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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. Joe Pilot

    Bob Rednitz – Your comment about survival of the fittest is appalling. Based upon your Darwinian logic, below average students in the academic arena should be purged. I hope you are consistent in your disdain for other societal burdens such as free eyeglasses and hearing aids for the poor.

    How about you put your resume, talents and genetic blueprint up for society to examine and WE can decide if you are worthy to exist in this country? You darn well better be a perfect human speciem to advocate such a heartless attitude.

    I can only hope my tax dollars are never spent to give you any assistance or relief with any adversity, whether such adversity occurs by accident or due to an action or decision on your own part. It is frustrating enough that I spent 20 years of my life defending the rights and freedoms of ilk like you.

    March 30, 2011 at 11:29 pm |
  2. LL

    Yes, let's ban handwashing at school – that's a horrible practice, those children should not be subjected to such cruelty! Good grief. These parents need to get a grip. The handwashing benefits their children too.

    Peanut allergies are not that rare, this shouldn't be such a big deal. Seriously, is this a town full of idiots? Perhaps they stop breeding.

    March 30, 2011 at 10:38 pm |
  3. RB

    Horrible!! Teach them to wash their hands and brush their teeth anyway!! That will reduce the number of disgusting people who walk out of restrooms without washing their hands.

    March 30, 2011 at 9:17 pm |
  4. Grandmom

    At last! We now know why there are bullies in school. They are taught by their parents!!

    Shame on you adult bullies

    March 30, 2011 at 8:46 pm |
  5. Scott

    I wonder how many of these parents would act if it was thier child.

    Its too much for them now but id like to see how quickly they flop sides when its thier own.

    its just too bad people dont look at both sides of the coin.

    People act all righteous when it comes to stomping on anothers rights untill they are in the same circumstance

    March 30, 2011 at 8:41 pm |
  6. lisa

    As a public school teacher, I watch how we fight bullying in school, and I wonder why this is different. Isn't this child being bullied? Curriculum states that we teach tolerance for everyone....or should the county build concentration camps to hold children with allergies? Which side would you want your child on?? Take a stand, and tell your child that we have a responsibility to be sensitive to others. Ask them how they would feel if they were that little girl?

    March 30, 2011 at 8:23 pm |
  7. Karen Martin

    The child's allergy to peanuts must be very severe. It is hard enough to be a child these days, think of all the things that the child can't eat. However, to remove her from class would be cruel. Every child needs to socialize. I think accomodating her would be taking the high road. A hands on sensible approach is all that is needed here. These parents are making a mountian out of a mole hill.

    March 30, 2011 at 8:17 pm |
  8. Mark

    Learning how to make accomadations for someone less fortunate, is also an integral part of children's education.

    March 30, 2011 at 8:14 pm |
  9. Sheila

    Seriously?!? What is wrong with you people? I LOVE peanut butter. I wouldn't stop eating it for anybody. But if a coworker had a DEADLY allergy to peanuts and asked that I not bring any peanut products into the office, I would have no problem doing that. To save someone's LIFE. If it is such an inconvenience for your child to wash their hands after lunch, or worse yet, keep the peanut butter at home, then maybe YOUR child needs to be home-schooled. The school has the obligation to protect the health and safety of ALL children. They can't kick a child out of school just because that child causes a minor inconvenience. I am proud to say that my job is a fragrance free environment. Perfume, cologne, air freshener, strong smelling markers are not permitted. We have many employees and clients that have allergies or sensitivities to such products. Is it inconvenient? Yes, but so what? Someone that would have a problem with that would probably not be bothered to call 911 if they saw someone having a heart attack.

    March 30, 2011 at 8:13 pm |
  10. Reality

    We have a friend with a peanut allergy, though not as severe. My concern is that, in spite of all of these measures, something WILL happen sooner or later. So, yes, maybe the parents need to get over it (kinda like I did today when someone cut me off in traffic then flipped me a bird. Huh? It is all about you!!).
    I just think the parents of this child need to face reality if the allergy is that severe. When that severe incident occurs, who is going to get blamed, and who will feel guilty?
    I am sorry for this girl – I hope she outgrows this allergy.

    March 30, 2011 at 8:05 pm |
  11. Palmap

    I am new to the USA. One thing I have seen here is the mindset of most people here is ME ME ME. I can't understand this thought process as were I was born and grew up we looked after our neighbors and friends, and had compassion for others that had any problem and were willing to help them

    March 30, 2011 at 7:55 pm |
  12. David

    Well all you smarties, consider this:

    My son has autism and will only eat peanut butter sandwiches.

    So basically he has to be homeschooled or sit alone in the cafeteria (which they don't allow) so he has to be in a separate room.

    Consider both sides before you start bashing people.

    March 30, 2011 at 7:43 pm |
  13. john

    The school is doing the right thing and in no way would they do anything else, her allergy would be covered under the American with Disability Act because it would be considered a major life impairment(obviously).
    Thank god for the ADA

    March 30, 2011 at 7:11 pm |
  14. richard myers

    I support the school's efforts to deal with the situation sensibly. The parents in this story sound cruel and selfish. I wish that our society could grow up a bit, and get beyond such mean-spirited actions against a child.

    March 30, 2011 at 7:48 am |
  15. Bob Rednitz

    This is crazy! The parents should be outraged. One child stops the world and everyone else has to adapt for her. The protesting parents are in the right and the girl should learn to protect herself or be homeschooled. Someday she will have to go out and work, and no one will be there watching over here. Co-ing this girl along helps her learn nothing. The Darwin theory is also at work here as well. Survival of the fittest. This may be natures way of removing weak genes from the system.

    March 30, 2011 at 6:55 am |
  16. Ant

    My daughter's class had someone who had a life threatening peanut allergy in it, despite the fact that it is a small incovenience ( we just removed peanut butter from our cupboards, no prob ) this is a childs LIFE we are talking about, these parents that picket and "Mom" above shoud be ashamed of themselves and in fact they should be thrown out of the school. Way to go to learn a bit of tolerance, parents!!

    March 30, 2011 at 4:27 am |
  17. George W. Cheney

    I sympathize with the kids who wanna eat peanut without all this hassle. Why does the little girl have this allergy? Probably because her parents were feeding her a diet of peanut butter, popcorn., and sprite'
    Yes, the parents are to blame.
    Home-schooling is the only option.

    March 30, 2011 at 4:13 am |
  18. Pete

    As someone who has gone to school in both the public and private sphere, I can say that helping others deal with the world around them goes with the territory.

    But just as dealing with children with mental disabilities merits special-ed classes so the reiteration and time needed to get the point across does not interfere with other childrens' educations, I would say that if the steps needed to provide a safe environment requires each child to take persistent steps throughout the day such as washing hands, washing out his/her mouth, over and over again, the time spent doing these things adds up, especially when dealing with large class sizes.

    I wouldn't be so quick to judge the parents, I believe this to be a story that has not been given adequate representation on both sides. If the accommodations were sensible, there would not be a problem. I would imagine that the accommodations have begun to get intrusive and counter-productive, and if such distraction is required for the child to have a functioning school day, then perhaps it is best for the child to be home schooled or put into a separate program altogether.

    It serves illustrate that the world as a whole does not stop or change to meet our needs, and on a much larger scale such as in the work force or day to day life in normal society, these accommodations will not be made by the populace. Does it suck? Yes. Does that make it any less fact? No.

    It's a cold world out there.

    March 30, 2011 at 2:38 am |
  19. David

    The parents making a stink over this truly suck. My daughter quit eating Peanut Butter and Jelly since her friend at school was allergic to peanuts and it was her favorite. She thought it would hurt her friend. She only decided to take it for lunch after her friends Mom said it was ok to be at the lunch table with peanuts near her. At least I raised her the right way and she has compassion for others.

    March 30, 2011 at 1:21 am |
  20. Stacy

    OMG Jeff....your kid just HAS to have pb & j? How selfish! You are teaching your child that whatever he/she 'wants' should be placed above the needs of anyone else. How about the saying 'think of others before yourself?'. You probably have never heard that one have you? Nice upbringing. FYI – none of my 3 kids have any allergies, and we let our children enjoy PB & J – AT HOME. For school lunch, there are plenty of other heatlhy, delicious options that will not cause one of their classmates potential harm. They don't complain either, because I am not raising spoiled, selfish brats who only care about their own wants. I am so glad I am teaching my children to think of OTHERS and to be considerate of the needs and feelings of others. People like you make me sick.

    March 30, 2011 at 12:38 am |
  21. Pam

    This sick child needs to be taught to not take food from anyone at school and to keep her hands out of her mouth and face. What happens when she goes to Walmart and someone with a PBJ sandwich smears some on the shopping cart or touches a food container that is brought to her house? The world is not going to care two cents about her allergies. Nobody likes to be forced to subscribe to a hygienic regimen. Also peanut butter is high in nutrition and
    relatively cheap. In these times the cost factor for lunch is a consideration. Parents have the right to feed their kids without interference.

    Also, what happens if another child has a severe milk allergy, another one has a severe egg allergy, another a wheat allergy, etc. Will all of
    these other foods be banned too?

    Is this kid getting much needed desensitization treatments by an allergist.

    Talk about the tyranny of the few

    March 30, 2011 at 12:29 am |
  22. Jenn

    I don't understand why the school can't send tutors to their house. When I was little, my mom worked as a tutor for a school district that had to provide in-home education to a very sick girl with Down Syndrome and heart failure. The girl couldn't go to school and be exposed to all the germs, but she couldn't legally be denied an education either. Granted, this girl's mother was a total role model for me because she was super aggressive in getting ALL subjects (including the arts and PE) taught to this girl in the home. And God bless her, she graduated high school in a small private and shockingly normal ceremony. This was in the 70's and 80's when most people would have institutionalized a child like her.

    I see a lot of parallels with this situation. A child with severe allergies and a child with a compromised heart and immune system are similar in that they have to live in a very controlled environment where they can't deal with other peoples' kids being sloppy about hygiene or sneaking snacks. It's really sad that no one has proposed a solution that doesn't deprive the girl of her right to an education and does not place an unreasonable burden on the rest of the children.

    March 30, 2011 at 12:29 am |
  23. Bob

    Oh and one last point: there are plenty of other 'deadly allergies' out there just as 'common' (which is to say: RARE) as deadly peanut allergy. For instance, there are deadly dairy, grain, fish, shellfish, and even corn and rice allergies out there! So should we just ban all of those from schools and make sure all the kids cannot touch or eat any of those foods? So what will be left for the other 99.9% of students to eat? Those little tubes of concentrate astronauts eat?

    And YES, all of those allergies exist and all of them are just as "common" (which is to say: RARE) in deadly form as deadly peanut allergy. The hype over supposed deadly peanut allergies being anything but vanishingly rare is just hysteria and urban legend. DO SOME RESEARCH.

    March 30, 2011 at 12:19 am |
  24. J Carter

    The school should accommodate her within reason.
    Remember the story of the "boy in a bubble" in that case the boy was in a bubble but they didn't expect everything around him to be in a bubble so he can be normal.
    The parents need to teach this child to protect herself, someday she will need to be in public places and everyone won't be cleaned and brushed for her safety.

    March 30, 2011 at 12:14 am |
  25. Bob

    I think this is disgusting.

    This is exactly the sort of 'tyranny of the minority' so rampant in today's society. We've got an entire school bending over backward and inconveniencing themselves over ONE kid with a fluke allergy. If your kid is so allergic they can't go out in public then home school them! Helicopter parenting and the victim complex so ingrained into the baby boomer generation and their offspring!

    As for the "deadly peanut allergy" it is EXCEEDINGLY RARE, on the order of .01% of the population (NOT 1%, .01%!). All of the parents of kids with supposedly the same type of 'deadly peanut allergy' commenting here are full of BS. Your kid has a mild form of that allergy no more 'deadly' than the common pet dander allergy most of you are so dismissive of, and the point stands: are you going to require full showers and hospital scrubs for every student so no one is exposed to minor allergies? No? Then hush.

    Incidentally, peanut allergy of deadly severity was even rarer 20+ years ago. Do some research. At one time it was practically unheard of, on the order of 1 in 5 million or so. Science is currently unable to explain why it is more common today (although still extremely rare). Pollution and processed foods is the current theory, but the media doesn't want to talk about that. Do some research...oh and quit expecting society to bend over backwards for YOUR problems!

    March 30, 2011 at 12:04 am |
    • Lorenzo

      "Tyranny over minority"? A little bit dramatic isn't it?
      I always made mild fun of the peanut allergy thing, but stopped when my 3yo daughter had a severe allergic reaction. No, we didn't feed her junk food, pre-processed stuff, etc. She has always been fed very healthy and fresh foods. No idea why the allergy developed.
      Her preschool is a no nut zone which I appreciate. No one complains, because the families try to support each other.
      It's hard for me to understand why people would protest this way. Even when I made fun of the allergy due to my ignorance, I still would have been respectful of others wishes.
      This isn't about politics, it's about our neighbors and their children.
      I hope the protesting parents do some soul searching.

      March 30, 2011 at 11:44 pm |
  26. Lisa

    So this is what humanity looks like in the 21st century... It is profoundly sad that your right to eat a peanut butter sandwich ranks higher than a child's life. Is it truly so much to ask? I feel exceptionally proud to live in Canada, where all schools are peanut free. That seems to speak volumes given the attitudes posted here.

    March 30, 2011 at 12:01 am |
  27. piper

    While I think protesting this young girl is an awful way to go about solving this problem I do believe it is this girls parents to teach her to be responsible for HERSELF she is going to have to learn to fuction in a world with peanuts and it is better for her to learn early then late. These parents need to take of the baby gloves and teach their daughter to protect herself and not rely on other to do it for her. RIDICULOS FOR THE SCHOOL TO BAN PEANUTS FOR 1 GIRL!

    March 29, 2011 at 11:53 pm |
  28. Dave B

    I am completely disgusted that parents are so self centered and uncompassionate that they find the time to actually craft an argument against hand washing and mouth rinsing. SHAME! SHAME! SHAME!

    I say ask the kids what they want to do- screw the parents. Ask your sons and daughters if they would be willing to wash their hands an extra time a day to keep a classmate from suffering a potentially life threatening allergic reaction that could kill them. I would bet most if them would be fine with making consessions.

    March 29, 2011 at 11:51 pm |
  29. Will S

    There's obviously more to this story than CNN is reporting. According to the UK press the hand-washing routine is taking upwards of 30 minutes of class time and other kids in the school with similar allergies aren't being accommodated as strictly. Florida schools are graded and funded based on standardized test performance, so having 10 hours less of instruction per month might not be welcomed by some parents.

    March 29, 2011 at 11:50 pm |
  30. Jed

    Our kid had severe allergies. He is currently undergoing NAET treatments and everything is clearing up. It is the weirdest thing and I was skeptical at first, but it is really working. You can cure food allergies without meds. Look into it.

    March 29, 2011 at 11:49 pm |
  31. barnyfife

    The selfishness of the picketing parents shows that they have no parenting skills. People like this should not have children.

    March 29, 2011 at 11:45 pm |
  32. Logikflux

    No special treatment for this child. Teach the child what to do and not to do, people have done so for years before this article. You can't insulate everyone from everything. What if other children are allergic to animals, do kids with cats and dogs have to lint roll before coming to class? she should not have to be home schooled, but the teachers, nurse, and administration should be blazingly aware this child has this issue, and be prepared to act if necessary.

    March 29, 2011 at 11:44 pm |
  33. Debbie G

    Those parents should be ashamed of themselves. I certainly hope their children do not "take after" these horrible excuses for role models. What a small price to pay to help save another kid's life. One of these comments below actually complains that his kid shouldn't be denied a PBJ sandwich when really, it just means not at school – the kids can still eat them at home. That's just great, teach your kids not to go out of his or her way to save another person's life. Just despicable.

    March 29, 2011 at 11:33 pm |
  34. Jen

    I can't be sure but here is my theory. It is cheaper for the school to make accomidations for the child because the goverment helps pay for it. But if the school decides that the child must find different schooling than that school has to pay for the full price of alternative schooling for the child. With the child being so young the school would be responsible for ALL of her years of schooling which could add up.

    March 29, 2011 at 11:25 pm |
  35. Jackie Wu

    Can I picket to remove all the other students?

    March 29, 2011 at 11:23 pm |
  36. Pam

    This sick child needs to be taught to not take food from anyone at school and to keep her hands out of her mouth and face. What happens when she goes to Walmart and someone with a PBJ sandwich smears some on the shopping cart or touches a food container that is brought to her house? The world is not going to care two cents about her allergies. Nobody likes to be forced to subscribe to a hygienic regimen. Also peanut butter is high in nutrition and
    relatively cheap. In these times the cost factor for lunch is a consideration. Parents have the right to feed their kids without interference.

    Talk about the tyranny of the few.

    March 29, 2011 at 11:21 pm |
  37. JD

    It is naive at best to expect children to be 100% compliant with the hand washing and mouth rinsing routine. Even the most willing child will not comply 100% of the time. It's just not going to happen. Anyone who spends all day with kids knows that. These are KIDS. Kids forget and have other things on their minds. And doubtlessly, kids outnumber adults in the classroom so any notion that the adults are going to monitor every single child all the time is also naive. So what happens when a child innocently fails to complete the require routine and this allergic child is badly injured or, heaven forbid, dies as a result? Why do this allergic child's parents insist on the collective fantasy that nothing bad is going to happen? It's not realistic and the outcome is going to be nasty for all concerned.

    March 29, 2011 at 11:11 pm |
  38. Cuz

    I agree it's not fair that she has the allergy, but lots of genetic issues aren't fair. It's not fair that some kids have to wear glasses or have heart conditions. Yep, we're all grown ups here and realize that life isn't fair.

    There's a point where mixing in with the general population just isn't going to be safe if you have a really significant issue. We can't "de-peanut" the world for her. It's neither practical nor is it good for the other students (who benefit greatly from eating it.)

    Have her eat separately, even go to a separate classroom if that's what needs to happen for her to have an education (she still has a right to education!). But not every kid can mainstream, and if she's requiring everyone to change just for her, sounds like her allergy is too severe for her to successfully mainstream at school.

    March 29, 2011 at 11:03 pm |
  39. Peanut allergic Father

    I hope that the children of all those that protested will be expelled if they ever do anything to disrupt a class, or prevent someone from learning.

    After all, that's what they're asking for.

    March 29, 2011 at 11:00 pm |
  40. osage

    It seems that there is no compation or tolerance left in the great USA Everyone will have to make some consessions at somoe point in their lives and there is nothing wrong with teaching children to accomodate another classmate

    March 29, 2011 at 10:39 pm |
  41. Murph

    As a parent of a child with the life threatening variety of this allergy, I have made no "special requirements" of anyone at my child's school. I don't demand other people to participate in mutual misery. This "new breed" of the super-weak baby-children is sensationalized by helicopter parents. Boo.

    March 29, 2011 at 10:34 pm |
  42. Revjim

    Let me start by saying that the behavior of the picketing parents is abhorrent. Bringing your concerns to the school is fine but the fact that you're pulling out signs and protesting is pathetic.

    What I am surprised with is the parents of the 6 year-old. Would you trust 29 other 6 yr. olds with life of your child? I certainly would not.

    My sister teaches 3rd grade and I always hear the stories of the horrible behavior ofnot only her students but their parents, as well.
    She's had a 8 yr old bring pot to school.
    Another one of her 8 yr girls wore thong panties to school. Do you think the parents of kids like these would follow the rules on
    peanuts.

    I would definitely home school until the kids had more contol over their own actions.

    March 29, 2011 at 10:21 pm |
  43. Reasonable

    The problem is that the government is forcing the parents and their kids into this situation. They have no other option because the money is taken from them. Otherwise they wouldn't have to picket, they could just take their kids elsewhere.

    If my kids had the allergy I would home school them and protect them. Not expect someone else to do it for me! My kids are going to eat peanut butter and if your kid dies because you're an idiot, then that is simply natural selection...

    March 29, 2011 at 10:18 pm |
  44. Bob L.

    You certainly want to teach children to be considerate of others, but the main burden of responsibility here should be on the child and her parents and perhaps the teacher.

    What happens if a classmate gets peanut butter on his/her sleeve and it results in some sort of allergic incident? Do his/her parents then get sued for damages or medical bills or whatever?

    Kicking the girl out of school is a bit extreme, but the parents might do better trying to look for alternative solutions and the school should be open to them.

    Maybe an aide could be hired to assist in looking after the girl while in school. That's what has to be done sometimes with other disabilities.

    March 29, 2011 at 10:14 pm |
  45. TH

    'annoyed' makes a very good point about the actual time it takes to wash the hands of over a hundred students. We aren't talking about 2 seconds, we are talking about 2 seconds per child. 60 minutes of educational time to wash hands.

    March 29, 2011 at 10:05 pm |
  46. mary george

    I also have a son with severe allergies to nuts, eggs, seafood. I teach him to be vigilant. To use wipes to clean the surfaces that could be contaminated before use. I also teach him that he has to learn to live in this world and not expect the whole world to stop what they do. I do not think that the rules will make it 100% safe as it is kids who are doing the washing. If it were my child i would home school until a point the my child could be his own advocate. To the parent of the child, I feel your pain and fear. we have had a family member die of peanut reaction and take this very seriously but the accidental ingestion happened at home. I think the picketing sends a bad message to our children who are watching – I do not care about others if it makes my life more difficult. People, please learn, educate, compromise and give consideration to others.

    March 29, 2011 at 10:03 pm |
  47. Kitty

    I will join the others who are suspicious that the full story isn't being told here. Most people are happy to make accommodations to protect the life of a child with a potentially life-threatening allergy. Hand-washing and keeping peanuts out of the classroom seem like fair requests. Even banning peanuts from the school is understandable especially with children this age, as most elementary-age kids do not yet understand what death is and may not be careful enough without guidance.

    The presence of the peanut-sniffing dogs seems a little much regardless of everything else, though. Either the parents are overprotective, the school is going to extremes in an attempt to seem progressive, or this child's allergy is dangerous to the point where being in public at all is a bad idea. I am not enough of an expert to say if this child is needlessly being turned into a pariah, or if all of this is really needed for her safety. If the latter is true, I would say this is about the point where, for any other disability, the school would be considering some kind of semi-isolated special education. It's easier to police a small environment than a large one, especially for a danger as grave as this one.

    And to those speaking ill of parents whose children eat lunches including peanut butter, shame on you. There are many reasons a child's lunch from home may contain peanut butter. The primary reason: they are probably from a low-income family where peanut butter is an economical choice that the child actually likes to eat. It's easy to pick another option if you have money to spare at the end of the month. Many families don't have that kind of choice.

    March 29, 2011 at 9:36 pm |
  48. Doug

    Jeff Williams – Did you bother asking your kids if they would mind making these accommodations? Probably not. And if you did you would just steer their responses in the direction you would like. Most likely your kids don't care. Just like the kids in that school don't care. These kids are innocent little creatures free of bias and hate until jerks like you get a hold of them. I have kids and I would encourage them to make every effort to make that girl feel welcome and accepted. Treat others the way you wish to be treated. It is a simple concept to live by.

    March 29, 2011 at 9:32 pm |
  49. MASher

    This sickens me. How could any parents be this ignorant and hateful?
    If someone were disabled and confined to a wheelchair, requiring the school to install ramps, would the parents complain that their children were losing time climbing the slightly longer ramp, or getting less exercise from climbing a ramp than they would from climbing steeper stairs?
    Many schools without issues this severe have voluntarily become peanut-free. Why can't a school WITH this issue follow their example?
    I learned basic hygiene in preschool, without any medical reasons behind it. What problem do these parents have with cleanliness? Do they want dirty, sick children?
    While I understand that these parents don't want their children to have to suffer inconveniences for one child, this seems like an extreme overreaction. The girl has to learn how to live in a world with peanuts, but basic precautions while she is still young and learning are not too much to ask! Simple courtesy, people.
    Final note: Around that age, one thing that was impressed into me in school was the value of the Golden Rule – "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." If these kids were sick or needed some help, would this little girl be willing to help them after the way she has been treated?
    If you want common decency, a good place to start is extending it to others.

    March 29, 2011 at 9:12 pm |
  50. Steve

    Response to Jeff Williams and David:
    Are you for real? Yes I am a parent of two kids 15 and 8 and yes I would teach my children to alter their behavior if that meant reducing the chances of harming someone else. we don't live in a vacuum and teaching your kids how to tolerate and have have compassion for others with disabilities (yes, peanut allergy is legally included as a disability). You are not denying your child anything of significance. Your child is not denied of PB&J in the absolute; just that it be controlled in a public environment. If my kids like to play with knives, should I allow them to take their knives into the school classroom with your kids in it? Of course not!! That one child can be yours one day. God forbid but should your child ever become ill and others display the careless selfish attitude about your child as you just demonstrated. would you still have the same attitude. Grow up and be an adult by teaching your child compassion and humility. You may find that your child may actually grow up into a better adult than how you turned out.

    David – I can't even comprehend the stupidity of your comment. Who exactly are you to define what the enviroment should be like? Last I checked, the name David wasn't an authoritative reference to how and what our environment should be shaped and defined.

    People, how is it that this has even become an issue?? All that is being requested is that these children wash their hands more often (which they should be doing anyways for THEIR health as well) and limit what types of food is brought to classrooms. How is anyone's right infringed with this? Have we all gone mad and so selfish that we no longer have any sense of humanity towards other people? Even rats treat each other better than this. God have mercy on our nation!!!

    March 29, 2011 at 9:08 pm |
  51. SteveInChicago

    This is ridiculous. The accommodations that need to be made are so mild. The student has an incurable medical condition with potential life threatening consequences, but if they can lead a normal life if everyone makes a few minor concessions. I wonder how different the reaction would be if the student needed special care because of seizures, cancer or a traumatic brain injury.

    But picketing because you can't send in certain snacks and kids have to wash their hands/rinse mouths? These parents are sending a terrible message to their children.

    March 29, 2011 at 8:55 pm |
  52. Dave-O

    This story has been out awhile. As I understand it the school is peanut-free and the parents have talked to the school about the time it takes to follow the hand-wash/mouthwash procedures. The allergy is so severe that even when the kids go outside they must all rewash their hands when they come back in. The ADA is for reasonable disabilities. Unfortunately, this allergy is so bad that the a normal public school is not going to work, but the student has other options (just like my blind niece). The liability, in this case is too great, but I am sure their are other cases where kids with peanut allergies can go through the public school system with almost no problems whatsoever.

    March 29, 2011 at 8:53 pm |
  53. Jeff William's Fan

    I'm with Jeff Williams. I will not alter my child's behavior for another child. For example, if my child was walking down the street and came upon a handicapped kid who had fallen out of their wheelchair- who am I to tell my child to stop and help them up? They'll do whatever they want and I'll stand behind them. I hope they wont start beating the handicapped child helplessly. But if they do, I'm certainly not going to tell them how to behave. This is American- people are allowed to do whatever they want irrespective of how it might affect others. And if there is one thing I will not allow the liberal-biased education system to teach my kids- its to be tolerate to others.

    March 29, 2011 at 8:34 pm |
  54. Amy

    I am sorry....people are worried about taking the civil liberties of kids because of their right to eat peanut butter and NOT worried about the civil liberties being taken away from a child not allowed to attend school???????? Which kid will be affected worse later in life??? The kid who cannot get an education OR the kid who for a SMALL percentage of their life, cannot eat peanut butter? I am thinking that a kid who learned that life is not fair and they cannot eat peanut butter in one place in their life may ACTUALLY benefit a kid so he doesn't end up like these parents. I keep seeing people say we should not bend for them, why cannot the other side say that...their are the ones with something at stake...their kids! The kid denied school....that would be a tragedy.

    AND NO I would NEVER think people should make the world peanut free. Only schools, people poorly educated would be a bad thing in the long run. People fought for prayer out of schools, why not peanuts? ONLY one of those could ACTUALLY directly affect a kid. And it ain't prayer!

    March 29, 2011 at 8:32 pm |
  55. Mark

    One of my twin 16 year old daughters is severely allergic to all peanut products. When she entered public elementary school here in Orange County CA, the district was gracious and supportive. We trained her teachers and the support staff in the use of rescue meds at our cost and provided the necessary supplies. This was not a big deal. Its about being responsible instead of being a victim.
    I continue to be amazed by the people that are worried about compromise. This is about life and death for some. the only question I would ask is "what if it was your child"?
    Our thanks to all that have been supportive. This ceased to be an issue by 7th grade – everyone managed it better. however, small children need help and support.

    March 29, 2011 at 8:31 pm |
  56. Kelley

    The real question is why so many sickly kids are being born in recent years. ADHD, asthma, allergies, autism. When I was in school the kids were healthy, active, and robust–very few, if any, sickly children from year to year. Not letting kids eat PB&J for school lunch is ridiculous. I understand the parents' frustration–enough is enough already with everyone having to bend over backwards for a few–the sickly kids shouldn't be out and about in the world until they can manage on their own (the REAL world) without inconveniencing everyone. A person who is different needs to learn to adapt to the real world, not vice versa. These parents of sickly kids are coddling them and it's setting them up for failure as adults in the real world. They should be taught to be independent and self-sufficient, not weak and helpless and dependent on everyone else to bend over backwards. I don't think sickly children should be bullied or made miserable, but they should be taught to fit themselves into society, not expect society to revolve around them–it's how life is going to be for them in the real world for their entire lives.

    March 29, 2011 at 8:20 pm |
  57. Michael

    The parents picketing should be ashamed of themselves.

    March 29, 2011 at 8:20 pm |
  58. Amy

    I love the stance that they won't "compromise" their child's behavior. One one side someone cannot eat peanut butter for a small percentage of their life (just in school!) and on the other the kid dies. REALLY this one makes you think it is a compromise?? Seriously do the math on the percentage of time we are in school in life. Cannot eat Peanut Butter the other 90+percent of their lives!? Talking about people taking care of themselves. I guess we don't teach kids today to just wait for their own time for peanut butter. We MUST teach them they have to eat it any time they want? Is this values??? I would MUCH rather tell my kid "Hey at school you cannot eat it. At home you can." It is important to teach kids that they cannot always get what they want too. This could lead into talks about making choices and how the affect others. I love how DRAMATIC people are about the right to eat peanut butter! But not seeing the other side where DEATH is concerned?!

    And YES I would compromise my childs behavior for another. It is called teaching "common courtesy". I do all the time with my son with Autism. He doesn't go to some places because he could disrupt, we know where he can be. I also don't attend birthday parties, day care, lunch at others houses, YES I compromise. But come on....school? We cannot take that away from kids really! No one is asking to cut peanuts forever from your childs life...seriously folks....could you imagine a child dying because you felt it was your kids right??? Really think, it is very scary! Plus aren't we DRIVING EVERYONE NUTS with the "Wash Hands to protect from the Flu" why not for food allergies? No one is taking offense to washing their hands for that.

    The problem is people don't realize how dangerous it is, they have never seen it. It is ABSOLUTLEY TERRIFYING! A perfectly sweet kid rapidly swelling up and dying before your eyes.

    It breaks your hearts to not give a kid a peanut butter sandwich but it doesn't affect you that a kid could die in minutes?? SO SO BACKWARDS!

    March 29, 2011 at 8:18 pm |
  59. Ken

    To all the parents on here that are showing no concern for the health of the little girl.
    If you can not endure a minor inconvenience to save a childs life by not having peanut butter at school than you are all heartless, inconsiderate and "insert own swear words". You are all so wrong it is a shame you have kids of your own and you should all be embarrassed for yourselves and for what you are teaching your children.
    This is a life we are talking about. She has to go to school. You can have your peanuts at home, at the ballpark etc, just not at her school.
    If it were your kid you would feel differently. If you have any feelings at all.
    Eating peanut butter near her is the same as shooting a gun at her. It will kill her. Show some class people!!

    March 29, 2011 at 8:18 pm |
  60. Lynda Hernandez

    Are you serious... Please parents teach your children to have consideration for other peoples safety. Why would you even spend the time trying to sabotage another child's education. I would hope that they would consider if that was their child. Would you want your child robbed of an education because of an allergy. Its not like this child is contagious...We need to teach our children compassion and consideration.

    March 29, 2011 at 8:18 pm |
  61. Al

    This is insane! My child has a peanut allergy, and the parents and children at his school have been nothing but helpful. Parents call us before sending snacks to school, and children are sure to sit at a different table if they think they might have peanut products I'm their lunch. These people sound like the type that would kick someones crutches out from under them.

    March 29, 2011 at 8:17 pm |
  62. Chuck from Somerset Wi

    If there's not much more to this story behind the scenes, shame on the parents. Where's the tolerance?

    March 29, 2011 at 8:17 pm |
  63. chrystian

    Are you kidding me. First of all the parents are blowing this way out of proportion with this protesting. Also why should this child get special treatment, should I keep animals or clothing away from my child or neice or nephew. If my child was going to the same school as this child I would never alter or change my childs habits. I think personally that the school system should take the child out of the classroom or the parents should home-school the poor child.

    March 29, 2011 at 8:15 pm |
  64. Liz

    Handwashing is an issue? Really?

    Instead of making this an issue of "missed learning", use it as a teaching opportunity. My elementary school went peanut free in the early 90s, to accommodate to a student with severe peanut allergies. I remember going to a presentation that TAUGHT us about allergies, epi-pens, what we could and couldn't bring in our lunches, and what to do in case of an allergic reaction.

    The student was NOT segregated, and ate lunch with other students in the same cafeteria, even at the same table. We were taught to show compassion and respect, and still got to eat whatever we wanted at home.

    It makes me sad that people are actually picketing over this... It boils down to pure selfishness and ignorance on the part of the parents that are picketing. If you don't want to "deny" your child a peanut butter sandwich, home school them.

    As for the young girl and her parents: Good luck, I sincerely wish you the best, and I hope that things turn out in your favour.

    March 29, 2011 at 8:07 pm |
  65. Splum

    Jordan, dead on! Some reason, at last.

    March 29, 2011 at 8:00 pm |
  66. Spen

    "what happens when she's in the real world"

    She is SIX years old! Do you think she even fully understands the 'real world'.

    Only in Florida is someone being required to wash their hands considered being "put out". Civilized people wash their hands regardless of being required to do so.

    And comparing a deadly peanut allergy to dog dander? You realize one kills and one doesn't. That's not a legit comparison in the slightest.

    March 29, 2011 at 7:55 pm |
  67. Barbara Lynn

    First, Angie Welch, one of the commentators, is illiterate and she says she's an elementary school teacher. Lord help us! She said, "Her
    school HAS WENT peanut free. She can't spell ridiculous or inconvenient, and she is commenting on anything.

    Second, these parents are SO selfish and are teaching their children to be selfish, as well. How can you make a young child a pariah when it's hard
    enough to be different. How hard is it to show a bit of humanity and compassion and not further isolate this student. A little work on the part of the other parents, and this poor child could be a full member of the class and not be home schooled. Shame on these selfish, lazy parents!!!!

    March 29, 2011 at 7:51 pm |
  68. pinggpanther

    Wow!!! I didn't know it took a village to let a child die of a peanut allergy while their classmates watch in horror.

    When did tolerance and acceptance become a sign of weakness in this society?

    March 29, 2011 at 7:41 pm |
  69. rathionalconservative

    Although I do sympathize with the family of the allergic child, a public school balances the rights of the individual and the group.

    I have been in schools that accomodated children with life-threatening allergies and have never seen this kind of draconian protocol implemented. A line has been crossed. The group's rights have been prioritized lower than the individual's rights in this case; in other words, things are out of balance in the individual's favor in this case.

    I would be protesting as a parent of one of the kids in the class as well.

    March 29, 2011 at 7:09 pm |
  70. D Ellis

    A class of first graders cannot possibly care for a classmate with a life-threatening disorder. Even should the class be well-trained (and extremely lucky), what about multi-class situations and field trips? By putting their daughter into this situation the parents are unnecessarily risking their daughter's life. The abundance of ignorant sentimentality on these boards is absurd.

    I see a lot of strawman PB&J arguments. It has nothing to do with inconvenience. They don't want their 6 year old child to be responsible for the life of someone else's child. Is that a smart decision on the part of the allergic child's parents or the idiotic school super? This is a oncoming lawsuit and the other parents know it.

    Some argue that the parents pay taxes. The majority of society doesn't have school-age children kids but pays taxes. Many who send children to private schools still have to subsidize others' public education via property and sales taxes.

    ADA requires REASONABLE accomodation. Asking 6 and 8 year olds to be responsible for someone's life is not reasonable. While washing hands and brushing teeth are admirable skills to TRY to teach a 6 year old, the reality is considerably different. A lot of little kids are stinky on the best of days. The girl should be home schooled.

    March 29, 2011 at 7:07 pm |
  71. Tiffany

    No where did it say that children cannot bring peanut butter for lunch. They simply ask that hands (that have touched nuts) to be washed, oh the horror. The kids are in 1st grade. If the parents were not making it an issue the other children in the class would not have a problem w/ it. And to the one picket sign that read about "knowing your kids rights", apparently the parents of the persecuted child does know her rights, and thats why they are out there acting like spoiled, petulant children. What a great example they are showing their kids..

    Those parents should feel horrid for ganging up on a 1st grader.

    Maybe they should take THEIR kids out so they can eat whatever they want. (and not wash their hands, I guess, since its such an affront to them..)

    My daughter's class has students that have peanut allergies. They asked that we not send snacks that contain nuts and guess what?? We just buy snacks w/o peanuts (I know,its rocket science).. I do not want to teach my child that regardless of the needs of others in her community its her "right" to have a PB& J sandwich.. Its seriously not even worth worrying about.. Peanut butter is not that greatest thing you can feed your kid anyway.

    If it was your kid you would not be so cavalier about it.

    March 29, 2011 at 6:44 pm |
  72. Calighast

    What? Protesting against good hygiene? I don't get it. Who in their right mind would........oh wait, I see; it's in Florida. Never mind.

    March 29, 2011 at 6:43 pm |
  73. M

    Protesting a child that has allergies. Absolutely ridiculous. I have a child with peanut allergies that goes to a school with other children that have peanut allergies and the school accomodates by having a peanut-free lunch table the kids can sit at. These protesting parents are whining about their kids having to wash their hands and face. If Im not mistaken thats called being clean. But maybe these parents are more concerned about feeding their kids PB&J than cleanliness.

    March 29, 2011 at 6:23 pm |
  74. rayp1977

    what about latex, i guess we are all supposed to go without underwear as well.

    March 29, 2011 at 6:15 pm |
  75. Zebula

    God forbid children should wash their hands. Your brats can eat peanut butter at home if you think they're gonna die without a daily dose. Whatever.

    March 29, 2011 at 5:52 pm |
  76. gloria

    Do people understand anyone can go to bed one night and end with a severe allergy the next day. I was 45 when i got hit with a severe allergy. I can not have anything with red lake #40. My brother was 47 when he became allergic to shellfish ate it his entire life and now can not. The parents need to think about this because it can just happen with out a warning.

    March 29, 2011 at 5:40 pm |
  77. Tough Conservative

    Somebody whose allergies are that bad should not go out in society and expect society to change for them. This doesn't sound like reasonable accomodation to me, and in any event your allergies are YOUR problem. When it comes right down to it, I don't owe you any duty to avoid possessing or consuming peanuts because of the danger it poses to YOU. Your problem is your problem, not my problem.

    March 29, 2011 at 5:12 pm |
  78. futuremom

    Bravo to this school for helping to protect this girl by instituting rules that not only keep her safe but ultimately make all students a little healthier!

    As for these parents who are picketing, I would love to know what would happen if their children were ever diagnosed with a life-threatening allergy. Would they pull their kids from school, take away social opportunities? Or would they try to make that child's life as normal as possible despite the difficulty of living with an allergy?

    Shame on these parents for being such bullies. It's a sad statement on our society that adults will target a child because keeping that child safe is an "inconvenience."

    March 29, 2011 at 5:10 pm |
  79. Marie

    Coddling kids with peanut allergies isn't a good solution. Providing a peanut-free environment for her at school is not going to prepare her for the realities of life. She is going to have a job (hopefully), going to have a social life (maybe), and at no point is she going to have the luxury of controlling her environment.

    Parents need to stop expecting the world to bow to their needs. It's a hard reality, but it IS reality. It does the children a great disservice to raise them to believe that the world should shape to their needs.

    March 29, 2011 at 5:02 pm |
  80. Mara

    Jennifer wrote on March 24th, 2011 3:46 pm ET – Secition 504 of the 1974 Rehabilitation Act mandates a free and appropriate public education for every child of school age with a disability. IDEA further mandates that this must be done in the least restrictive environment. This issue really isn't up for debate. It is the law.-–

    So you are saying that restricting every other child from eating nuts or products made from nuts is the law and that it's the 'least restrictive environment'? For the girl, sure. I bet the other kids won't agree and are going to find it *very* restrictive. But then again, forcing everyone else to cater to the needs of one single person seems to be norm these days.

    March 29, 2011 at 4:38 pm |
  81. J

    If there are so many children with food allergies, why can't we have a separate class for them?

    March 29, 2011 at 4:23 pm |
  82. Katie

    Unfortunately, the Edgewater area is not known for being particularly accepting and tolerant. Kudos to the teachers and school for sticking up for this student. Those teachers make me proud to be from that area.

    March 29, 2011 at 3:55 pm |
  83. James

    I heard about this situation last week and continue to be disgusted by the selfish and self-centered parents who are picking on a little girl because she has allergies. Their own children aren't being harmed by this situation in the slightest. The worst that will happen is their children will be "inconvenienced". Whatever happened to a sense of compassion for kids? These characters don't care unless it's *their* child.

    March 29, 2011 at 3:44 pm |
  84. C to the J

    "Seriously 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?!?!"

    If my child had a deathly allergic reaction to peanuts I wouldn't put their life in the hands of a bunch of elementary school children.

    March 29, 2011 at 3:07 pm |
  85. Amy

    @Jeff – give him a PB&J for dinner–llok, no deprivation. It's not as if PB&J is just an 'at-school' food. And no one's asking you to compromise your kid's behavior for another child's behavior–they're asking you to be considerate of another child's LIFE.
    As to those of you who blame her parents, that child is 6 years old. Her parents have taught her about being careful, not eating peanuts, etc...but she"s SIX. At age 6, children regularly make bad choices–we teach them not to cross the street without looking, but they forget. This is why schools have crossing guards. We teach them not to run with scissors, yet there they go. This is why little kids get safety scissors at school. Even when we correct (and/or punish) them, they still make bad decisions where safety is concerned. Do you expect this particular 6 year old to be perfect? In a few years, she will be able to handle school and her allergy without incident–just as we will all trust our children to cross the street without an adult. Right now, she needs help.

    March 29, 2011 at 3:01 pm |
  86. mtatom

    Somehow I feel we're not getting the whole story. Certainly washing and rinsing can't be the issue alone. I do, however, favor "sacrificing" the few to save the many. If a child has "special' needs that disrupt or take valuable time away from others, that child should be removed to a facility for such children so that the rest (majority) of the class can move on without unnecessary delays. Home schooling would be appropriate in this case. I feel for the child, but I feel for the "children" even more.

    March 29, 2011 at 2:54 pm |
  87. Laura

    Oh, I'm sorry- is washing your hands and perhaps rinsing your mouth with water or mouthwash a terrible inconvenience after eating? My mistake- I thought that was basic hygiene. Sorry Edgewater, FL.

    March 29, 2011 at 2:49 pm |
  88. GonzoG

    I had a similar situation at my daughter's school about 8 years ago. The school sent letters that stated the school was a ZERO TOLERANCE PEANUT FREE ZONE. Students found with peanut products would be sent home and suspended or expelled.
    Furthermore, we had to ensure before she returned to school that she had showered, changed clothes, and brushed her teeth after consuming peanuts in any form.

    And after all of this, we had to sign that we could be finanicially and/or criminally liable if a student had a reaction to peanuts that could be traced to us or our child.

    RE-FRICKIN-DICULUS!

    March 29, 2011 at 2:29 pm |
  89. Aleth

    This is very sad. I used to teach a quadriplegic in a 2nd grade class. She participated in many facets of her 2nd grade class. By participating she slowed down the "academic" process, but what she taught in life lessons was far more important to those children. They saw the school embrace her and so that was all they new. They treated her with respect and kindness. Something she very much needed given her circumstances. I only hope these parents can somehow change their focus off of themselves and onto this little girl and what she needs to be able to participate in a monumental part of her life.

    March 29, 2011 at 2:29 pm |
  90. Victor Cardoan

    This is ridiculous. I wonder how many of the concerned parents posting here rant against the nanny state while defending it when it comes to their kids. I'm sorry this girl has such severe allergies, but that does not mean that she has a right to inconvenience everyone around her. The Americans with Disabilities Act calls for "reasonable accomodations" I don't see this as reasonable or particularly feasible. Do teachers now have to monitor each child to make sure that their hands are washed and their mouths rinsed? How much time does that take? How much of the school year are kids losing over this?

    Special treatment does not help this girl. She needs to learn to live with her allergy. Eventually she will find herself in the real world. A place where she will have very little control over her surroundings. What will she do then?

    March 29, 2011 at 2:28 pm |
  91. Don Breedle

    First of all, PB&J is good. Don't laugh.

    Second of all, recently a medical research paper reported how, using traditional desensitization techniques, even severe peanut allergies can be overcome. The only novel approach is that they use microamounts of the allargen more often than prior protocols. So, the severely allergic children need to go through this regimen. Case solved.

    March 29, 2011 at 2:21 pm |
  92. Cool Ranch

    @April V.
    Oooo... a cut down from a canadian. How... un-Canadian. Thought you people we're polite.

    So. Not all Americans are disgusting... this is a clearlySouthern thing. I called it before I opened the article.

    BTW_ Canadians use more energy and generate more waste per capita than the US. I guess being ineffectual second-hand Limey "subjects" provides good cover for it.

    March 29, 2011 at 2:19 pm |
  93. Raymond A. Patrone

    The law in this case – Individuals With Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) requires public schools to make modifications or accommodations for students who may need them and provide an opportunity for the child to get an education in the least restrictive environment. In the case of a student who has a food allergy, the school is making reasonable modifications and accommodations for the child. In our school, each year, we have a number of students who have food allergies. These cases are handled without a lot of complaining and certainly not from parents. In my opinion, it isn't too much to ask nor is it unreasonable. I believe all parents must teach their children tolerance and this case is a good opportunity to practice this much-needed skill. We teach the meaning of empathy and being respectful to other students; parents need to reinforce these character traits, as well.

    March 29, 2011 at 2:18 pm |
  94. Howie

    I'd like to see actual medical proof of the allergy. 99% of these supposed allergies are nothing more than a sensitivity that will be outgrown, and is not in any way life threatening. Truly dangerous peanut allergies are so rare as to be statistically non-existent. Unfortunately this is the new parental paranoia du jour. Kid gets a hive after eating peanut butter, and the parents hyper-react and declare their child to be in immediate danger of death. It is nonsense. The only way to confirm any kind of allergy is to have a direct oral challenge (eat the food) in the presence of a doctor, and then have a test for the IgE protein antibody. It is about time someone stood up against this foolish paranoia that is robbing so many of children of one of the most nutritious foods kids actually enjoy eating. If you do some looking, you will find that there are many precautionary hospitalizations due to peanut allergies, but not one death – ever. There was a report of a teenage girl in Canada who supposedly died after kissing her boyfriend who had eaten peanut butter, but it was later discovered that it was a shellfish allergy that killed her – nothing to do with peanuts.

    March 29, 2011 at 2:15 pm |
  95. RN

    It's great that you are all about if one child is sick then everyone is sick mantra. Asking everyone in school to give up peanuts or to never have ANY RESIDUAL peanut product because of 1 child seems unfair. Here is the real problem...if the little girl does come in contact with a peanut or a residual peanut product and the child dies...we blame WHO? The school? The child who may have infected the girl? The parents of the child? Do they ALL go to jail and have that on their conscious? You people don't get it...yes, we ALL understand the Disabilities Act...we get it but why subject the entire school to one child's disability? Maybe create a school with children who have severe allergies so they don't feel left out....a special school for special needs.

    March 29, 2011 at 2:02 pm |
  96. Tij

    I am very allergic to perfume, deodarant, and its smell. The allergic reaction can be life threatening. Therefore, I require everyone to not wear deodorant or any type of perfume.

    March 29, 2011 at 1:57 pm |
  97. Rob

    As the child gets older she'll have to learn to manage her life by protecting herself accordingly, but she's a child, and deserves a chance at a normal education in the school. What happened to basic human decency? If anyone on here or those picketing had this situation for their child, they would want the world for them. I cannot beleive that human beings are this horrid that they can't do a little extra work to help a child. This story really bothers me to my core. For the record, I'm a right wing tea party type and I believe in freedom but with that comes a willingness to help your fellow man. Come on people!

    March 29, 2011 at 1:57 pm |
  98. Pete

    An awful lot of people are posting in ignorance here.

    The "No Dogs" sign is about the peanut-sniffing dogs that are brought into the school. More children have allergies to animals than to peanuts, and those children are being actively put at risk for a passive benefit to another. Strike one.

    The hand-washing and mouth-rinsing routine must be completed by every student every time they enter the classroom. Given an average class size of 25 students and a minimum washing time of a minute and rinsing time of 30 seconds, we're talking about approximately 40 minutes spent on this routine a minimum of twice a day, for a total of almost an hour and a half. Considering a six-hour school day with a half hour for lunch, a 40-minute special area class, and this routine, the teacher is down to 4 hours of teaching time (assuming the children don't get recess), with ever-growing expectations placed on both the teacher and the children. Strike two.

    Even assuming the teacher has been given a classroom aide to help meet the needs of this child (or another special-needs child in the same class), you're asking one (maybe two) adult(s) to be able to completely monitor the behavior of two dozen six-year-olds to make sure that one of these children doesn't die. Considering how often I see children of that age running amok while out with their parents, I think it unreasonable to place that burden on other people. Strike three.

    Yes, the poor little girl needs a shot at whatever normalcy can be found in her life, but this is a poor way to attempt it.

    March 29, 2011 at 1:57 pm |
  99. peter

    Who's rights are greater. The whole student body or one girl?
    This is the age old question. The many vs. the one.

    But for now the government has decided this for us.
    Regardless of protesting parents, section 504 of the Americans with Disabilities Act makes it so schools must accommodate children with disabilities, regardless of how it affects the learning and atmosphere of other student. In other words the one is greater than the many.

    March 29, 2011 at 1:54 pm |
  100. Sam

    It's amazing that with all of these "life threatening" food allergies (in these comments alone), we see only 150 deaths annually in the entire nation. Compare that number with the 50 people who die each year from bee stings, the 100 who die from lightning strikes, and the 45,000 who die in motor vehicle collisions. Or compare it with the 10,000 hospitalizations of children each year for traumatic brain injuries acquired during sports or the 2,000 who drown or the roughly 1,300 who die from gun accidents. Sure some people are allergic to some foods, but we quickly learn to avoid those foods to avoid the potential discomfort of exposure.

    This so-called life threatining peanut allergy issue has all the signs of a classic MPI (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mass_Psychogenic_Illness).

    March 29, 2011 at 1:52 pm |
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