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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. Barry

    Clearly the picketing parents are the children here, nothing like blatant discrimination being taught at home. I suspect they aren't used to not getting their way on the playground much...

    And it is fun to watch people out themselves as idiots on national news, plus the fact all those picketing kids are FOREVER marked as anti-disability rights kids (there is no delete button for the internet)... Good luck on finding a job when you graduate kiddo's!

    March 27, 2011 at 10:23 pm |
  2. T

    The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one. In this case the lifestyle of the many is the danger to the one. Therefore who should go? Who should have to take precautions? The responsibility lies with the child with the allergy and her parents. The rest of society should not have to bend over backwards for them.

    Compassion you say? The problem is there IS too much compassion. We in America used to be able to get things done but we can't because all it takes to stop a river is the single reed standing in the middle of it. Make sure this little girl has the resources to learn at home but don't make the rest of society live in the test tube that she does.

    March 27, 2011 at 10:23 pm |
  3. SingleStepper

    Quote from Star Trek: "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the one."
    What complicates the issue is that the many need only to cleanse themselves of peanut matter to preserve the one.
    So now the formula becomes, the number of the many multiplied by each of theor worth's multiplied by the inconvenience of cleansing themselves - versus - the one.

    If you or I were 'the one', should 10 other people perform rituals so we could live among them? Should 100? Should 1000? Should all 6 billion?
    Should peanut butter be made illegal due to one person's allergies?
    Should cocaine be made illegal due to 90% of the populations additcion percentage?

    There is no perfectly 'right' answer. But if I were forced to choose, I would say the one with weakness must bear the weight, not the rest.

    March 27, 2011 at 10:23 pm |
  4. johnny

    The child is entitled to a public education. If the school does not want to educate her, the school district must pay for an appropriate private school.

    March 27, 2011 at 10:22 pm |
  5. Ronald

    The truth of the matter is that- ALLERGIES are NOT DISABILITIES! The girl is totally normal up till ORAL contact with the allergen.

    Now currently the parents of the other children see the disruption taken as being overboard, as I agree. Schools are not plastic bubbles so reasonably other children should not do without because of one student. (Or a few for the matter)

    If the girl's parents are on the level she needs to be home, period. I further see the school being totally out of line (irrational) with the hand washing and mouth rinsing. I mean if such a peanut butter contamination becomes evident what good would be of that? Hazmat Suits should be on order at this rate.

    March 27, 2011 at 10:18 pm |
  6. kubajean

    What does the child do when out in the "real world" (unprotected)? Peanut butter is a high protein, low cost food (and as vegetarians, although I didn't force my kids to be vegetarian, I did like to be able to offer them pbj's occasionally at lunch, let alone the fact you don't have to worry about it "going bad" unlike a meat sandwich). I would have been thrilled if my school allowed time for hand-washing for hygenic reasons...that didn't happen unfortunately. I just don't understand how the child survives outside of school so why so much accomodation?

    March 27, 2011 at 10:13 pm |
  7. Lee Daniels

    In more than half a century, this is the VERY first time in my life that a group of posters are ONE HUNDRED PERCENT in one direction.

    Let us remember, people, this is Florida you are speaking of. Contrary to the perception of Florida as a cosmopolitan area, we find that, white, black, hispanic, THIS is the state with more morons per square meter than any other in the nation.

    How DARE that school try to teach children good hygiene and compassion? Oh, the nerve!

    Not to worry; at some point in the next few decades most of Florida will be many feet underwater, and we can just repopulate when the waters subside, hey, hey?

    Bless every person who takes the time to (soberly) comment in support of this girl, her family, and the Superintendent with the big pair of you-know-what.

    March 27, 2011 at 10:03 pm |
  8. Lisa

    Lili,
    I'm sorry the children are denied peanut butter just to prevent the illness or death of another child. Where are your values?

    March 27, 2011 at 10:00 pm |
  9. mrdude

    As usual all the Libs that saw this clip from "honest and moderate reporting" CNN were led astray.

    These students have to line up every morning and after lunch to wash, rinse, gargle and be inspected. They even have a peanut sniffing dog!!!!!

    Every student is missing 30 minutes a day in education!!!!

    Hundreds of students times 30 minutes a day adds up!!!!

    If you "outraged" Liberals cared about the kids you would see how much educational time the other kids are missing!!!!

    March 27, 2011 at 10:00 pm |
  10. Stephen Oliver

    I am not weighing in on either side of the issue – personally, if peanuts can kill more and more people, they should be banned from all schools and eventually from the neighborhood grocery store. But what I find amusing is number of people commenting about how schools have accomodations for students with disabilities (for example, someone in a wheelchair). What a joke!! I live in the city of Richmond Virginia and Richmond has an entire school devoted exclusively to kids in wheelchairs – there is no wheelchair accessibility in "regular" schools for grades 1 to 8 (Not sure about grades 9 to 12). No Richmond has no accomodations – God forbid if you are a parent in a wheelchair! I know if the situation got bad enough concerning food allergies, Richmond would open up an entire school devoted to kids with food allergies ie remove any kid with a known allergy from the regular school and put them in the "special" school.

    March 27, 2011 at 9:58 pm |
  11. William Edelstein

    The fundamental problem here is that the remedy–hand washing, mouth washing–is way over the top and unnecessary.

    Look at the video of the allergy expert. He says that mouth washing is going too far. I very much doubt that hand washing is needed, either. My experience (with a severely peanut allergic child) is that skin contact would cause skin irritation, but nothing life threatening.

    Maybe peanut butter sandwiches could be banned, but otherwise, all the children should be able to eat together. Maybe that isn't necessary either, as long as the allergic child stays away from eating peanuts.

    My son also has a severe peanut allergy (he is now 32) but never had a serious reaction in schools, even though other children had peanut butter sandwiches.

    Unfortunately we sometimes go too far in the name of safety, and this kind of excess has its costs. I feel sympathetic to the families of both the allergic child and the other families.

    The answer is to get to some compromise instead of taking an extreme cover your a** stance.

    March 27, 2011 at 9:56 pm |
  12. Tom

    I am 100 % for the school. Kids should learn compassion, respect and good hygene. Maybe some of these parents should learn to do the same

    March 27, 2011 at 9:53 pm |
  13. Brian

    Have any of you people ever heard of Darwinism? This is a classic case of it.

    March 27, 2011 at 9:51 pm |
  14. frank

    I am fortunate that my kids do not have any allergies like this kid. I went to elementary school in the early 70's and do not remember this stuff back then

    March 27, 2011 at 9:49 pm |
  15. tammy jackman

    Gee.... wash your hands or a child can die. Seems like a very small consideration to make for a child"s life. They aren't banning peanuts, just asking for safer hygiene. The actions of these parents is going to prompt some missguided child to smear peanut butter on this poor little girl because he thiks he'll be making his mamma proud.

    March 27, 2011 at 9:44 pm |
  16. Abby

    I knew this would be Florida just by reading the headline.

    March 27, 2011 at 9:41 pm |
  17. Shannon

    This is utterly disgusting. Oooh hand washing? Oh GOD THE HUMANITY!!! Just a few particles of peanut dust can send someone into anaphylactic shock and most schools will not allow the student to carry an epipen on their person or in a back pack. It' has to be with the office or nurse... which is extra minutes that could kill. When I was in school, I couldn't even carry my inhaler!!

    March 27, 2011 at 9:41 pm |
  18. SuzD

    I was working as a secretary in a hospital Emergency Room when a little boy was rushed in after accidently ingesting peanuts that he was deathly allergic to. His reaction was so severe that it required IMMEDIATE attention by a Critical Care physician who worked over him for over an hour to stabilize him to where he could be transfered up to Intensive Care. He had to be intubated. I watched the entire disaster.

    Apparently, he was at a birthday party. His mother HAD investigated about the possibility of anything peanut. She was assured there would be no peanuts. Apparently there was something peanut in something, somewhere in the house because the little boy was only there for a few minutes when he had a major reaction that his mother, who was still present instantly recognized as a reaction to peanuts.

    It was horrible.

    It's not the end of the world for a peanut butter eating kid to give it up for a few hours of every school day. It's not too much to expect a school to go entirely peanut free, which includes much more than peanut butter...people with a peanut allergy are allergic to any derivative of peanuts from the dust of a peanut shell to peanut oil and all variations inbetween. The smallest amount can very quickly kill. If that boys mother was not there, with her son when he had the reaction, he would have likely died as the other adults at the party were not only oblivious as to what was happening to him...they kept telling the mother to smack the boy on the back! Ignorance kills too.

    March 27, 2011 at 9:36 pm |
  19. sueharke

    I hope the protesting parents never have a child with special needs and want the support of other students and parents. This appears to me to be a case of reaction, rather than thinking how the next child with a food allergy will be theirs.

    March 27, 2011 at 9:33 pm |
  20. ognywogny

    What idiots are posting here. They are kids and you want them to take on the responsibilities of someone working in a quarantine zone. What if one of them forgets to wash up and the little girl dies. NO fun for her and mummy and daddy. And a life time of guilt for the kid who goofs up and her classmate dies!

    March 27, 2011 at 9:30 pm |
  21. joile

    has anyone ever thought about the children or the child who let's face it at that FORGET to wash their hands and their mouths, and they God forbid are the last one to touch the child with such an extreme allergy and the allergic child DIES because the child was being a normal child and not a PERFECT child? WHo wants that on their kids heart? Talk about screwing up other people's lives. If you child is SO allergic, sorry but start a school for just your type of kids. I mean I am really sorry that any child has such an allergic reaction – VERY SCARY but why put that on every single child in the classroom – that their classmate can DIE any moment if they touch peanut RESIDUE. THis is way too much for any child to have to grow up with and any good shrink will tell you that is so. It's TOO MUCH responsibility for the kids.

    March 27, 2011 at 9:25 pm |
  22. Norm-not that one

    I wonder how many of these insensitive adults are also the biggest loudmouths, whiners and liars when it comes to second hand smoke!?

    March 27, 2011 at 9:18 pm |
  23. Michael F.

    Unbelievable...how these self-proclaimed "caring parents' can even face themselves in the mirror is beyond me. In this world of scarcity and lack, we in the U.S.A. have SO much and yet all these small-minded, selfish "adults" can find the energy for is interfering with a six-year-olds right to safely enjoy the rewards of getting an education.

    These are the kind of individuals who make me want to hang my head in shame that we humans are still so inhumane...

    If I lived closer, I would be out there tomorrow picketing the picketers and making sure that the rights of this child are not trampled or lost in the whine of those who care so little.

    Remember the kid's whose schoolmates had cancer and had to undergo chemotherapy, et al? Instead of ostracizing their friends/classmates, they all shaved their heads to insure that someone less fortunate and ceratinly less lucky knew they had the support of their peers.

    Shame on every single one of you out there making this six-year-old and her family feel anything other than accepted and cared for.

    What was it a great teacher once said? "There but for the Grace of God go I..."

    Wake up..................................

    March 27, 2011 at 9:15 pm |
  24. Anonymouse

    The *school* is required to make _reasonable_ accommodations for handicapped person (and I'm not sure an allergy counts).

    Putting requirements on individual students is going to far.
    Do we ask people who enter a retail store to do these things?
    Does this girl never go anywhere else in public?

    What's she going to do when she gets out of school and has to, you know, get a job.

    March 27, 2011 at 9:15 pm |
  25. cuda

    Really? Do people really have to be told to keep their kid at home, really? Is this what the schools have become. We have got to take the schools back before it's too late. People, wake up, life is hard and unfair, if life hands you lemons, what do you do? Think about it and if you can come up with the right answer we still have a chance as a great nation. If not...well ask an adult.

    March 27, 2011 at 9:11 pm |
  26. TheMan

    Maybe we should just allow the state to feed our kids kibble that has no known allergens in it. Each kid can get a cup of kibble and cup of water. Kids that bring in food in get their parents landed in jail.

    To cover all the allergies, shave the kids heads and hose every kid down and put them in a freshly washed hypoallergenic outfit everyday.

    No more allergy worries. Now all kids can learn in an environment that does not threaten their health.

    March 27, 2011 at 9:06 pm |
  27. Kate

    I suffer from a tree nut allergy and a shellfish allergy. I'm not exactly sure why the children need to rinse their mouths out but these children should learn to wash their hands regularly as is. Rinsing the mouth out isn't a bad idea either. Either way, I do not feel that this is taking out of the learning experience. Hopefully, it is teaching the children something about compassion and understanding how to interact with someone who has special needs.

    March 27, 2011 at 9:05 pm |
  28. Gre

    Do I have a right NOT to wash my hands twice a day? This school is turning into a prison. Many intervening steps could be taken before the mandatory hand wash, mouth wash and who knows what else– like inspections for a peanut M&M in some kid's pocket.

    There's more to the story here than we know. The child needs to learn how to deal with the world as it is and the other kids need to learn not to throw peanuts at this kid, but that's about it.

    March 27, 2011 at 9:05 pm |
  29. Trestle

    Reasonable precautions, apply to elementary school only:
    a) School or classroom and lunchroom policy is peanut free
    b) Handwashing before class
    c) Be careful around the allergic student

    Unreasonable precautions:
    a) Peanut sniffing dog
    b) Mouth washing
    c) Burdening 6 year olds with the potential guilt of killing their classmate due to typical 6 year old carelessness.

    If the allergy is so severe that death can easily result from superficial contact, then the burden of life preserving falls on the allergic student's parents and no one else. It is not practical to gaurantee that every potential contact be eliminated. Either the allergic student's parents accept the risk, or homeschool. If they accept the risk, and they accept the blame should anything go wrong, then the school can take the precautions outlined above.

    March 27, 2011 at 9:04 pm |
  30. Lanny

    The world is not a peanut-free environment. Of course everyone feels sorry for that child, but her parents just need to teach her to do what every person with a life-threatening allergy does in order to get around safely outside the house. By expecting her environment to change to accommodate her, these parents are making her more disabled than she is (though surely they mean well).

    March 27, 2011 at 9:04 pm |
  31. Krys

    I was just reading a few of these comments and started to think. i read one about how kids that are allergic to animals dont have the same treatment that this girl has, i thought that was because there was a big difference between an allergy to animals and peanuts. animals, you can just bring motrin to school and get it over with if you are allergic to the fur. with peanuts you would need a syringe to the leg and a trip to the hospital. not to mention the high hopes that you might live. people should really start to think about the consequences that this little girl has. if she is homeschooled, it would be a lot harder for her to have a life, friends, and don't you need a high school diploma in order to get to college? so big whoop if the students have to wash their hands. they should be doing that anyway. just give her a chance to live a normal life. wouldn't you want the same thing?

    March 27, 2011 at 9:03 pm |
  32. Katy

    I can see two sides to this.

    First, kids should be washing their hands and things like that, and to get mad about that is silly.

    On the flip side, if its this dangerous of a problem, it might be better for the girl to withdraw. If she is at such a risk, I wouldn't send my child to a public school.

    Also, think about the students. Imagine for a second you forgot to wash your hands or something and triggered an allergy attack to the girl that could possibly be fatal? What if she died? I cant imagine a teenager that is a good person overall being the cause of that, it would stick with you the rest of your life.

    She cant control her allergies, but to a certain extent the family can control the surroundings. If I was that worried about my kid I would change the part I have control over. You cant control if people wash their hands or things like that. If someone chooses not to wash their hands and then triggers an attack and she dies is that murder? Even if on accident?

    March 27, 2011 at 9:03 pm |
  33. dave

    So...let's think it through.
    It must be that this is the only kid on Florida with this such severe allergies.
    Because if there were more, they too would be asked to leave????

    I don't think so. Although parents should be on top of it, some kid is going to have the same allergy reaction and get very, very sick. All because of the short sightedness of these rocket scientists in Florida.
    [

    March 27, 2011 at 9:03 pm |
  34. d doug

    Well, I see we ALL have something to say, and by the vast majority, I thank you. No, I do not have a child or grandchild who is visited with this allergy, but my grandchildren have friends in school who do. They simply have protected the children by setting aside a peanut table in the cafeteria, like many others mentioned here. My grandson decided not to take peanut butter sandwiches to school, because he wanted to sit with his friend. As for those too stupid to understand, sorry, but it appears you never will. People who are ugly, can actually improve. Cant always say that about stupidity.

    As a Scout leader who used to take international groups of Scouts out, I had to contend not only with such things as allergies, but plan menus that ALL the boys and adults could eat. Anti Pork this, pro vegetable that, blah blah blah, Can you imagine? We did it though, and not a complaint from the boys who really had no such religious or health restrictions. Kids can be good to one another, if their parents will allow them to.

    March 27, 2011 at 8:58 pm |
  35. pwik

    What is missing here is placing the responsibility where it truly lies - with the school administration. The better way to have handled this from the start is for the school health officials and administration to sit down and learn about how to create as healthy an environment as possible for ALL students given that many have allergies, weak immune systems etc.

    Sure, ban tree nuts, institute hand washing on a regular basis, teach children how to blow their noses properly - all great stuff, and no onus or stigma attached to any one child.

    March 27, 2011 at 8:57 pm |
  36. Joseph

    It is NOT about "FEELINGS" people! Stop using that as a defense or argument. Banning "anything" is not the answer; IF this is a "life or death" issue does it make sense to trust that to children to enforce? What if they forget? Are they or their parents now going to be held accountable for the consequences? How about the school board if a teacher forgets? The simple common sense solution is that any "special needs" student should be allowed to attend "WHEN POSSIBLE"; since death is a possibility then she should not be there as the limited safeguards the school could put into place would not be enough to offset the consequences. Forcing everyone else to change their lives for one person, although noble and poetic in our political correctness world just doesn't make sense. For instance, how far do we go? School sport injuries can cause death so do we ban them? Do we force the supplies for all of the various school supplies to provide protection against peanut contamination? What about library books? What happens if they are contaminated? Who is liable? The school, the last student, etc....

    It sucks that anyone would have to live with this but such is life. Deal with it! Don't force others to deal with your condition. If you disagree then I would encourage everyone to do your part and ban peanuts in all forms from the United States otherwise, just be quiet.

    March 27, 2011 at 8:56 pm |
  37. concerned grandmother

    Peanut butter is one of the few easy to obtain, types of affordable nutrition available for most parents. IF it were my grandchild, I'd keep him/her home from school, and not inconvience the community.

    March 27, 2011 at 8:54 pm |
  38. rh

    They are taking away the Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) from her classmates, so she has FAPE. Not right.

    Not every person can be accommodated in a public setting. Shouldn't the parents be charged with child endangerment if they let her attend public school?

    Oh, and how about the teachers? Do they have to wash their hands and rinse out their mouths? How about the custodians? How about the girl, when she finds out that UNreasonable accommodations are being made for her?

    And how about kids with disablities, such as autism? Are they made to go through these extra precautions? Did they clean the whole school?

    Peanuts are banned in classrooms at my child's school where a student has a peanut allergy, but in the cafeteria they can use peanut butter. There is a nut-free table for kids with peanut allergies that is cleaned daily. Why is this not enough for this girl? And if it isn't, does she belong in a public school? Do they expect her college to go through the same lengths?

    March 27, 2011 at 8:50 pm |
  39. Lillian Valenzuela

    Procedures required of the students should be presented as part of their education in health and social studies. They SHOULD learn about allergan and pathogen pathways and how to mitigate risk for themselves and others. They should also learn how a civilized society helps to enable persons with debilitating conditions, and that everyone is unique in their strengths and weaknesses.

    March 27, 2011 at 8:47 pm |
  40. Kenny

    I got no problem with allowing this one student to disrupt the educational process of everyone else. I just want everyone to come clean and state that school is only a "place of temporary juvenile storage" and nothing else.

    March 27, 2011 at 8:41 pm |
  41. Sally

    Re: Seeiously parents, get over yourselves! Imagine this is YOUR child, that YOUR child could die from exposure to anything peanut! Would it be too much to ask people to wash their hands twice daily?!?!

    The problem is that responsibility for the girl's life is in the kids' hands. It's not fair to those other kids to put her life in their hands like that. Imagine if one of them made a mistake and brought something in with peanuts and she died. They would feel guilty for the rest of their life. Not right.

    March 27, 2011 at 8:32 pm |
  42. Jill

    Those parents that are trying to have the student leave the school should be ashamed of themselves and would hopefully do anything to keep their child alive. I cannot believe people today, all I have to say is, "What goes around comes around!"

    March 27, 2011 at 8:29 pm |
  43. sam spade

    I'm so tired of putting up with the exception instead of the norm. This is just another case of the weak exerting control over the strong. If her problem is so bad then the school district needs to pay to have her sent to a school for peanut allergy sufferers.

    March 27, 2011 at 8:24 pm |
  44. JLA

    Gee, anyone notice how this peanut-allergy phenom has just blown up over the past 10-15 years? I think a great deal of it has to do with hyper-reactive, histrionic parents who go way, way overboard when they first see signs of a reaction in their kid and then it just spirals from there. And not only are these parents doing their own kid a big disservice medically (for instance, a lot of studies have shown that peanut allergies can be dealt with by slowly reintroducing the food to the child, but these parents are too terrified to do it) and socially, but they are dragging down everyone else's kids with extreme measures as seen with the school in this news story.

    March 27, 2011 at 8:19 pm |
  45. Acorn

    I'm sorry the kid has allergy problems, but I don't think an entire school of kids should have to change their routine, take special steps, or go out of their way to accomodate one kid's problem.

    And I can see from the other comments here that I'm in the minority on that.

    March 27, 2011 at 8:13 pm |
  46. Lisa

    Amazing! These parents have reached a new low on the humanity scale. They should think about the lessons they are teaching their children, selfishness, callousness, heartlessness, pig-headed-ness, and intolerance. Their children will grow up to be the selfish, intolerant adults we don't need any more of. I hope the parents are properly ashamed of themselves someday, but hold out little hope for them.

    March 27, 2011 at 8:12 pm |
  47. perspective

    The need for PB is just not an excuse to not accomidate a child with an allergy. If you are feeding your child PB daily for lunch, I can assure you they are quite likely deficient in their overall nutrition, not to mention likely consuming a larger than neccesary amount of saturated fats. That said.......

    There are a million cheap and nutritious sources of protein........many breads are high in protein now (enriched), bagels, cheeses, cream cheeses, yogurts, deli, leftovers from dinner the night before??, pastas (enriched), dried beans, hummus, soy butter, sun butter (made in a nut free facility), chicken (nuggets), hamburger, bacon, fish (tuna), eggs (hard boiled or even egg salad), cerals, milk, leftover mac and cheese, leftover pizza, pulled bbq, potato rolls......the list goes on and on. There are a multitude of healthier options than PB. PB is simply the old standby, fast option for parents making lunches in the morning. And yes it is convienent but not neccesary and certainly not daily!

    Parents with nut allergies are not saying the kids can't eat PB, they are simply asking that they not eat it at school. And if they still choose to do so then please have the common decency to wash your hands and rinse your mouth to protect a fellow student. They are respecting your desire to consume PB so what is the big deal to wash your hands and rinse your mouth.

    Besides, typically post lunch the kids stop by the restroom anyway before returning to their classrooms.....shouldn't they be washing their hands then anyway? And since this is a typical part of the school day I do not see how this would take away from instruction.

    Yes, a child with an allergy must be educated on how to stay safe, but let's be real here – this is a 6 year old. It is rare that a child of this age would have the ability to speak up for themselves to a child making fun of them, let alone for something as complicated as a food allergy. Heck, many adults here don't understand the severity of a food allergy, how is a 6 year old supposed to explain it to a fellow student?? A 16 year old, sure, but a first grader?

    I have been on both sides of this issue. I have a child who was in a nut free class many years back and my first thought was really? what a pain. I never complained about it to the school or the parents I just didn't know anything about food allergy at the time and at first blush thought it was taking something away from my own child. I simply got creative and found other things to put in the lunch box and carried on. In actuality it really wasn't that big of an inconveinence at all.

    And then a few years later my next child turns up with a nut allergy – no family history, the child was nursed for nearly 2 years and fed nutritiously every step of the way and as far as germaphobia goes, this same child frequently put their shoes in their mouth while we were driving home from stores/outings etc.....so they were exposed to plenty of germs! There is no rythme or reason as to who will contract a food allergy. And I would also like to point out that food allergies (as well as other allergies) can turn up at any point. So, just b/c your child or you do not have the allergies now that doesn't mean you cannot develop them. Clearly, I have since learned a lot about food allergies and actually benefited from the nut free class of my first child in how to handle the allergy and what to feed my next child. A hidden blessing of sorts.

    I guess the point is to show some compassion and gratitude if you are not personally dealing with this issue. Will these same people have to enter the world someday and deal with this all on their own, yes. And, this will for some mean not shopping at the grocery store that has loose nuts (nut dust in the air), or not going on a cruise b/c an ER is not nearby should an anaphylactic reaction occur.....or only dating someone who is willing to alter their diet in order to be able to kiss you....... the list goes on and on as to the future restrictions that may be encountered. The thing is, everything a person with a servere food allergy does going forward will have to first be met with the thought...is this safe for me? Please be grateful that you and/or your child does not have to consider such things.

    But in the early years is it really such a sacrifice to help out a child or a family living through the allergies in a school enviornment by merely practicing basic sanitation that also keeps your own child from getting sick and possibily preventing cavities too? Really? Just think about it.

    March 27, 2011 at 8:09 pm |
  48. LAmom

    First off, the issue should be dealt with among THE ADULTS that are concerned... Second off, reasonable adjustments should be made for children with alergies, especially severe or life-threatening, but there are many ways how it can be done and negotiated and there are also limits when alternative solutions should be found... I witnessed a very dramatic, beyond angry, reaction of a mother whose child was alergic to more than 15 foods, when cupcakes brought for another child's birthday celebration contained one of the 15 alergens... Well, in that case, maybe she should have kept an alternative sweet treat for those occasions in the office? I know that dealing with alergies is a burden for the parents of the affected child and of course the child itself, but life is not fair and will not be... When asked in a polite way, people will alter their behavior to accomodate other people's special conditions in a reasonable manner... I think in this case, probably the communication between the parents and the school officials doesn't work the way it should...

    March 27, 2011 at 8:05 pm |
  49. James

    It is reaching the point where schools will no longer be a place for education, but a battlefield and dumping ground for every frailty, disability, and politically correct issue du jour. The people who will lose will be the kids and parents of those who will end up with an end to public education when parents who are more interested in educating their children rather than accommodating children who detract from that, pull their kids out or vote to end publicly funded education.

    I realize it is the age old problem of do you sacrifice one for the good of the many. It is not the relatively simple requests being made here, it is the fact that they are being rammed down the throats of others without seemingly any reasonable accommodations by the parents of the child with the allergy issue. I suspect this would be much less of any issue if there had been a school meeting where the parents of the child nicely asked others to do this rather than an edict from above which came across as "And the hell with what you or your children want or need." THAT is the biggest problem with those who demand (fairly or unfairly) special treatment and accommodations for THEIR kids without ONCE thinking about what it might mean or require in sacrifice by others. Talk about selfish!

    March 27, 2011 at 8:04 pm |
  50. Sue G

    I live in New England. I have jumped in water to save a child, I have jumped up a million times ready to help a child. 1 or 20 a kid is a kid.. I am the one who will go out of my way to help your child. whatever it maybe. Be the example don't leave thier loading gun sitting on the table. I have explained, helped, been the class parent spent amounts of my own money to assure a child at our school stayed safe. I was a kid who grew up on PP&J, Its a different world and all i'm seeing is alot of Willy Wonka parents. I want ,I want, give me ,give me, I have rights too. What are the bases of fighting for your rights? Mine a child who can be hurt. Yours selfishness Take and keep taking soon it will all catch up.

    I sure hope my peanut allergy child and yours learns a life lesson watching people like you in the media

    Bless you all hope this allergy never touchings anyone you love

    March 27, 2011 at 8:03 pm |
  51. Diane

    I'm sorry but the child with the allergy has to make the sacrifice. People throughout your life are NOT going to accommodate you. I'm sorry you have this issue but unfortunately it's YOUR problem.

    March 27, 2011 at 7:51 pm |
  52. D R

    People seem to focus on political correctness and feelings over a good education and proper nutrition. The real issue not discussed here is that peanut allergies are treatable and only exist in our modern industrial society. Peanut allergies are not found in parts of the world where children are starving. Rather then being life threatening, peanut butter is a source of nutrition to save lives.

    This story illuminates what is wrong with our school systems, fundamental child neglect. You wouldn't send and the school wouldn't accept a student with an untreated broken leg. If a child has a life threatening condition, I would suggest treating that before sending the child to school. If a child is unhealthy, then their needs to be addressed properly.

    As a person who grew up with a sister with serious mental and physical limitations, I learned about the mainstreaming of children like her into classes with the students without disabilities. This and my personal experiences with learning difficulties has taught me that students should have their special needs addressed and not folded in the general population. While there are learning experiences associated with exposing students to others with disabilities, the educators have consistently shown themselves to be overburdened with the job of providing for the basic educational needs of children.

    Priority should not be given to special needs students over the general population. Schools are not social experiments, they are supposed to be places of learning. By putting the few before the majority of students, we allow our failing schools systems to continue declining into an educational abyss. These distractions are leading to a break down of our society. Children need the grown ups to grow up and put education first.

    March 27, 2011 at 7:40 pm |
  53. Meggie

    How sad for this child, yet I agree her parents should home school her if they are going to be this demanding. They are going overboard and are going to create a self-centered, neurotic child with their obsessiveness. They need to focus on what their child can do to protect herself, instead of putting all these demands upon the other children.

    Why do the kids have to wash THEIR hands extra times? Why doesn't she just wash HER hands and keep them away from her mouth? Let HER wear a mask over her face. She should be responsible for her own safety, not other children.

    March 27, 2011 at 7:38 pm |
  54. TheRunningNurse

    I'm from Central Florida and have been following this story from the beginning. It is not A's simple as it sounds in this article. While I know nut allergies are a big deal, these parents have made demands that are taking up about 30 minutes of the other students time (ie, cutting into THEIR EDUCATION). There is constant washing and wiping and rinsing out their mouths is over the top.
    I have watched parents of children with illnesses and such make a huge deal out of it for the extra attention.
    I'm wondering how they ever take her out in public where they can't dictate what people do??
    Bottom-line, she needs to be taught to protect herself and carry and epi-pen.

    March 27, 2011 at 7:09 pm |
  55. CRW

    Our school district has already come up with some very good ways of protecting kids with food allergies that have worked well. Each school has set up a special room, which is usually an area of the gym, marked as the allergen free zone. Peanuts and other allergens are banned from these areas. The kids with allergies can have lunch with their friends as long as the other kids follow the rules.

    Peanuts haven't been banned, but access is controlled, and so far there have been no incidents.

    There are ways of accommodating kids with allergies without banning peanuts completely.

    By the way, I have one of these kids with peanut allergies, and this approach works very well without inconveniencing the rest of the student body. Peanut butter is an important food source for many kids.

    March 27, 2011 at 7:07 pm |
  56. Bill

    How stupid this all is. Her parents should teach her to deal with her problem. But to impose it on other childern has been there choice. What a shame.

    March 27, 2011 at 7:06 pm |
  57. WaitWhatOh2011

    ".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 ...are taking away from their own children's learning..."

    Would they obect having their kids wash their hands more frequently at school because of H1N1 or other bacterial/viral threats.

    They are learning - good hygiene.

    March 27, 2011 at 6:59 pm |
  58. 4Heavenssake

    I have two adult friends with food allergies. One of the has to carry around a needle with a drug in it so he won't die.

    I was once in a restaurant where the lady at the next table was questioning the waiter about what was in the dish she wanted to order and she told him why. He reassured her that it would be okay for her. Shortly after she received her meal, paramedics were called because - yes, it had peanuts in the oil in was cooked in. I don't know if she died or not, but she surely could have. This is a very serious problem that cooks and staffs everywhere in any environment should not ignore.

    March 27, 2011 at 6:58 pm |
  59. Dan E.

    So, what I notice right away is that the actual article is shorter than some of the comments left on the page. Fascinating to see how many people read into the story, almost putting their own assumptions into it without knowing anything more than the copy provided by CNN.
    Nice to see so many impassioned people, but I question a story that inflames more than informs.

    March 27, 2011 at 6:50 pm |
  60. purejoi

    My granson has severe allergies....peanuts included. I can not imagine someone trying to ban him from school because of it. Nor isolate him in anyway. For those who know nothing about allergies....do some research before guessing. Ingesting peanuts is not the only way a person who is allergic can have a reaction. That being said...how does one support the child and the parents of this child....posting a comment is great but doesn't solve the problem.

    March 27, 2011 at 6:48 pm |
  61. Page Morrison

    The word "allergy" is misleading when speaking about peanut allergies. Unlike an allergy to say, cats, that makes someone sneezy and teary-eyed, a peanut allergy is an anaphylactic allergy, and it's life-threatening. When someone (such as my son) eats a small bite of a peanut, his body goes into anaphylactic shock: hives cover his body head to toe, he vomits, his eyes swell shut and most scary of all, his throat closes, restricting his ability to breath. A full-blown anaphylactic reaction requires emergency room treatment. Having said that, I also think we do a disservice to our children not to help them learn to manage this issue on their own. Schools should make an effort to separate the peanut butter eaters, but like others have said, the kids are really good at watching out for each other, and what a better way to teach them to respect their differences. Personally, I think kids having to rinse their mouths is a little over the top, and for my son, at least, touching peanut butter is going to cause some hives in that spot but not anaphylaxis. How are these kids going to make their way in the world if they have so many false barriers put up to protect them?

    March 27, 2011 at 6:46 pm |
  62. Sabrina Sperry

    It's horrible to see how calloused some people in our society are. The school absolutely has made the right decision in giving this child equal opportunity in her education. Shame on those parents picketing a young girl!

    March 27, 2011 at 6:46 pm |
  63. dan

    both my kids go to peanut and all nut free schools and camps. Sure, it is annoying - I survived on peanut butter sandwiches and my picky eaters would also if given the chance. But somehow (and we never liked sunbutter or peabutter) my kids have survived, unable to take things to school that are even labelled "may contain" or "processed on the same machinery as". Is this fairly applied for all allergies? NHo. Does that make it any less necessary because some students have a life threatening allergy that can be accommodated? No.

    Annoying doesn't mandate ostracism and removal from school.

    March 27, 2011 at 6:46 pm |
  64. Mimi

    To Beth Pipkin:
    What a great idea! I wish more people thought this way. 🙂 This poor kid already lives such a sheltered life. Enough already. Poor girl. We should all wash our hands and brush our teeth after every meal as it is. What's the big fat deal if our kids are "taught" to do that anyways. I don't see the huge problem here. It's called compassion people! And it's taught and it starts at home.

    March 27, 2011 at 6:45 pm |
  65. Whats Next America??

    What happens when this girl needs to travel, on say an airplane? Is she going to have a protection service, that strip search's all the other paying passengers on the flight to see if they have any peanut related products on their person?

    she is not the only one allergic to nuts... i hope she has several epi-pens ready.

    March 27, 2011 at 6:11 pm |
  66. Lynn

    To Al:

    "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."

    Al, I suggest you pull out the dictionary and look up the word "whim". A peanut allergy is a life-threatening condition. Exposure causes anaphylactic shock, which can cause death in a matter of minutes. I know this firsthand, as my son and I both must carry epinephrine injections, in case of accidental ingestion or exposure to peanuts. My son's school has happily made accomodations for my son. When this little girl gets old enough, it will be her responsibility to make choices about potentially unsafe situtations. Right now it is her parents' responsibility, and a school should not be an unsafe situation for any child. Please don't use words like "whim" to describe a deadly condition that is beyond the control of this little girl and her parents.

    March 27, 2011 at 6:03 pm |
  67. RS

    The idea that the majority should ALWAYS sacrifice for the weakest link is absurd. Why is ONE unfortunate child more important than the rest?

    Also, if the city or county will fund home or private schooling, TAKE ADVANTAGE of the opportunity not to be in public school.

    March 27, 2011 at 6:02 pm |
  68. john

    What in the world are you talking about animal allergies? People do not die from being near dog or cat hair. This little girl could die at the age of 6 if she is exposed. What needs to be done is education of the other children in the classroom on disabilities of others, not just this peanut allergy. I have a friend with ausbergers, as well as autism. There are accommodations made for them but children are not really taught about these. Children at a young age need to be taught about these kinds of things. I am an advocate of making children wash their hands when they enter a classroom, cough, sneeze, and things of that nature. WHat is wrong with taking a squirt of hand sanitizer and rubbing their hands together as they walk back into the room?

    What is wrong with these parents? Why do they spend all this time picketing in front of an ELEMENTARY SCHOOL!!!!!!!!!!! Shouldn't they be working or doing something constructive with their lives? Home schooling is not the answer. Why don't these parents homeschool THEIR kids if they are worried about the new rules? We're talking about a six year old girl here. It's not like she chooses to have this allergy....these parents need to research and find out about these things themselves and not just be bashing little children for things out of their control. Feed them the peanut butter sandwich before they go to school and after they come home if it's SO important.

    March 27, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
  69. Paulina

    Uh, these people are upset because their children have to wash their hands (?!) and keep their lunches in the hall so that you may not possibly kill a child?! Is this for real?!
    Are you people aware we are at war? Soldiers are fighting for our rights, and you are upset that your children have to wash their hands?!
    This HAS to be a joke.

    March 27, 2011 at 4:07 pm |
  70. bob

    Every one needs to grow up & relize this child is protected by the ada laws & home -schooling her would be robbing her of needed interaction with other childeren. As far as saying these are one persons whims i am pretty sure she did not ask for this allergy. Iam surtain any one would rather have hayfever or allergys to cats. The fact that so called adults are pickiting a child is pathetic .

    March 27, 2011 at 3:51 pm |
  71. Sarha B.

    Really? It's hard to believe how selfish people can be. The newscaster hit it on the head when she said that kids in a classroom with a child who has a disability are often "better" people. My son has a severe peanut allergy, and the kids in his class are happy to wash their hands when they get to school and after lunch. Often, they ask their parents to make them a peanut-free lunch so they can sit by my son during lunch time. My child is also allergic to eggs. We provide plenty of snacks for him to have at school so other parents don't have to worry about accommodating him. But more often than not, when a classmate has a birthday, the mom calls me to find out how to make egg-free cupcakes. And to the other point - it IS only a first-grader! Are we really so heartless as to want to send a 6-year-old home for her education? Socialization is truly one of the most important aspects of public school.

    March 27, 2011 at 3:47 pm |
  72. jeannie807

    When I grew up, I'm now retired, there were NO such things as peanut allergies, and the number of children who are allergic to other stuff
    is crazy. Why are people becoming seriously allergic like this? Something in the environment? I've heard mentioned that if peanuts are
    dry roasted that it can cause a problem – but who knows. Also, the medical advances in peanut allergies are helping more people. Maybe the parents should look at a medical cure – a desensitizing program for the child who can't eat peanuts. I also believe that the parents bear the brunt of keeping their child safe. Possibly, home schooling for a few years wouldn't hurt and probably help this child, academically, physically and mentally.

    March 27, 2011 at 3:14 pm |
  73. Diane

    I agree 100% with the picketing parents. Their children have as much right to a normal first grade experience as any child. Last time I checked, a peanut-sniffing dog wasn't part of this normal experience. If this little first grade girl with the peanut allergy is so fragile that her special needs are essentially holding the entire school hostage, how is she supposed to survive in the real world? Can she? Some of us are strong; some of us are weak. Evolution rewards the strong with survival and the weak with...well, you get the idea. The little girl's parents have a sick kid on their hands, and it's their responsibility to deal with her needs, not to burden the entire community.

    March 27, 2011 at 2:57 pm |
  74. hayden

    my biggest problem with this (and there are quite a few) is that these parents would rather someone else's child die than have their child wash their hands. If you as a parent believe that your child's rights have been infringed upon because he had to wash his hands i question whether or not it's in a child's best interest to depend on you for day to day care.

    March 27, 2011 at 2:07 pm |
  75. Brenda

    I am finding it very difficult to hold my head up and truly feel american most of the time. This is awful. We treat animals better than this. What is wrong with these parents? Our life depend on each other - get with the program people.

    March 27, 2011 at 1:56 pm |
  76. Bob

    Next it will be shellfish, then the lactose intolorant, and finally meat eaters will be banned. If You have an issue, you deal with it. If this allergy issue becomes an epidemic then as tax payers and voters maybe special schools can be set up, like for the deaf and blind.

    March 27, 2011 at 1:54 pm |
  77. Melanie

    These children are in no danger whatsoever, yet these parents insist on treating this little girl like she is the town leper. What they are proposing is not only preposterous but it is absurd. You don't kick a child out of school just because your little one has to take a few precautionary steps to insure the safety of another. Gosh, such cruelty! If I was the principal, I would take it one step further and require the children to wear gloves.

    March 27, 2011 at 1:26 pm |
  78. Jay

    What saddens me is that as an educator the parents who are protesting make my job harder. Many parents use the term that is not fair, but use it in the way that kids use it. Being fair does not mean being treated equally. A child who has a learning disability for example gets extra time on a test because of the disability. Is that fair? To a child no that is not fair, but to me is that fair as an adult and teacher yes it is helping a child. Legally that school has to help the child receive an education. What people need to understand also is that there are different degrees of allergies. Someone like myself may have a mild or moderate food allergy were everyday medicine will help control the allergy. A super severe allergy can mean just the smell will cause the death of the child which I have seen happen.

    March 27, 2011 at 12:55 pm |
  79. kate c

    Are there any studies showing people experience anaphylactic shock from merely breathing in "second hand" peanut breath or merely touching minor residue of peanuts? Peanut butter sandwiches are an affordable and nutritious lunch for parents struggling on a budget. Yet, at this school, all children have to be subjected to peanut-sniffing dogs and PB& J sandwiches - a lunchtime for generatioins– are to be considered contraband ? Because of a rare food allergy where parents speculate that a whiff of peanut butter breath or a touch of peanut butter left on a table is going to set off life-threatening anaphylactic shock? This smacks of hysteria, political correctness and overreaction. Sorry - if my kids were getting sniffed by dogs and treated like little criminals - I'm not so sure I wouldn't be with the protesters. Surely, there are other reasonable accomodations .

    March 27, 2011 at 12:29 pm |
  80. Allison Ashcenazi

    I was so mad when seeing this story. My son has several food allergies, including peanuts that can be life threatining in seconds if exposed to them. For these parents to picket in front of this girl's school was so very wrong in so many ways! It is not unreasonable to ask that all children have their hands washed before attending school. It is a matter of pure ignorance that these parents were acting in this childish manner. If they woke up tomorrow morning to find out their children were allergic to peanuts they would act alot different!!
    This is an increasingly growing problem all over the world. In Ontario it is a law to have all schools peanut free. What is so difficult to keep these kids safe?! The Law is called Sabrina's Law passed by a mother who lost her daughter due to the fact that someone had eaten peanut butter and touched her. This can simply be avoided by washing hands and not bringing peanut products into schools. It is not that difficult. In Ontario, not yet the states there is many varieties of peanut free snacks.

    March 27, 2011 at 12:04 pm |
  81. Jeff

    Does CNN even do any investigations? How many people have died of "deadly peanut allergies" when they smelled peanuts on someones breath? How many have even been hospitalized? When I looked at the CDC site and other medical sites and the answer would be ZERO. You need to eat peanuts to have a severe reaction. As CNN cannot even be bothered to research on what a "deadly peanut allergy" is all about, why would you expect a school board or school? Why is everything these days about spin? Did anyone at the school even consult experts? So many decisions these days appears to be about the spin people put on limited information, even to the point of telling lies. If this parent is interested in her child not smelling a peanut butter sandwich, buy her a mask.

    March 27, 2011 at 11:22 am |
  82. Sherry

    Are we getting to the point where we put everyone who is not like "us" away from the general population?
    We all must make accomodations in this life here on earth, why not teach that to children early on in their lives.
    That way, they won't want to put "other people" somewhere else in this world.

    March 27, 2011 at 10:29 am |
  83. nunyabidness

    Let me preface this by saying I have GREAT compassion for this little girl; I have deadly allergies myself, and it's tough going through life being ever-vigilant. However, I do have a few reservations about the extent of "reasonable accommodations" this school district is imposing for just one child. What happens when she gets to middle school, and there are 1200+ students; or to high school, with over 2000 fellow classmates? Or next year, when a child with severe, deadly allergies to animal dander enrolls, are they going to force every family to send Snoopy and Fluffy off to Aunt Gladys' place? Will they hold classes at night to accommodate children with extreme photophobia? At what point does it become 'unreasonable'?

    March 27, 2011 at 10:18 am |
  84. blackcurry

    Hellooooooooo selfish, ignorant parents of Valusia Co. Florida!!!!!
    Your kids should be washing their hands anyway to prevent the spread of communicable diseases and bacterial infections. I hope to God your kids grow up to better more compassionate, knowledgeable people than you.

    March 27, 2011 at 10:15 am |
  85. Allergy mom

    My sons' school is very supportive of special needs children, in accordance with the law. One of my sons is in a classroom with all of the following allergies: peanuts, dairy, soy, gluten, and eggs. As you can imagine, class parties can be interesting!! But the teacher does a wonderful job of sending home a list of suggested treats that meet the allergy criteria (jello, fruit, fritos, some potato chips) and the parents all cooperate with no fuss. Because it's the right thing to do!!

    If a child eats nothing but PBJ, then perhaps there is something wrong with that child or that child's parents. Children should be taught to eat all kinds of healthy foods, and peanut butter is not healthy at all! Unless you're buying the health foods store variant, without all the added hydrogenated oils.

    Most allergies are not life threatening, but unfortunately peanut allergies often are. I have one son allergic to dairy and soy, and another son allergic to gluten. If they are exposed to any of those foods, the next 24 hours will be unpleasant for them, but they'll survive. Therefore there are no class-wide or school-wide accomodations required for them. That's not true for peanut-allergic kids.

    I have a son who is deaf, he has an interpreter with him at all times. Is someone going to complain about the "special treatment" that he receives?? That same son gets speech therapy, physical therapy, and occupational therapy, do you want to complain about that too?

    March 27, 2011 at 9:21 am |
  86. westin

    to AJ, and other protestors,

    I am 15 years old i have delt with my allergies to "ALL NUTS" through school since kindergarden. The fact of the matter is that the reaction to the nut protine builds with each exposure, and eventually that can kill any child with nut allergies. This usually happens in their early 20's. It's not just this school and this girl, it's the whole country that needs to live a higher standard. When the students wash their hands or leave their lunch at a diffrent location, that's great but if the kids just get the nut oil on a desk, that's an exposure to the toxin. That itself could cause a reaction. think about if you had my allergy, you even go near a nut product. When you do your throat starts to consrtict, your heart beat starts to rise, you feel dizzy, and sick, and you know that if you make a wrong move or eat the wrong thing you could DIE!

    I don't think anyone of those parents have thought about this...

    would you let your child die?

    March 27, 2011 at 9:13 am |
  87. JR

    I understand what a severe peanut allergy can do to a child. I am also sympathetic to the children who almost only eat peanut butter and jelly. My son has Asperger's Syndrome, eats very little and usually only eats peanut butter (not jelly) sandwiches. Now, you have 2 children with disabilities, what do you do? My son has the right to be in school and has the right to eat. The child with the peanut has the right to be in school and eat as well. So the solution to make the children wash their hands and rinse their mouths sounds very logical. My question is this, who is monitoring that the children thoroughly wash their hands or rinse their mouths? Who will be liable if an innocent child forgets to rinse their mouth or if a tiny piece of peanut is still in their mouth or tooth. The poor teacher has a great responsiblity and as much as the teacher probably cares and wants to keep every child safe, what pressure! Why not have a peanut allergy class where lunch and everything is done in one class away from everyone else who might pose a threat to them?

    March 27, 2011 at 8:44 am |
  88. Paperwork

    So, you make the school peanut free. Then what else do you do? Demand they make the movie theater, mall, gas station, etc., peanut free? What about when she's out in public, and brushes against someone who had a PBJ? You can't protect someone this allergic from the rest of the world. In Britain, they are having really good results from deliberately giving the most allergic kids microscopic doses of peanut protein everyday, similar to the concept of allergy shots. Treat the kid, not the rest of the planet; it's the only way to keep her safe.

    March 27, 2011 at 8:02 am |
  89. Raevyn

    I don't believe these parents are just annoyed about the hand washing or the peanut ban. I believe that they're afraid that if this child becomes ill or, god forbid dies, because someone didn't wash their hands or brought a banned food to school that they'll be sued. I think that's the REAL issue here.

    March 27, 2011 at 4:33 am |
  90. Matthew

    These parents make me sick. I grew up with both an allergy to milk (not lactose intolerence) and to peanut products. Thankfully my milk allergy was one that I outgrew and the peanut allergy was mild. I can still remember in pre school they had us make bird feeders wih peanut butter and pine cones. Guaranteed that wouldn't happoen today. The school knew of my allergy but yet, when a 3 year old asks "Does the peanut butter have peanuts in it?" They said no, and that would be the first time I had an episode with having hives all over my body. Guess I should've stayed home. Bottom line. Peanuts are not a whole freaking FOOD GROUP. And your child has no more a right to eat anything they want in school than they do to SAY anything they want.. IN SCHOOL. Peanut allergies are not a disability, they are a death sentence and the sooner these parents get it into their heads that every child has the right to be publicly educated without fear of that sentence being carried out the better. I'm just glad to see this problem being addressed now as it was never fully appreciated when I went to school.

    March 27, 2011 at 3:47 am |
  91. Guided Evolution

    An often missed point is that as these children survive and go on to produce children of their own, they are passing on this gene and weakening the species. Are we sure that we want to put the good of one child over that of the whole world's population, just because we don't want to hurt anyone's feelings? Tough questions demand tough solutions.

    March 27, 2011 at 3:02 am |
  92. Nancy

    p.s. I don't live near Edgewater Elementary School in Volusia County, Florida, but if I did, I would be there in a heartbeat with my own signs supporting this little girl. I hope others will be there supporting her instead.

    March 27, 2011 at 2:32 am |
  93. Nancy

    At first this article made me very happy that my 4 year old son will be going to school in Canada where parents like those picketers are few and far between, and the schools here have been very supportive. Then I realized that when measuring a child's life against a peanut butter sandwich, most commenters would also prefer to see the child alive and well, regardless of where they live. It really warms my heart to see the support behind this little girl who certainly already felt alienated from her peers before this happened.

    I wonder if any of those intolerant parents have experienced what I have, riding in the back of an ambulance holding my lethargic child, wondering if his airway will stay open long enough to get to the hospital? I don't expect the world to stop eating peanut butter for my son, but I do expect that he will be able to eat with his friends, thanks to "peanut aware" policies in elementary schools in Canada. Ask any child if they would give up peanut butter for just one meal of the day in order to protect their friend, and they will happily do it. Unless, of course, they have already been taught intolerance and selfishness by their picketing parents. As I said before, at least most parents are beginning to understand the seriousness of a life-threatening food allergy, and for that I am very thankful.

    March 27, 2011 at 2:16 am |
  94. MK

    Going by their logic, any child who comprises a hindrance to the classroom should be thrown out of school. As a result, any child with a learning disability would technically qualify as a hindrance to the education of the other children because they often get "special treatment" which results in more of the efforts of teachers going to them. Even children who take a religious holiday not part of the normal schedule would technically comprise a hindrance as the teachers must take additional time to accommodate their needs. People need to realize that if they wish to deny this student a public education, they must be ready to deny any student that causes such "problems" in the classroom and their children will not be excepted.

    March 27, 2011 at 1:37 am |
  95. mark

    I feel so bad for the little girl. She must feel like an out cast. There are many children with many different life threating allergies. If I was a parent of this child, I wouldn't risk sending my child to school. All it takes is a parent/child not adhering to the school policy and the child could die. Is it worth risking sending her to school? The parent would second quess her decision and probably file litagation. What a difficult situation. My prayers go out for her.

    March 27, 2011 at 1:26 am |
  96. Allergy Mom

    Unbelievable! How selfish can the parents be? It is not hard for children to follow the precautions in order to not jeopardize the life of their classmate. What kind of lesson are these parents teaching their children? How to be self-centered and lack compassion? I'm disgusted.

    March 27, 2011 at 1:05 am |
  97. Sheela

    I feel the federal government should ban peanuts just like cigarettes in public places until they can get a better handle on the causes of increase of peanut allergy in our country.

    Peanut butter IS a good source of cheap protein..thats why it's handed out in heaps in government run programs such as WIC to pregnant and breastfeeding mothers, etc. The other option is split peas which can actually cause the same allergy as it is a legume with similar cell structures.

    I've read that HIB vaccine can also cause our bodies to attack normal things such as a peanut for the same reason...similar chemical make-up to peanuts in the active or inactive ingredients. Government has the means to study this possibility that giving vaccines could actually cause a young immune system to go into hyper-drive..hope they are checking into this.

    Federal government should make it mandatory for OB/GYN docs to inform pregnant women who have any family history of any allergies or their partners...that they should not consume too many peanut products as this increase the incidence that their child will have a peanut allergy. Many other food allergies can show up in a young child, but most they will outgrow. Peanut allergies are usually life-long.

    Doctors need to be more educated in the signs of food allergy/eczema in infants...my daughter suffered needlessly for many months until finally was properly diagnosed by a doctor who obviously was more experienced in his profession. Misdiagnosis was roseola and then cradle cap/seb. derm.

    If you want to know what it would be like for a child to have to abstain from peanut products, wheat, soy, egg, milk...challenge yourself to try to go a few days without eating these allergens yourself. Asking schools to not bring a peanut product/stay clean for just those few hours is cheesecake compared to these children that can never eat these ingredients (or the breast-feeding moms of infants...imagine what would happen if you "cheated" on this diet???)

    More education to the public is needed....more research into the cause of peanut allergy is vital and long-overdue!

    This family and child are in a tight spot...but perhaps the right spot–the media. Hopefully the media can help raise awareness to this disability that doesn't need to be a disability in our future.

    March 26, 2011 at 11:42 pm |
  98. Beth

    I feel there must be more to this story then is being reported. Most parents aren't evil and they aren't going to just up and protest to be mean. There must be more to the story. A lot of schools are peanut free and you don't hear about protests going on.

    March 26, 2011 at 11:05 pm |
  99. Sarah

    This is absurd. The world does not revolve around any one person; as a parent, I teach my children this. While this poor student has a life threatening allergy, it shouldn't be up to the rest of her school to ensure her safety. If regular procedures aren't sufficient, then her parents should consider removing her from public education. It is up to the parents and the child with the allergy, to ensure her safety -not the rest of the world.

    March 26, 2011 at 10:54 pm |
  100. Cindy

    This is a sad situation and I won't comment on the picketing. I will comment on all of those misguided individuals claiming kids shouldn't be eating peanut butter because it's bad for them. You are highly misguided. Peanut butter is not unhealthy. It is a high source of protein and you can buy lower sugar brands. For a diabetic child, peanut butter is a lifesaver. It is one of the products you can count on with your own "disabled" child, who by the way, can die as well from his disability. Further, for those saying, send a baloney sandwich. Baloney is full of nitrates and is unhealthy too. So you want me to subject my child to an unhealthy item, to keep yours healthy. No thanks.

    I happen to think there is much left out of this article, so I hold my judgement on either side.

    However, just wanted to clarify for all of you who have a misconception in your head. Peanut butter is truly a good for you food, and for those on a budget, a staple that most kids will eat.

    March 26, 2011 at 10:33 pm |
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