken, the child should receive tutoring at home
    While the picketing by parents sounds also extreme, i feel it does take away from students learning to have to obsess by making kids wash their hands and rinse out their mouths over the possiblity of a single peanut item being on a surface. many foods contain peanut oil. if a child sneaks a snack in school with peanuts, eats it, and this girl touches the surface where the snack was, she will still suffer a reaction that could be fatal. there is no way to reduce the risk 100 percent.
    carry an epipen, serve no peanut items in the cafeteria, and hope for the best,

    March 26, 2011 at 2:28 pm |
  7. Rick

    Perhaps Fred Phelps can open a branch office so these parents can feel at home with other morons. Typical all-that-matters-is-me-and-mine behavior. I'm sure their kids will grow up to be warm, loving, compassionate people, too.

    March 26, 2011 at 2:00 pm |
  8. Justin

    The one thing I noticed pop up a couple of times is what about the child's ability not to touch children as well. I think this is more about the parents than the child. I noticed someone mention Epi-Pen, that would work as well. The thing I truely don't understand is the mouth rinsing. Unless they plan on the children making out on the playground, I don't think that is really an issue. Unless they are literly sitting on each others lap and always cheek to cheek. The Epi-pen is the only thing the school needs to have. The rest is about the parents, not the child. And the child should make sure those kinds of things are not happening.

    March 26, 2011 at 1:19 pm |
  9. D Dunn

    I am the daughter of D.Dunn and being only in middle school, i know i have sense enough to say that this is a completely selfish and unreasonable act of the parents. Protesting to condemn a life of an innocent 6 year old to one of segregation is definitely not setting a good example for the young generation. First of all, the child cannot help her allergy and has every right to have a normal childhood as any other kid. Second, yes the parents are teaching their kids to fight for their rights, but by doing this, they are mostly teaching their kids to defend what they like, despite the fact that another person can be put in the hospital or even die. I have never heard that peanut butter is vital to the health of any person. If anything, peanut butter is a very bad thing due to it's high content of sugar, bad fat, sodium, and many other things, and is definitely not worth petitioning against a school for. This situation is LIFE THREATENING. Plus, washing hands and rinsing out mouths after lunch are a good habit to start in the first place. So please, SOMEONE talk some sense into these selfish morons who call themselves good parents.

    March 26, 2011 at 12:42 pm |
  10. Ben

    If you're so deathly allergic to peanuts or anything else for that matter, STAY HOME. I was on a plane with a group of high school students on a trip to DC, and one of the parents of the children, who was not going on the trip, got on the plane and demanded that no one eat anything containing peanuts on the flight.
    Parents are too protective.... Kids are too sanitized and sterilized. Whatever happened to "god made dirt, dirt don't hurt"? People need to get over themselves. There is a point where your disabilities become a disability to your peers and that is the point where you need to either man up or pack up.

    March 26, 2011 at 12:14 pm |
  11. Cary L

    I'm not so concerned with the values the children have, as much as their parents.... if they are raising these children to have an attitude of intolerance, what sort of adults and future leaders are they creating?

    March 26, 2011 at 11:17 am |
  12. Lea

    To A. Marie,

    Your son with asthma can easily be treated as long as he has his dispenser, however, if the child with the peanut issue comes in contact with peanuts she will die. So let us be smart and when comparing, compare it with a comparable problem.

    March 26, 2011 at 11:01 am |
  13. Lea

    I cannot believe mothers would picket against a 9 year old child. If they have a problem with the child, have a meeting just amoung adults about the situation and their concerns. They could have taken this oppurtunity and become educated about the situation and pass this on to their child.
    What is up with the "No Dogs" sign. I hope they are not referring to the little girl, if so, they should be ashamed.

    March 26, 2011 at 10:58 am |
  14. Duh!

    What are we, France? It's called good hygene, people! Those w/o allergies might even get one or two less colds a year as a result of the children having a couple extra encounters with soap and water every day...

    March 26, 2011 at 10:11 am |
  15. JLM

    These parents should be ashamed of themselves. Food allergies are extremely serious and it isnt the kids' fault. They should not be made to feel like they are a burden.

    March 26, 2011 at 10:01 am |
  16. Corvus1

    These parents are monsters, picking on a little girl who never did them any harm.

    March 26, 2011 at 9:47 am |
  17. A.Marie

    All I can say is this: If this school (and other schools) are going to go to so much time and effort to ensure a completely peanut-free atmosphere for this child, and other children, which they should, then they (the schools) should also ensure a completely allergen-free atmosphere for children that have allergies and asthma, a completely fragrance-free chemical-free atmosphere for children that have sensitivity to smells, and a completely mold-free atmosphere for mold allergies (tNo potted plants of any kind).

    While this sounds crazy, believe me, it is not. My son had terrible asthma while in grade school, and since the school was not air conditioned, in order to get some relief from the heat, the school would open windows. That would trigger my son's asthma (ie pollen in the spring, smoke from leaves burning in the fall). The school and I worked together to try and alleviate his symptoms. Did he get special treatment? No. Did the other children with asthma? No. Was his asthma severe enough to be life-threatening? At times, yes. But, it was during those times that I kept him home and treated him until he recovered enough to be at school and out of danger.

    March 25, 2011 at 5:09 pm |
  18. Bridgette

    Maybe they should be like the schools in Canada.......peanuts and peanut products are not even allowed in the school at all! All packageing has to say peanut free on it, or at least " Contains no traces of peanuts" or "Made at a peanut free facility". Besides we have to make our childrens lunches everyday! Maybe they should just think about that as another route that the school could go.

    March 25, 2011 at 5:05 pm |
  19. Tom

    My daughter was in a class with a child that had peanut allergies and we received a number of instructions from our preschool that told us what we should and should not do. I have to say, my wife and I didn't even think twice about complying with the requests. Yes, some of the accommodations in this case sound extreme, but in the end we are talking about the well-being and life of a child who lives in our community.

    I am truly surprised by the people who are posting that this is an issue of the rights of the other children or that are implying that this is a 'slippery slope' issue that will result in the government telling us what to do. Maybe it's because I live in a community where people look out for each other and are willing to help others without benefits to themselves. Ironically, I thought that most communities were like that, but from the attitude of some of the posters who support the picketers, I guess I was wrong.

    March 25, 2011 at 4:58 pm |
  20. Kimberly

    Wow, we as a culture have hit an all time low for impatience and intolerance. Asking the kids to brush their teeth or wash their hands may affect their learning?? OMG I am embarrassed for them. Shame on you poor inconvenienced parents...........

    March 25, 2011 at 4:44 pm |
  21. jon

    So they are asking the kids to be clean and brush their teeth. I can only believe they are doing a favor for these parents. Way to show tolerance and set a fine example. It is very sad these people can be this cruel and stupid at the same time.

    March 25, 2011 at 4:04 pm |
  22. OCFoodAllergy

    I think this really comes down to ignorance about food allergies in some ways. We run a support group for Parents of Kids with Food Allergies (www.ocfoodallergy.com) and it is difficult to be completely objective until your kid lives with a life threatening food allergy.

    Imagine walking into a room filled with candy or kids eating pizza. For the parent of a kid with a food allergy...it is like seeing your kid walk into a room filled with poison. Now send your child to school every with this mindset. It is extremely difficult to deal with daily.

    We will be praying for the child and parents.

    March 25, 2011 at 3:12 pm |
  23. Linilla

    These parents are making the same argument that smokers used to make: We have the right to do something that harms the health of others. Fortunately, most places are now protecting non-smokers, esp. children.

    I read the comment about peanut-sniffing dogs and yes, that seems a bit invasive, but no more so than bomb-sniffing dogs and drug-sniffing dogs. We do what we can to protect human life. Or do we???

    March 25, 2011 at 2:51 pm |
  24. Sue Collett

    Those parents are absolutely ridiculous!! I cant beleive there is so much stupidity in this world. That poor little girl is actually being asked to stay at home because she has a life threatening allergy to peanuts??

    Wow, parents!! Just because they want the kids to rinse their mouths and wash their hands they are protesting? They shouldnt be allowed to bring nuts to school at all!

    Those parents are teaching their kids the wrong message! Shame on you!!!

    March 25, 2011 at 2:50 pm |
  25. AmyButz

    Honestly... these parents are HORRIBLE role models for their children... how about teach your child to be tolerant and understanding of people with ALL abilities... I bet that the majority of the children of the protesting adults spend a surplus of 30 minutes a day talking and acting out in class... taking away from everyone's 'learning experience'.

    I work at a summer camp with children attending that have severe nut, gluten, berry and other allergies... it is NOT that hard to accommodate them and teach the other children valuable life lessons...

    EVERYONE has the right to attend a publicly funded school and enjoy the comforts of a SAFE atmosphere. These parents wont win because the ADA is blatantly clear... I feel sorry for the children of the protesters... what are we teaching the youth of today? Pathetic

    March 25, 2011 at 2:44 pm |
  26. JD

    Seems some people are missing the point. If classmates had to wear white suits and gas masks, yes there would be an argument that they are inconvenienced. In this case as far I understand the kids were being asked to wash their hands and lunches were left outside of the room (and I assume no peanut butter in school). This is such a minor inconvenience. Why would we question it if it means a little girl dramatically increases her chance of living? No, there are never guarantees in life. I could die in a car accident today but I minimize the chance by driving responsibly and asking others to do the same. The parents of this child made a choice to take that calculated risk that their little girl not be given a life sentence, for her crime of receiving an illness that is becoming increasingly more common in children. So heaven forbid she be seen at the mall or a movie theatre where there is a chance someone may be eating peanut butter. The reality is the parents have an Epi-pen and 15 minutes to get medical treatment if she has a severe reaction. I suppose she should be on house arrest and when she gets bigger, we can build a special nut free prision for her kind. It can be right beside the prison with physically handicapped people or the ones with learning disabled individuals... but wait, we have learned to help these people lead productive lives even though years ago they were marginalized and shunned from society. We grew as a society to believe helping these individuals was the right thing to do. We fight oversees to help build a better world for all and no, we don't save every child from starving or every woman from discrimination but we have no doubt of what is right and wrong. That is why I have a hard time understanding why so many of you can easily condemn a little girl for having a peanut allergy. Obviously, the parents will teach her to help protect herself and yes, some day she will have a job but she is 6 at this time. Kimberley, I see you are trying to show both sides but trying to increase a child's chance of survival by washing hands is not "hysterical, unreasonable and self-centered."

    March 25, 2011 at 2:29 pm |
  27. Lynn

    There are unanswered questins here. Why is this child eating alone in the classrom? Is she life-threatened just by being in the same room with people who may be eating something containing peanuts? And why the conern with teeth brushing and handwashing. Could she die if she drank from a cup used by someone who'd eaten peanuts hours earlier, or if she touched something touched by someone who'd eaten peanuts, then put her fingers in her mouth. Can the other children really understand the sevverity of her condition, and the danger it prsents? Can the teacher, in a crowded classroom where she's expected to be occupied with teaching, be observant enough to insure the child's safety? As a former Special Education teacher, I know there's usually no problem with children with different kinds and degrees of allergies in the classroom. Accomodations can be easily made. I know too that chiildren, and their parents, and teachers, are usually quite willing to accomodate children with special needs. of all kinds. This could be a situation where the severity of the child's condition, and the risk it presents to her, may be severe enough for parents to question whether or not a classroom full of children is a safe and apprpriate place for her. to be. My heart goes out to the child, but I can't pass judgement on the objecting parents without knowing more about the situation.

    March 25, 2011 at 2:21 pm |
  28. Stacy

    These parents disgust me completely. My son is in the 3rd grade and has had a child with allergies in his classroom since he was a kindergartener. Yes, it was challenging at times to find food he was allowed to bring to school, but we adjusted. After all, a CHILD'S LIFE is at stake here. You people should be ashamed of yourselves. If it were your child, you would want other parents to understand. SHAME ON YOU for teaching your children intolerance.

    March 25, 2011 at 2:06 pm |
  29. Jim

    What happens to a child that brings a peanut butter sandwich to school? Are they treated the same as one who brings aspirin to school and get expelled for a drug offense, or the A-student kid who gets expelled from drawing a picture of a gun?

    March 25, 2011 at 1:50 pm |
  30. John

    I get the feeling that this article is biased in favor of the girl with the peanut allergy. From what I understand, dogs were brought in to ensure that others had not peanut residue on them, and if so, they were told to change and clean up. To me that seems a bit excessive.

    Noone is saying that a girl dying is preferable to washing hands. The sad fact is that peanuts are in a lot of products and in a public setting like a school, it should be expected to be present. This is something this little girl is going to have to learn to deal with her entire life. The operative word here is Reasonable. Instituting a hand washing policy and informing everyone of the alergy as well as training staff the use of an epi pen are reasonable. Searching childen to make sure that they have no contact with peanuts is not.

    That being said, If a bully brings peanuts to school and starts tossing them at this little girl having known of the allergy, they should be charged with assault.

    March 25, 2011 at 1:13 pm |
  31. Kelly

    a girl like this went to my middle school when I was in high school. No one could bring in peanut products and all staff were taught to use her epi-pen. beside intense cleaning (the dust from peanuts could kill her) not much was out of the ordinary. a few boys snuck a jar of peanut butter in and were caught smearing it in the cafeteria, they got 10 day out of school suspension, and would've been expelled if it happened again. they thought it would "be fun to see them use the epipen".

    March 25, 2011 at 1:04 pm |
  32. Suzanne

    This reminds me of the behavior and attitude shown to young Ryan White, as he and his family delt with his diagnosis of HIV.
    How sad that this many years later.............TOLERANCE is still non-existant for a child with a "difference". THis could be a wonderful learning experience for this community's families and children.

    "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."

    March 25, 2011 at 12:48 pm |
  33. DisappointedDad

    As the father of a severely food allergic child I am appalled at some of the comments here about the child's 'condition'. There is no way for a first grader to adequately protect herself. If her allergy is severe enough to carry an epi-pen, she cannot give herself an injection until she is several years older. Before my son was diagnosed, I did not appreciate the severity of food allergies. All it could take is one inadvertent exposure to kill the child. As my son has grown he is able to police himself and keep himself from exposure. However, dismissive attitudes only foster potential bullying later when kids can use this condition to inflict fear and injury on some.
    The school is not asking for kids to stop eating the allergen all together, simply to wash their hands and wipe their mouths. Please be reasonable. No one is asking for privileged status, just a safe environment. How inconvenient would it be to the kids and parents for the child to have an allergic reaction in the classroom?

    March 25, 2011 at 12:39 pm |
  34. Melanie

    If it's really that bad, she SHOULD be home schooled, because she will have to get used to working alone in a sterile environment for the rest of her life. Does she really think that a college or a workplace will accommodate her needs?

    Maybe the other parents could have been nicer, though. A written request, signed by all the parents and delivered via messenger to the school and the child's parents would have been the appropriate action.

    Picketing is for people who are only interested in making a fuss and not actually fixing anything.

    March 25, 2011 at 12:26 pm |
  35. Annoyed

    Why is it that ever parent out there thinks their child should have special privileges? Is it sad that this child has a severe allergy? Yes, but is it right give him or her special privilege by asking everyone around to go out of their way for them? No It isn't. Look, lets be honest here...from a natural selection standpoint this child will not survive long. Sad yes, for the people near to them. Don't be hypocritical. The rest of us really don't care, we don't know this child, The child is not part of our lives aside from this story. If the child has special issues then the parents should be making the accommodations and sacrifice by putting the child be in a special school. They shouldn't be asking everyone else at the school to make those sacrifices and accommodations. The parents need to grow up, take responsibility, and quit being so lazy and selfish.

    March 25, 2011 at 12:18 pm |
  36. Annoyed

    Why is it that ever parent out there thinks their child should have special privileges? Is it sad that this child has a severe allergy? yes, but is it right give him or her special privilege by asking everyone around to go out of their way fro them. Look, lets be honest here...from a natural selection standpoint this child will not survive long. Sad yes, for the people near to them. Don't be hypocritical. The rest of us really don't care, we don't know this child, The child is not art of our lives aside from this story. If the child has special issues then the parents should be making the accommodation or sacrifice by putting the child be in a special school is the bottom line. They shouldn't be asking everyone else at the school to make those sacrifices and accommodations. The parents need to quite being so lazy and selfish.

    March 25, 2011 at 12:14 pm |
  37. Linda

    How sad this world is becoming when a child is discriminated because of their illness. Anyone can become disabled where they expect a little act of kindness and just plain decency.

    It would be a good lesson for the children for tolerance, kindness, and about disabilities. So many of our children now will be getting illnesses much earlier because of obesity and the many dangers we are exposed to daily.

    There are millions that are sick from just everyday products such as fragrance, lotions, detergents, etc. Sadly our leaders let companies make products with chemicals that have not been proven to be safe.

    I myself have this illness and I was fine most of my life. After reading for 12 years I have come to learn about the dangers we face daily with our products.

    With so many children with asthma and so many illnesses let's try to be a little more humane to this poor little child just trying to live their life as nornally as possible. This could happen to your child. Allergies can come at any time in life. Linda

    March 25, 2011 at 12:07 pm |
  38. Canadian Mom

    I am the parent of a daughter with peanut/allnut allergies and live in Oakville, Ontario (Canada). The U.S. should learn from Ontario which has legislated a law in 2006 named Sabrina's Law named after an Ontario student who died from an allergice reaction to food served at her school cafetaria. All Ontario schools have a Peanut free policy which is graciously being followed by all parents & students here in Ontario. Schools have a picture of every student with such alleergies posted in the office & classrooms for everyone's awareness & the policy is adhered to very conscientiously by all, with empathy & understanding. The great news is that here in Canada, it is now easy to find Nestle, Hershey & Mars bars, Quaker bars, Chapman's Ice cream to name a few companies, which are making penaut free/nut free products with the peanut free symbol, that children can bring to school without any worries. I never saw these products in the Bay Area when I went looking for them last summer. With the ver increasing numbers in peanut/nut allergies, I suggest the U.S. learn Canada and seriously look into legislation like Sabrina's Law which Ontario implemented to keep ALL children safe in school.

    March 25, 2011 at 11:48 am |
  39. Laura

    Y'know, I was about to come in here with a paragraph on how rude this kid and parents are to expect this, but I thought it over: Why SHOULDN'T we be teaching this kind of tolerance in schools? Why SHOULDN'T we be allowing teachers and schools to say "Wash your hands and mouths out so this person doesn't get sick"? I was wrong in my first line of thinking and I'll totally accept that, but it's not wrong to practice good hygiene– if you bathe regularly, you're practicing it anyway.

    March 25, 2011 at 11:31 am |
  40. Sam

    The law requires reasonable accommodation to be made. Banning peanuts from the classroom really isn't unreasonable. Making sure that kids wash their hands after lunch? I don't think anyone wants lunch residue smeared over the classroom equipment anyway, whether they're allergic to it or not. Washing your hands after eating is part of being a civilized human being, and something we should teach our children.

    Rinsing your mouth out? That's a bit bizarre. If it's not safe for your child to sit in a room with someone who might have eaten peanut butter an hour ago, it's not safe for your child to ride a bus, go to a store, a theater, or anywhere else in public. That goes beyond "reasonable".

    March 25, 2011 at 11:26 am |
  41. SM

    These protesting parents should think of the Golden Rule. And I doubt that this child is being shielded from the realities of life by the school implementing these rules. My niece has a life-threatening peanut allergy. She has been able to inject herself with an Epi-pen, seek medical attention in case of emergency, and ask an adult about the safety of ingredients since she was 4. She has been taught to face life as a child with a life-threatening allergy so that she can face life as an adult with that same allergy, I do not think it is too much to ask to ask this girl's schoolmates to wash their hands and rinse their mouths in order to help her protect herself.

    March 25, 2011 at 11:23 am |
  42. Canadian Mom

    As the mom of a 14 year with a peanut allergy, I know the struggles that our family has had to deal with when at school, in a restaurant, or even on a family trip. We addressed this issue up front with his public school when he started junior kindergarten and educated both the school, classmates & parents. We never had to deal with the kind of discrimination this little 6 year old girl is facing.

    To the picketing parents, your child will not suffer if they can't have their PB&J sandwich for lunch. Let them have it on their toast before school or after school. There are other alternatives. For some children with anaphylaxis to peanuts, the smell alone can trigger an anaphylactic reaction with seconds ... seconds that could kill or permanently damage a child/person.

    In Canada, there is a law that has been past (link below):

    http://allergicliving.com/index.php/2010/07/02/sabrinas-law-the-girl-and-the-allergy-law/?page=2

    Good luck to the parents of this girl... keep up the fight... she has every right to attend this public school and NOT be put in a separate room to eat her lunch.

    March 25, 2011 at 11:07 am |
  43. D

    As parents, we need to seize opportunities for character development in our children. These picketing parents and their children have lost out on so much. A few years ago, I was at a fair with my children and paid $2 for them to shoot 12 arrows at straw target. Next to us stood a parent and child. Each time the attendant wasn't looking, the parent would have the child sneak another arrow. My children watched and started to do the same. I wouldn't let them, and later we have a talk about stealing, but more importantly, honor and character. Do we have a price for which we are willing to sell our honor and character? For this parent, it was $2 worth of arrows. For these picketing parents, they are willing to sell their compassion and mercy for peanuts.

    March 25, 2011 at 10:36 am |
  44. Sera

    I sympathize with the poor little girl affected by the allergy.

    I sympathize with her parents, who most likely have an everyday fear that their child will have a life threatening reaction to exposure to a peanut product.

    I think, however, that some of the measures this school district has taken has been too extreme. Peanut sniffing dogs, seriously?

    One of the parent's in the school district made a very good point when it was announced that a "peanut sniffing dog" would be included in an inspection of the school; the parent said her child had severe allergic reactions to cat/dog hair and could the school guarantee that the dog's fur would not cause an allergic reaction in her child.

    I am sure the parents of the child with the peanut allergy, as well as the school system are educating her how best to protect herself from an allergic reaction. I am sure the other children in her school are being educated to maintain a healthy environment for everyone, as well as being taught to add compassion and flexibility in their lives.

    As cold as it may sound, schools, the work place, the world can't/won't (?) change for a minority of the population.

    This child, and any other person with life threatening allergies have to learn to live in a world filled with the allergens that can cost them their lives.

    March 25, 2011 at 10:29 am |
  45. Mr. Fusion

    Very silly on most of the people responding.

    It is a question of rights. The parents protesting are quite correct that this is giving special rights to the allergic child. Allowing one child to determine the allowed lunch menu should not be tolerated.

    If a parent is unemployed will the school now ban all foreign made products? Why not? Outsourcing jobs is THE leading cause of unemployment. And if you want to claim unemployment can't be compared to the life of a child, tell that to the person with no health insurance.

    So if it is not too much to force parents to deny their children peanuts, it won't be too much to also force these same parents to buy American.

    March 25, 2011 at 10:01 am |
  46. John

    Wow.. I've got two girls, ages 8 and 6.
    The school has educated them so well about peanut allergies that they won't even get out of their pajamas until after breakfast to ensure no peanut butter gets on their school clothes. I'm proud of them for taking the subject so seriously.
    Honestly.. kids should be washing their hands at least twice a day regardless...
    Not a big deal.

    March 25, 2011 at 9:31 am |
  47. Meagan

    This is really directed to the people who think this child should be taught to protect herself. You're right, she should be, but we have to remember that she's 6-years-old. Anyone who has a 6-year-old doesn't expect them to be able to independently protect themselves in any other circumstance. We teach them about "safe touch" but we rely on schools to not hire pedophiles; we teach them how to look both ways before crossing the street, but employ crossing guards. At this age, it is a school's responsibility to be our backup and protect our children – no matter the circumstance. My daughter has a life-threatening peanut allergy and having a peanut free table at lunch and classrooms with extra hand washings didn't teach her that she would be accommodated for the rest of her life, but it did allow her to be somewhat carefree at age 6. Yes, this girl's parents need to diligently teach her how to protect herself, but they need the support of their community until she's old enough and responsible enough to understand the gravity of her situation. Nobody expects any other 6-year-old to contemplate her own mortality and react in a way that will protect it every single time. Why should that responsibility rest entirely on her at this age?

    March 25, 2011 at 9:22 am |
  48. devon barron

    If there was only a way we could all go down to where they live and show them our support and compassion for this little girl! Obviously their town is lacking on that! It makes me so upset that parents teach their children how to single out another child for any circumstance. What a perfect oppurtunity to show love, compassion, and lend a helping hand to another child. However, they are showing their children how to dismiss the "different kids". I pray for the strength of this little girl and her family!

    March 25, 2011 at 9:18 am |
  49. Christine L

    In our world the people that are most loved and recognized for their lives are the ones that live a life of service to others. Why else have a CNN heroes segment. Think of your own heroes. Isn't this true! Should we not be teaching this to our children. What is a little sacrifice when saving a life is at stake. Isn't it better to teach our children love and caring instead of selfishness.

    March 25, 2011 at 9:16 am |
  50. Megmancini

    Unbelievable. Wow, there is so much tolerance, understanding, empathy and love in this world. Hey kid, your peanut allergy is teaching my kid cleanliness, and I can't have that! Your child would be welcome in my kids class and our community.

    March 25, 2011 at 9:14 am |
  51. amwick

    How will all the compassionate adults feel if this child dies after another little classmate arrives at school with a slight smear of peanut butter on his(her) shirt? It seems to me that all the well-intended restrictions and extra hygene cannot adequately protect this unfortunate girl. Every person associated in some way with that school would have to eliminate peanut products from their homes as well. The foremost question in this controversy should be whether the school can guarentee her safety, 100% The school is obviously trying. Compassion, education, the Americans with Disabilities Act, picketing parents, these are all secondary issues; the sad truth is that such a guarentee impossible.

    March 25, 2011 at 8:50 am |
  52. Jane

    I am an educator and have had a peanut free classrom. It is my job to teach as well as keep children safe, and I support any accommodations to do so. However, I am puzzled when some children with peanut allergies are seen at a movie theatre, as well as the local grocery store, and then go on an airplane on a family vacation. These are non- peanut free environments. It seems to me that some parents live by different rules when protecting their child.

    March 25, 2011 at 8:47 am |
  53. Kimberly

    The reporting of this story was designed to be sensational and divisive and you have missed the opportunity to start an intelligent, deliberative discussion on a disturbing US trend. Of course schools must make accomodations for children with allergies. But why are Americans increasing going to the extremes instead of finding reasonable solutions?

    The parents' request to have students repeatedly wash hands and rinse their mouths throughout the day is excessive even by your expert's standards. Banning peanuts, and washing hands upon arrival is sufficient accomodation for all the other children in the country with severe peanut allergy. These parents should be teaching their child to protect herself with reasonable outside accomodation. She must live in the world and their job is to help her learn to do so. This is one extreme – parents who are hysterical, unreasonable and self-centered.

    The other extreme is the over-the-top response of the parents who are picketing. There are so many ways to address this bad policy with the school system that don't include a vitreolic public circus. They have a valid objection but it's lost in the noise created by their choice of remedy. If students don't bring peanut products into the school and wash their hands when they arrive, how on earth could they subsequently get peanut residue on them!? Perhaps students in the child's class need to rinse their mouths upon arrival. But most ot the students in this school will never come in contact with this child and pose no threat to her. The parents objecting to the school's policy should have done so in a mature, informed, respectful way. Yes, the policy, as described, will be disruptive. Any time instruction is interupted for something like this, it takes time to get kids back on track. But students take bathroom breaks at least three times a day and handwashing is part of that routine already. Why add more requirements? They could have made a reasonable arguement.

    So the story you missed is the increasing self-centeredness and anger of both sides of any disagreement in this country. Here is was the unreasonable, selfish, my-child-is-the-center-of-the-universe parents who demand unnecessary accomodations vs loud, resentful, we've-had-enough families. Bad behavior all around. You shouldn't have take sides and vilified one party in this arguement. You should have tried to get to the bottom of the excessive actions of both sides.

    March 25, 2011 at 8:45 am |
  54. Ann

    LEARNING to wash your hands, brush your teeth and figure out how to eat lunch without peanuts? Excellent EDUCATIONAL opportunity for any student. Seems like a great way for kids to learn real-life skills and to think like a scientist. Having the allergic child in the class actually HELPS the rest of the children learn. And to learn about things that really matter.

    March 25, 2011 at 8:36 am |
  55. K Gamman

    I cannot believe there are adults in this world who think this is acceptable behavior . . . In my child's school there are kids with severe peanut allergies and yes, they are restricted from bringing nutty buddies and nutty bars and PB&J and that sort of **JUNK** food if they're sharing the same classroom, but the kids don't seem to think that's all that weird–in fact, I think they treat it like it's something kind of cool neat game they have to play to keep their friends safe. I know it's not likely that these parents are ever going to read these comments, but I hope once this is all over you feel every bit as ASHAMED and HUMILIATED as you're making this child feel now.

    March 25, 2011 at 8:27 am |
  56. ash

    There is no way Angie Welch is a teacher... if she is, she has illiterate students.... wow, the typos and misspellings....

    makes it difficult to read it is so bad

    March 25, 2011 at 8:26 am |
  57. tom reissig

    These parents are setting a very bad example for their kids. Instead of picketing, they should be using this situation to teach their kids about diversity, tolerance and compassion for those who are less fortunate than themselves. It's a lesson that can be taught in theory by educators, but what a great opportunity they are missing. Not only are these parents showing ignorance and intolerance, but by behaving this way they are damaging their children and, in turn the future of this country.

    March 25, 2011 at 8:24 am |
  58. Just me

    to the person who blamed peanut allergies on moms feeding their children formula, I fed my children breast milk, avoided alcohol, caffeine, everything I was told, but when I was breastfeeding, ate peanut butter sandwiches every day with a big glass of milk. I thought I was being healthy. My son has a peanut allergy and I read an article about a study stating that women with allergies that ate peanut butter while breastfeeding had children with higher rates of peanut allergies. So, doing everything I was told, including breastfeeding, seems to have caused my son to have a life long allergy to peanuts. I have never seen any warnings on this, so I tell all pregnant moms my story because peanut butter is something we can avoid to prevent this.

    March 25, 2011 at 8:16 am |
  59. timmsa

    March 25th, 2011 1:21 am ET

    SERIOUSLY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Are you kidding me.?
    This is a life THREATENING allergy! Could you imagine your child dying because someone had a peanut butter sandwich??!! What is wrong with this world! Get a grip.. do whatever you have to do to ensure HER safety!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It is NOT a disability. It is CALLED AN ANAPHYLACTIC SHOCK that can KILL IN MINUTES! So wake up people..If that was your child.....wouldn't you do everything possible to KEEP THEM ALIVE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Yes I would do everything in my power to keep my child alive if they had this type of allergy, but if it were that serious, then I would not even chance them being in a public school. I would be home schooling my child. If i were to send my child to school, I would not expect the school to accommodate my child to the extent that this school has done.
    I can see both sides of this, I really can

    March 25, 2011 at 8:15 am |
  60. Jeff

    In places that have gone peanut free, it has been a lot easier than many of you would think. To quote Sarah... " to expect an entire school to not have or use any peanut products is insane and almost impossible " You could not be more wrong. It is a collective choice and although some people resist change, it eventually becomes part of the routine. Companies make peanut free snacks and that's what parents buy to send to school. Parents who say their kids will only eat PBJ or I can't afford anything but peanut butter sandwiches need to take a step back and think before they speak. To believe this, you need to be willing to look this girl in the face and be able to say your life is not important. If you die because my child should be able to eat nuts, that is okay with me. Think about it.

    March 25, 2011 at 8:09 am |
  61. timmsa

    I am a parent of 3 boys, and none of them have any allergies, but I can see both sides of this. These parents who are picketing are saying that the school is giving special treatment to this child. And it is not fair.

    I mean washing out the kids mouths twice a day, and making the kids leave their lunches outside? All because of 1 child. I have a friend who son is allergic to many things, including dairy. If dairy is spilled on his skin it blisters. She never asked for special treatment at school. She taught her child to stay away from thing he is allergic to.

    If my child was at this school, and I was told that I could not sent things in his lunch like peanuts or peanut butter and that was he favorite items to eat, I would be mad to.
    Because that means I am being told what I can feed my child and not feed my child.
    These parents need to be teaching this child how to stay away from the peanut products, and not teaching her that the whole will accommodate her.

    They are claiming that this falls under the freedoms disability act, well in a sense it does. But then again it does not.
    Wonder what happens if this child goes to a store and other people are there, and they have peanut products in their system, does she instantly have a reaction?

    What is going to happen when this child grows up and lives in a place like an apartment? will she expect the whole complex change the way they eat because of her? What will happen when she gets a job, will she expect her whole office to change the way they eat and bring food in?

    If this were my child, I would expect some accommodations but not tot his extent. Is this a disability? Yes to an extent, but should every parent be told what they can and can not send with their child to school each day? no, that is the parents choice.
    The parents of this child, should be teaching her what kinds of foods to stay away from, not teaching her that the world will just bow down to her and accommodate her.

    Oh yeah and before anyone slams me with the fact that I don't know what it is like to have a child with some sort of disability and what it is like to deal with disabilities, well I have 19 years dealing with a child with disabilities. I have 2 children with disabilities. and I fight every day to keep the programs that they have.
    So trust me I know very well what it is like to deal with a school system.
    And for the record, even though my children have disabilities, not one school has ever made special accommodations to this extent for my children. They have special classes and that is about it.

    Nor has the school system made any special accommodations for my friends son. Like this school has for this child.
    Trust me my friend's son is allergic to all dairy products, chocolate, certain fruits, and soy products and several other foods. But she has never expected the school system to make special accommodations for him.
    Trust me she could if she really wanted to. But she chose to educate her son instead.

    March 25, 2011 at 8:00 am |
  62. Kara Keller

    These parents picketing are the very reason that entire generations of young adults are considered to be "highly entitled". The parents who raised them behaved much like these parents teaching their children that they are entitled to the expectations that have come to enjoy.
    What parents fail to remember is that they are not raising children, they are raising future adults. This means that parents should be preparing children for real life scenarios, not a for the perfect world with ideal accommodations suitable for them. This is unrealistic!
    In real life, accommodating others due to circumstances beyond their control is commonplace. We should be teaching our children this... And where better than in schools!

    March 25, 2011 at 7:56 am |
  63. Renee From Peru, IN

    The REAL issue needs to be addressed in this matter and that is the food that is marketed & sold to us. Most food now sold to us are Genetically Modified, full of chemicals, antibiotics, hormones and who knows what else. Studies have shown that these food items that have been altered cause damaging health risks, yet it still allowed to be sold.

    Children might not have all these allergies & problems if the food we feed them was of better quality and families could afford to buy quality, all natural food products.

    By the way, I think it is rather selfish of the parents of the child with the food allergy to have an ENTIRE school system dance around their child. If the problem she has is that severe, THEY are putting their child in danger everyday as kids that age cannot be policed like that. If my child had that severe an allergy, I wouldn't put then in that kind of danger everyday of depending on others to protect them, it's NOT possible.

    March 25, 2011 at 7:43 am |
  64. Helena

    My best friend has a child with a food allergy. She's cried on my shoulder before after RUSHING their child to the ER because her air way was so swollen and her breathing was so shallow that they lost precious time on the drive there to just pull off to make sure she was still breathing!!!! This is a LIFE and serious complications are eminent! Doctors tell everyone to wash their hands several times a day to keep germs at bay, so why not enforce the required hand washing that way... it may reduce student absences for the flu, stomach bug viruses, etc.... and in addition to protecting their OWN health while helping SAVE A LIFE of their friend. Children with these allergies already miss out on so much, so why rob them of the special bond of making friends and having that fellowship on a daily basis... all of this could be lost if she's forced to be home-schooled. Come on Americans! You wouldn't protest this if it were a member of YOUR OWN family!

    March 25, 2011 at 7:43 am |
  65. Emilia

    I was wondering what these parents are teaching their kids at home ? To not wash their hands?!!! I hope somebody will help these parents giving them hygiene lessons. I truly feel sorry for them and the kids they are raising.

    March 25, 2011 at 7:41 am |
  66. Susan

    This is a horrifying story of selfish, self centered parents teaching their children to HATE anyone who is different. My 3rd son is allergic to milk, eggs and peanuts, is in 3rd grade at a public school in Texas. His classmates willingly wash their hands after lunch everyday and are all educated about my son and his LIFE THREATENING allergies. The principal at his school makes certain that the lunchroom tables are cleaned in a sanitary way to protect him better and all of the teachers in his school have been educated as well. I am horrified for this poor family, they should NOT have children!!

    March 25, 2011 at 7:29 am |
  67. Nancie

    I almost cannot believe this is actually happening – then I remind myself of the world we live in today. It is absolutely ridiculous that these parents have taken this on as their "cause" for the year. A child who has no control over what type of allergies she has is being "picketed" – do they not see the craziness in that?? I have four children who range in ages from 9 to 15 and they have all been in classrooms that had children with peanut allergies. My children have actually been very aware of what type of food items I send in for any of their celebrations – THEY do not want their classmates to become ill. The parents in this story are teaching their children intolerance at a whole new level. I shake my head in disappointment at the decision they have made.

    March 25, 2011 at 6:57 am |
  68. Mitchell C.

    I am appalled at the behavior of these Parents. Perhaps they should be more concerned about what their kids are learning about the tolerance of others. The slight inconvenience that the children have in accommodating this child's peanut allergy is nothing compared to the issues that this allergic child has to deal with as he and his family live in fear of a fatal reaction to a common food product.

    March 25, 2011 at 6:19 am |
  69. Charlotte

    So horrible!! Discriminating. Where shall this kid go then – to some other school where she is not wanted?

    Only excuse these parents might have, is that they are afraid that their kid get to kill a classmate by accident. And in that case, we can all be very confident that none of those kids will ever smoke cigarettes, because of the second hand smoke that endangers others. And they will definitively never get to have a driver license.

    March 25, 2011 at 5:57 am |
  70. D Dunn

    My daughter has gone to school (Corpus Christi ISD in Texas) with children in this same situation through out elementary and continues (currently in 7th) grade. Our children have not been allowed to take peanut products to school (or possibly we were simply asked, I'm not sure and it does not matter) - I do not know of a single child that appears to have suffered PHYSICAL or EMOTIONAL DISTRESS throughout the 8 years of dealing with this situation. Parents need to stop and think about the impact of their actions on the the individual child - this is not as if the family chooses to be vegetarians or consume organic products only, and is imposing their "desires" on the rest of the community. This is a LIFE OR DEATH situation for this child! If your child requires the consumption (or simply loves peanuts) on a day to day basis – is there not time after school hours for this enjoyment? Do you really want to banish this child to a life of segregation just so your child can "enjoy" their peanuts in the academic environment provided by everyone's tax dollars? Where is your Humanity and Compassion!!! Shame on all of you! If the family is willing to move to Corpus Christi, our public school community (including children and parents) would welcome you with open arms.

    March 25, 2011 at 5:00 am |
  71. Jim

    A peanut allergy is not a disability, ignoramuses.

    My daughter is allergic to all nuts, but no one would know it. We keep her Epi-pen and Benadryl with us at all times, and ask friends ahead to remember her allergy; don't give her any candy or nuts. We have none in the house, so much the better for our health. She's three now, so not in school yet, but she will go to a regular school with regular kids. We will teach her to be careful, and ask that others do the same. It sounds like everyone at this Florida school is going completely overboard.

    March 25, 2011 at 4:09 am |
  72. Sarah

    I agree with a previous comment about reasonable accommodation for this girl. Yes, in my school we had peanut free tables, but to expect an entire school to not have or use any peanut products is insane and almost impossible. Yes, this girl is entitled to an education but if her allergy really is that serious, it would seem prudent to not have her in public school setting. Everyday for 12 years of school I had a PBnJ sandwich. If I had known someone with an allergy I wouldn't have sat next to them and would have washed my hands and such, but I still would have wanted my PBnJ! If your child is really THAT allergic, until they are old enough to be responsible for their own health and use an EPI-Pen, don't put them in an environment that is sure to be full of that allergen! To compare an allergy to accommodating Autism or a physical handicap is insane. One doesn't take out all the stair cases in a school because one child is in a wheel chair.
    Maybe I'm biased as I sit here eatin a spoon full of Peter Pan Creamy but while I would never intentionality be the cause of someone's allergic reaction nor would I picket a little girl who does have a serious health issue ( not disability) there has got to be a line and this seems to be across it.

    March 25, 2011 at 1:44 am |
  73. bv

    SERIOUSLY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Are you kidding me.?
    This is a life THREATENING allergy! Could you imagine your child dying because someone had a peanut butter sandwich??!! What is wrong with this world! Get a grip.. do whatever you have to do to ensure HER safety!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It is NOT a disability. It is CALLED AN ANAPHYLACTIC SHOCK that can KILL IN MINUTES! So wake up people..If that was your child.....wouldn't you do everything possible to KEEP THEM ALIVE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    March 25, 2011 at 1:21 am |
  74. julie

    From what I have read most allergies are because moms fed children too early in life, I learned this from 2 premature babies, and, what doctors told me and from bunches of books.
    Another reason is the" too much sanitary conditions" that kill off the harmless bacteria and antigens in the body defends itself over, and becomes suseptable and allergic to others, where the body cannot ward off allergies. They break down the system.
    .
    To protect their child home schooling is more appropriate.
    A suggestion that kids wash their hands with sanitizer and mouth wash used is another open door of severe allergies.
    I had a bout with fungus last June. Why? Because of sanitizers, bleach, alcohol, and over use of this stuff. Skin on my hands, feet and elbows blistered and actually peeled off to the flesh underneath. My immune system went dormant. I went to many doctors, pills and creams made it worse. Finally, doctor from another country, told me I was too clean. I had destroyed my own bacteria that protects skin. 5 months of no washing my hands, or taking hot baths and eating yogurt finally I had success. I have to read labels on soaps that no anti bacterial products are in them. I cannot tell you how much pain i was in. Beware of these products. If i get near these soaps, or touch anyone using sanitizers, I have to run for the benedryl. There us also and ingrediant that thinsol (sp ) that is shwing up in dolphins.

    March 25, 2011 at 12:56 am |
  75. Rachel

    I wish, really wish, that people would stop and take stock sometimes. If all I had to do to potentially prevent a death/save a child's life was to NOT eat nuts, then why wouldn't I? I can't say that I could ever forgive myself, as a parent, if something I sent to school caused another child to get extremely ill or to die. We accommodate kids who have asthma, diabetes, and a whole other host of illnesses/disabilities in school today, why not look out for these children, too? While some of the parent's practices/requests may be extreme, they are only looking out for the welfare of their child. Yes, the child could be homeschooled, of course, but if reasonable accommodations can be made, why shouldn't she go to school with her peers? We have all been taught "not to discriminate" against people, for any reason. What are we teaching our own children we don't "practice what we preach?" I know my views are just that, my views, but I would like to think that I'm caring enough, as a person AND a parent, to look out for someone else's child in this way. This child is someone's baby, maybe their only baby, and they can never get them back, should they die. Why wouldn't I do what I could to protect them...what if it was my child instead of their's? I believe that child's LIFE is worth more than me or my kids' "rights" to eat peanuts.

    March 25, 2011 at 12:43 am |
  76. Diana

    My son has Autism and Epilepsy and he needed a special tutor in class for one-on-one teaching. The school (Lindbergh Elementary) principal (Marilyn Nance) told me they couldn't do that cuz they'd be discriminating against the other kids to show mine special treatment.
    This is along the same guidelines.
    This girl is going to be going to a lot of places and do things through out her life. If it's life threatening, she shouldn't be out of the house. God forbid a Planters peanut truck drive by, what then? She needs to learn to protect herself, the boy in the plastic bubble comes to mind. Yes, hygiene is no big deal, but what's next? Either way your taking these kids liberties because of one.
    If she was here and she walked into school with THIS big a deal, she wouldn't of been allowed in.

    March 25, 2011 at 12:41 am |
  77. Marianne Thomas

    With regard to the child in Florida with peanut allergy – the answer is quite simple – Americans with Disabilities Act! For those who are unaware that Americans with food allergies, especially peanut allergies, are considered DISABLED under the guidelines of the ADA, then please read and respect those guidelines. I am the mother of an 18-year old son, born with not only fatal peanut allergy, but also several others. The child in Florida has the SAME rights as ALL Americans – including those with other disabilities. When will we STOP discriminating against those who are considered 'different?' That is why the ADA was implemented!

    March 24, 2011 at 11:35 pm |
  78. Shmallergy.wordpress.com

    This has gotten completely out of hand. Have the other parents considered that hand washing is probably keeping their own kids healthier and IN school more days per year. Have they considered the idea that this girl's family may not be able to afford to send their child elsewhere? What kind of message are they sending to families who may ask for other small accommodations (physically handicapped, other debilitating diseases)? Not to mention the reputation they are branding on their entire community...

    It's too bad these parents hadn't considered the intangibles that the school was teaching their children. Safety, compassion, inclusiveness, understanding....

    March 24, 2011 at 11:31 pm |
  79. Joanna

    The protesters should be ASHAMED of themselves. This is a clear-cut case of disability discrimination. Disgusting.

    March 24, 2011 at 11:24 pm |
  80. disgusted

    Did you see photos of some of these parents? They are disgusting low lives. This is what Florida is now filled with - mean, ignorant people. This is why we elect corrupt, ignorant politicians, and are in such a mess. The poor little girl. These people care about no one but themselves and have few brains between them.

    March 24, 2011 at 11:06 pm |
  81. mike

    Hmmmmmmm, Lets keep all the autistic kids out of school, the extra attention they require cuts into the learning of the other kids, or, lets keep all the kids who can't play sports out of school as it slows down the physical education of the more skilled kids, and god forbid we let a kid in wheelchair come to school. Are you kidding me parents! way to teach tolerance.

    March 24, 2011 at 10:43 pm |
  82. Darla M

    I find it ironic that these parents are so worried about the time spent washing hands taking away from their child's education, but on the other hand are not sending their children to school for the past four days to show their disapproval with the school administration for standing behind their peanut policy. I mean really. Not going to school for four days is not taking away from your child's education??
    I would be so terribly ashamed if I was one of these protesting parents. They are sticking a sign in their child's hands and the kids probably don't even know what they are protesting about. Teach your child compassion and understanding and being a true friend instead of teaching them to be so selfish that they can't give up having peanuts during school hours to help save a life. You are teaching your child to be selfish, uncaring, and incompassionate! And really...washing hands a couple of times a day isn't such a bad thing. It's probably keeping YOUR child from getting the flu as well! My goodness...grow up!

    March 24, 2011 at 10:39 pm |
  83. Sarah

    I saw this story this morning on the news and I was absolutely heartbroken! This poor child one has to go through everyday life watching what she does then she has to be made an outcast because of it. Then to make matters worse she finds out that the parents of her class, through her eyes, HATE her. Being a teenager in high school you tend to hear you guys need to grow up because life is not fair. I believe these parents never grasped the message! Big deal if your little johnny has to wash his hands and rinse his mouth out. he probably needed it! If the parents had a concern about it why not take it to the school board? What is the need of dragging her through a mess and having her emotionally scarred for the rest of her life? Stop being mean stuck up asses about this and stop thinking your child is so much better than this child. News flash to these parents, if you keep this up, their going to grow up to be like you! YIKES!!!!!!!!!

    March 24, 2011 at 10:26 pm |
  84. Colleen

    T. paustian – you are almost as bad as them – you have NO IDEA the breastfeeding journey some of us take for YEARS when it may not even be what we want to do – it is completely out of sacrifice and love. i still have a negative reaction when i hear the word "elimination diet".

    B.S. – we also deal with "contact sensitivity" in our situation – I think this is such a crucial part of the story but it is being left out!

    Jeff – well said about the weapons. it is like living in a land mine. I wish I had the guts to post what you did. they just don't get it.

    i feel so bad for the family. also for the miserable picketers – how sad their lives must be – filled with selfishness and self-righteousness. but after reading all of these posts again, i think i feel most sad for the child picketers. they have NO IDEA what they are doing. if i was involved in this as a child and then looked back someday at the pictures of myself holding these signs, i would have such shame for the rest of my life.

    yes – let's all go "nut-free" and get rid of these obviously insane picketers!

    March 24, 2011 at 9:57 pm |
  85. J

    This is funny to hear people on these boards and go back and forth. I have 2 kids. Let them play in the mud, fed them healthy to include peanut butter, actually very healthy because it is protien which we all need. My oldest had allergy to strawberries for awhile. This is what we did, gave her small doses until she either grew out or became immuned. Same as letting your kids get dirty, definately make sure they wash there hands before dinner. The whole H1N1 was no diffrent then any other flu, new flu every year new vaccine every year. Do ew even here about it anymore! Fact of the matter is Make it peanut butter free who gives a crap! Hell make it fruit free some kids may be allergic to that, make it animal fur free kids may be allergic to that, make it yeast free kids may be allergic to that, make it free of everything so that no one can complain. We will then wrap it up in sterile bubble. This is the way we are going in America, so scared of everything. Won't be long and will be eating food so bland that were all going to wither into nothing. Bring back Ronald McDonald and his friends too!

    March 24, 2011 at 9:56 pm |
  86. Larry

    Years ago, in less enlightened times, people that were "different" were locked away out of sight so as not to "offend the sensibilities of the general population". Apparently there are some people living in darkness and ignorance.

    March 24, 2011 at 9:27 pm |
  87. Daytonian

    My son has peanut allergies and his school, daycare and his sports teams he has been on have always been very accomodating about it, I have never had a child or parent ever express any negativity when asked to please refrain from bringing peanuts to school or snack. I think thats just evil of these parents, and I can guarantee if it were thier kid who stopped breathing due to my kid bringing peanut butter into the classroom they would see things differently. I think the school need to tell those parents to homeschool thier kids if they cant accomodate becaus obviously they need lessons on how to behave in polite society.

    March 24, 2011 at 9:10 pm |
  88. MAD MOM

    I am a mom of a child with a life threating peanut allergie. I am so glad that in NY at our school teachers , students, and parents work together to make my sons school safe for all. When most people send there kids to school they hope and prayer there kids have a fun safe day. I pray my son will just come home, until you live in my shoes you have no clue how awful it is to live with a bad peanut allergie. parents in this school need to grow up and get a realy problem,what ever happen to looking out for each other what are they teaching thier own children.....

    March 24, 2011 at 8:58 pm |
  89. Jeff

    The level of ignorance in some of the posts is evident. Maybe the problem is that when people think of allergy, itchy eyes and sneezing come to mind. We should say death and the child could die and that may help people to understand it is not too much to ask that the school be nut free and kids wash their hands. And she is not so fragile she should live in her bedroom the rest of her life (that is what used to happen to physically handicapped people years ago by the way). And yes she is going to have to learn how to deal with it and not everyone in public cleans themselves, but she is 6 so some compassion would be appropriate. These parents need to also remember, their kids may be allergic to things they don't even know about simply because they have not yet had a reaction – I hope Karma is not cruel to them in that way for their children's sake. I love the United States and I used to live there, but in Canada, we are much more aware and supportive of people (especially kids) with food allergies. Schools are pretty much all nut free where I live and it is not a big deal. Children are particularily supportive and want to see their classmates safe. It is ignorant parents who sometimes don't get it but that is much less prevalent than it used to be. Any parent who says my kid's ability to eat peanuts or not wash his hands is more important than your child's right to exist ... that says more about them than the innocent child who lives with it.

    March 24, 2011 at 8:56 pm |
  90. wendy

    Picketing against a child who has serious health issues is astonishing to say the least. If this child were being bullied mercilessly at school with no school officials intervening I could see parents picketing but this sweet little girl has a peanut allergy that could kill her. What message are these parents sending to their children. Certainly not how to be compassionate of others. These parents that are picketing will most likely raise criminals as they have not taught them how to be kind.caring and respectful to others. Shame on you parents.

    March 24, 2011 at 8:41 pm |
  91. Concerned Parent

    @T.Paustian...Your statement is an ignorant expression of studipidity...please work on thinking before you write.

    March 24, 2011 at 8:19 pm |
  92. Deb

    15 years ago, we had similar accommodations, wipes for wiping not only hands, but also desks. No sloppy milk substances in the classroom. Eating snacks at the desk only, etc. This was because, for young children, food can get everywhere. Our experience was that the burden on others was very minimal – the classroom learned as much as other classrooms.

    When the "rules" were bent, there were numerous trips to the nurses office on subsequent days – many hours of lost instruction. When the rules were adhered to, all children remained in class and learned. One side effect of the rules was that the classroom had one of the best health records in the school – very few colds, relatively speaking.

    Learning to socialize with other children is (IMHO) a core part of early education – even more so for those with disabilities. It appears that the picketing parents think otherwise. The question for them is, if the school supported such a program for their children instead, would they put their children into the solitary, home-school situation? If not, then they should not be recommending the solution for another.

    March 24, 2011 at 8:17 pm |
  93. Jen

    I have a young child with a peanut allergy about as severe as it comes. He does become sick if he touches a peanut contaminated surface. In fact, all he has to do is enter a room where someone has been eating a peanut product, and he'll begin itch, turn lobster red, and get wheezy: he doesn't even have to touch anything!
    When we go to a high-risk place, like the library, I cover his chair with disposable garbage bags, and I bring liquid soap and paper towels to clean surfaces with which he'll come into contact. I constantly instruct him on how things become cross-contaminated and how to avoid or protect himself from such. I make a monumental effort to prepare him for the "real world."
    As I see it, my son has a substantial disability - one mess-up and his life could be over in a flash. I do not think it logical for me to expect a sizable public school, with all of its students and faculty to attempt to make every surface my son might touch and every room my son might enter to be 100% guaranteed safe. Even with (informed) friends coming over, it's hard enough for me to keep our own home safe, so I can't imagine that every single student and every single faculty member will be on top of things 100% of the time in a public school type setting.
    Some of you have mentioned homeschooling for children with severe food allergies. With the support and encouragement of my son's pediatrician, I made the decision to do just that. Let me tell you, home schooling may be a convenient answer, but it certainly isn't the solution for every family in our situation. You see, not everyone can afford it, and not everyone has the patience or skills. In my case, I've been fortunate enough to have the skills and patience. Sadly though, my family has been forced to live at almost poverty level in order to home school our son. We don't get vouchers like those who choose to send their kids to private, charter, or other non-public schools. We don't get any form of reimbursement or financial support even though we pay as much school tax as everyone else. So, telling parents to home school their children-with-special-needs is easier said than done.
    Someday, it will come to pass that peanut allergy will be no more: a cure will be found. It's a long and hard road for those of us waiting. For now, our severely allergic children and even their parents need compassion, patience, understanding, and support, no matter how we choose to educate our children. We really do need that!

    March 24, 2011 at 8:10 pm |
  94. Disappointed

    How far away from the class is the room with the sink? How long can it possibly take? Wow! This is just plain sad. Hope that little girl gets the word that the overwelming majority of us don't share the tiny-minded attitude of those with the picket signs.

    March 24, 2011 at 8:05 pm |
  95. Alice

    So, the parents of the girl with the allergy complain that their daughter "just wants to live a normal childhood". So, let's see how we can accomplish that – oh I know, lets put the burden on EVERYONE else at the school, yeah, bring them down to her level. That will make it all good.

    March 24, 2011 at 7:47 pm |
  96. Shannon

    I completely understand these precautions. I've taken care of 30+ kindergarteners and first graders and one was allergic. When they eat lunch, they smear it all over their hands and face. So yes, the washing of hands should be appropriate. Just because this child knows not to eat peanut, she doesn't know if Jimmy beside her still has peanut butter residue on his fingers.

    March 24, 2011 at 7:41 pm |
  97. Jeff

    Hopefully something good can come of this display of the worst parts of humanity. Educating everyone on the increased number of kids with severe allergies maybe. It would be easy to dismiss these individuals as being the lower end of the gene pool - not that I wish to judge others but I look for some piece of mind and hope that most people are not like this. Educate everyone and we all can hope children will be safer for it.

    March 24, 2011 at 7:12 pm |
  98. Me Gusta

    If the kid has an allergy that can threaten their life by having someone simply sneeze, SNEEZE, on them, they shouldn't be in a public school.

    March 24, 2011 at 6:56 pm |
  99. MARIA

    TO ALL THE PARENTS THAT ARE PROTESTING....GET A LIFE!! SERIOUSLY!! LEAVE THIS LITTLE GIRL ALONE!!!
    ANNNNNDDDDD.... DO THOSE KIDS REALLY KNOW WHAT THEY ARE PROTESTING ABOUT??!!!
    YOUR KIDS SHOULD BE WASHING THEIR HANDS PERIODICALLY ANYWAYS!! WHAT'S THE BIG DEAL?! WHAT IF YOU CHILD HAD A DISABILITY?! HOW WOULD YOU FEEL IF THIS WAS DONE TO YOUR OWN CHILD?!
    DO YOU GUYS NOT UNDERSTAND THE EMOTIONAL/MENTAL HARM THAT YOU GUYS MAY BE DOING TO THIS LITTLE GIRL?!
    COME ON NOW!!! THINK ABOUT IT. DIDN'T YOUR PARENTS TEACH YOU ANY BETTER!!!
    YOU ALL SHOULD BE ASHAMED OF YOURSELVES!! SHAME ON YOU!! SHAME ON YOU!!!

    March 24, 2011 at 6:42 pm |
  100. MARIA

    TO ALL THE PARENTS THAT ARE PROTESTING....GET A LIFE!! SERIOUSLY!! LEAVE THIS LITTLE GIRL ALONE!!!
    ANNNNNDDDDD.... DO THOSE KIDS REALLY KNOW WHAT THEY ARE PROTESTING ABOUT??!!!
    YOUR KIDS SHOULD BE WASHING THEIR HANDS PERIODICALLY ANYWAYS!! WHAT'S THE BIG DEAL?! WHAT IF YOU CHILD HAD A DISABILITY?! HOW WOULD YOU FEEL IF THIS WAS DONE TO YOUR OWN CHILD?!
    DO YOU GUYS NOT UNDERSTAND THE EMOTIONAL/MENTAL HARM YOU GUYS MAY BE DOING TO THIS LITTLE GIRL?!
    COME ON NOW!!! THINK ABOUT IT. DIDN'T YOUR PARENTS TEACH YOU ANY BETTER!!!
    YOU ALL SHOULD BE ASHAMED OF YOURSELVES!! SHAME ON YOU!! SHAME ON YOU!!!

    March 24, 2011 at 6:40 pm |
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