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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. Rachael

    I'm a born and raised Floridian and I'm feeling ashamed to admit that. I can make an assumption about this town that should explain everything. Readneck, imbred trash!!! I've lived here long enough to know what these little towns are about. They have nothing better to talk about than this helpless child. Yet, if their child had any disease, disability, or difference they would expect full acceptance of their situation. My sugggestion to the parents of this girl is move to a more populated area. Pinellas and Hillsborough Counties are large areas and many families would welcome the chance to help show your child a normal life. I teach my kids that no one should be pittied or looked down on when faced with these challenges.

    April 5, 2011 at 12:06 am |
  2. Jason

    I am allergic to the parents posting on this article about making changes for this little girl. Please remove yourselves from society so that I never have to listen to or read anything you have written again. If you fail to do this then you may be subject to legal action on behalf of all of the realistic people in the world.
    I feel badly that the little girl will probably have a horrific accident when she meets a peanut farmer at age 21 in college and falls in love with him. Her parents will never understand and sue the boys family for having allowed him to choose the wrong career. I have a 1 and 3 yr old with no known allergies. If they were allergic and it was so severe that another child accidentally might hurt or kill them then I would pull them from school and only inconvenience or take that chance with a small group of understanding friends who they could play with on weekends or after school.

    Start teaching this little girl that it is not at all fair but she must understand the consequences of her allergy.

    April 4, 2011 at 10:34 pm |
  3. Amy

    Well, home schooling is great, but it's not always practical. I think the picketing parents ought to realize that the real alternative is private school.

    She is entitled to a tax-payer funded education, If these parents don't want her in their kids' school then they can send her to private school. If they don't like the idea of paying her tuition, they can send their own kids to a private school.

    April 4, 2011 at 9:52 pm |
  4. sharon corner

    In our school, there is a girl with a peanut allergy. My son was taught never to bring anything with peanuts to school, and not to eat anything with nuts on Saturday, because we see her at church on Sunday. That means we can have peanuts on Friday night....we agreed, for the sake of this child, it isn't worth it, and we just avoid nuts all together. It is called teaching my child to accept everyone, for every reason. I wonder what will happen should they ever need special accomidations...will they work around te world, or will the expect the world to bow down to them?
    I hope the school sticks to their demands....i have been in several school systems and every one has had peanut free is what you do.

    April 4, 2011 at 9:18 pm |
  5. Doug

    What happened that made so many people allergic to peanuts? Did they just used to die and nobody knew why? I'm only 36 and don't recall any kids in my school when I was little. Now every one of my kids' classrooms has signs all over it. Peanuts, wheat, name it. Are we evolving in reverse?

    As for my take on the story – well, I'm all for the kid attending school, but if she's so deathly allergic that they need to search with dogs and wash their mouths 3X daily; then they're placing a lot of faith in the public school system. Trusting them with your kid's education is one thing...trusting teachers and other 6 year-olds with your child's life seems awfully reckless.

    April 4, 2011 at 7:47 pm |
  6. Harry

    As a parent and as someone who suffers from severe allergies my heart goes out to this child. If its too difficult for parents to have their children wash their hands and rinse their mouths out(Which they should be doing anyways for hygene's sake) then I don't know what to say besides they are fat lazy slobs like 50% of this nation and they are teaching their children to be fat lazy slobs as well.

    April 4, 2011 at 7:19 pm |
  7. kathy

    I am a school nurse and we have a student with a life threatening allergy. Our school is entirely cinnamon free. Our staff is supportive as are our parents. This is very sad indeed....very sad.

    April 4, 2011 at 7:07 pm |
  8. Kado

    It's disturbing that there are so many bigoted parents in this country.

    April 4, 2011 at 6:50 pm |
  9. Grace

    The protesting parents are complete selfish and lazy idiots. Big deal if you child can eat peanut butter sandwiches at school. Apparently these parents are so lazy, that to make different sandwich takes too much time.

    I can't even believe that this is an issue. The parents and children in this school need to learn compassion. Obviously their parents are horrible people, and I feel sorry for their children.

    To protest and try to kick a small child out of school over a stupid nut is mind-blowing.

    April 4, 2011 at 4:51 pm |
  10. Sarah

    I also have a peanut allergy. It has never been life threatening, fortunately, but I wanted to clarify that peanut allergies often do not require EATING a peanut/peanut oil etc. Often, the AIRBORN proteins alone can be dangerous. As a child, I could literally feel my throat constricting when a jar of peanut butter was opened, even clear across a fair-sized house. It was like a sixth sense...I wouldn't even necessarily know where the peanut substance was and couldn't necessarily smell it, but I knew as soon as it was opened. This little girl may or maynot have the problem with AIRBORN proteins but it seems likely given what we've been told. One kid with PB&J breath could cause her to got into severe shock.

    April 4, 2011 at 3:58 pm |
  11. r-1216

    I don't quite understand the parents. How is washing your hands and mouth taking away from learning anything? If anything it's teaching those children about acceptance. Acceptance that life isn't always "fair". It's not "fair" that those parents in question are going to take away someone's education. I thought most schools have adopted to a peanut-free class, due to the fact more and more children are allergic to peanuts. From what I read, the school and little girl and her family came to a compromise (which face it, that's life), so if those parents don't like it, then they can enroll thier child in a different school if they want to, but don't force someone out because of your ignorance.

    April 4, 2011 at 3:45 pm |
  12. Shaen

    My son has a peanut allergy. Having dealt with this allergy, I can tell you that there is a lot of ignorance in the general public. We have to inquire about ingredients for everything he eats. We often get a response of "this doesn't have peanuts in it", which frankly is the easy part. Most people don't understand how many products have peanut by products or are manufactured in a faciltiy that could contain peanuts. It's a daily battle that you can't understand until you've been through it. Having said that, I know that making accomodations for children with allergies can be very disruptive. Most parents like us are sensitive to that. If these other parents had any compassion they would seek to understand and try to find a common solutions instead of reacting in this immature and selfish manner.

    April 4, 2011 at 2:49 pm |
  13. Michelle

    Just to clarify one item

    You can have an anaphylactic reaction to dog/cat dander. So to say that the child who has severe allergies to a dog should have to be put through a search by a peanut sniffing dog is the same argument that is being used for the accommodations for the girl with severe peanuts allergies.

    The ones who argue that nut allergies kill but refuse to think about other types of allergies or reactions (asthmatic) are also selfish parents that have the "my kid has it worse" syndrome. If you make accommodations for one you need to make for all that have life threatening reactions and illnesses.

    Again ANIMAL DANDER can CAUSE ANAPHYLAXIS. Stop spreading lies saying animal allergies are not the same b/c they can be. Educate yourself before spewing lies.

    April 4, 2011 at 2:00 pm |
  14. Liz H

    Peanut free school is the way to go in this severe of an allergy. Why and how could these protesting parents be so lazy and irresponsible about someones life , a child for that matter. Some of these parents have mentally turned their kids against this little girl just by having them on the picket line. Peanuts and peanut products are not the only source of nutrition for kids. Maybe the school should take the children (of the parents who are protesting )and have them eat somewhere else..away from the rest of the kids who are careful. what an ignorant/selfish example these parents are setting! this is a school...and schools have rules, If rules aren't followed there are consequences, lessons are learned by consequences. suspend the kids that are's kind of a bullying situation.

    April 4, 2011 at 1:39 pm |
  15. Lee

    What about compassion and giving of oneself just so someone else could go to school? They are not asking for a kidney, but that simple, doable steps be taken so that this child can have an education. I guess even minor sacrifices for the benefit of others is not a core value to be taught in our schools.

    These parents do not have enough time or willingness to help their children comply with these procedures, but they can find time to picket and complain.

    April 4, 2011 at 12:32 pm |
  16. Panacea

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    Selfish – what would you do if it was your child – Seriously, wash your hands and mouth out – hmmmm could reduce colds as well. As adults we should know better – why make this little girl feel worse. Your child won't eat anything but peanut butter and jelly – what about cheese, crackers and some fruit. It's amazing what people will do – if it's putting these parents out just because their child can't eat peanut products at school – come on people think outside of the box.

    April 4, 2011 at 12:23 pm |
  17. Panacea

    Selfish – what would you do if it was your child – Seriously, wash your hands and mouth out – hmmmm could reduce colds as well. As adults we should know better – why make this little girl feel worse. Your child won't anything but peanut and butter – what about cheese and crackers and some fruit. It's amazing what people will do – if it's putting these parents out just because their child can't eat peanut products at school – come on people think outside of the box.

    April 4, 2011 at 12:21 pm |
  18. Sherry

    What is wrong with our world? The picketing parents should be ashamed. It's only luck that their children were not born with severe allergies. And the poor child at the center of all this? Sigh. Our society has become so selfish. Hey parents, here's an idea, how about if you go out and do something constructive like fundraising for the school to support art, music and creative education for your children instead of picking on some innocent family. It takes a village, but unfortunately there are a few village idots who try to ruin things for everyone else.

    April 4, 2011 at 11:56 am |
  19. Kanz Moz

    Take photos of the protestors, find out who they are, then spam their facebooks with "You are a jerk" messages

    April 4, 2011 at 11:54 am |
  20. Angie

    At first when I read this I will admit I agreed with the parents. But as I read through the comments I realized what a selfish thought that was. This poor child didn't ask to be allergic to peanuts and have to avoid it and miss out on things. The kids at the school are simply being asked to wash their hands more often and rinse their mouths. Really they are simply learning how to be CLEAN and maintain good hygeine....

    April 4, 2011 at 11:32 am |
  21. Lou

    I am so pleased to see that the majority of comments posted here show so much compassion for the child. Most Americans are good people that don't mind a little bit of inconvenience in order to help a neighbor. These picketers/protesters are going to find out soon enough that their small minded mentality is definitely placing them in the minority. Just because you cause a scene does not make you right! Kudos to the school administration.

    April 4, 2011 at 11:04 am |
  22. juan

    Everyone should bend over backwards for this little girl. She is alergic to peanuts. In fact all of the other children should not be allowed to go to school because they might cause this girl a problem. The school should be closed to all children who do not have an allergy to peanuts!

    April 4, 2011 at 10:15 am |
  23. A.Marie

    All of you who criticized my comment as saying that asthma is not like a food allergy, that schools already protect children with asthma, that I am a moron, a bozo, that I don't "understand, etc.," all I can say is whatever. All of YOU who think that YOU are so smart should maybe just shut up. Seriously.

    The biggest myth is that "oh! Asthma is soooo easy to control! Just give the kid his inhaler and it'll be all better." Yeah. Right. If you have not parented a child with very severe asthma, then you need to just keep your moronic comments to yourself, because you have NO IDEA what you are taking about.

    And, for those who are just so smart about everything: get a clue! Not all schools are set up for asthmatic students, nor are they accommodating for children with chemical allergies, sensitivity to smells, mold allergies. I don't know what part of the planet you live on, but you obviously don't live where I live. So, once again, unless you know all the facts, just don't say anything at all!!!!

    April 4, 2011 at 10:13 am |
  24. theresa

    The needs of the one, do not outweigh the needs of the many. No child will exist forever in a protected bubble and I do not believe that other students should be restricted in their dietary intake (peanut free issues or other allergens) because of one child's needs. Will this child's eventual place of employment restrict the employee cafeteria because employee X has an allergy? This child needs the protection of being very educated about her allergy, the school needs to provide her with reasonable accommodations for her health care issues as well. Epipen delegates/staff education etc all should be provided. I don't think that washing hands/rinsing mouths is asking a lot, but I also do not believe you should be allowed to force that activity on anyone. I don't believe that picketing the student is very compassionate or mature of these parents. Take your concerns to the school board like grownups and stop "name-calling" like toddlers!

    April 4, 2011 at 10:12 am |
  25. Food For Thought

    I think it's OK for the kids to wash their hands and mouths. As mentioned, it helps to prevent the spread of germs. It teaches them that it's important to consider other people's health and safety. I do not think that other students should be asked to not eat peanut butter. It doesn't seem that is the case in this story; however, I am not certain. For some parents, the cost of lunch meat for 3 kids versus the cost of peanut butter is substantially more, and it's hard to make ends meet these days. It's really not fair to ask them to try to figure out how to afford something else for the kids to eat when it's already hard to afford the necessities. Don't get me started on they shouldn't have had kids, yada yada, because these people do just fine and their kids are happy. They just shouldn't be forced to buy more expensive food because someone else can't eat it.

    April 4, 2011 at 9:44 am |
  26. MarkinFL

    The protesting parents should be absolutely ashamed of themselves. I'm a Florida parent of two and my children went to a school that was sensitive to peanut allergies and they do not seem to have suffered.. Its a pretty minor inconvenience in order to allow a child to go to school. Too bad their are so many parents teaching their kids to be just as self-centered as they are.

    April 4, 2011 at 7:47 am |
  27. East Coast

    There is no way to keep peanuts out of the school. One child could have some peanuts in his jacket pocket from Five Guys and sit next to the child and share a pencil or crayon with them. However, the bullying of the child and family is reprehensible. I would be so ashamed to know anyone participating in such a horrible event.

    What's next? Picketing the school because someone with leg braces is taking too long to walk and their kids can't get to their classes on time? These picketing parents should be deeply ashamed of what they've done. I would never, EVER single out a child like this. Very sad.

    April 4, 2011 at 7:24 am |
  28. Nataive American

    Sad, sad, sad... Being that this is happening in Volusia County doesn't surprise me. If she was an atheist these people would be holding burning crosses and wearing hoods. Kudos to the school board and the school for standing behind their students. Wake up America and stop acting like tools.

    April 4, 2011 at 5:59 am |
  29. jeree

    I think it's unreasonable to have the kids rinse out their mouths; if that's what it takes to keep that one child safe, then she really does need to be homeschooled. Why is she getting such special treatment? Picketing is a bit much, but I'm on the side of all those parents.

    April 3, 2011 at 11:51 pm |
  30. joe

    I would not have my child take special steps to protect someones life. This could lead to more enforcement of other crap. The child that has allergies should protect herself. The rest of the world has enough problems of their own to deal with.

    April 3, 2011 at 9:23 pm |
  31. JB

    Unbelievable. These parents are teaching their children to pick on/single out/hate anyone different than them instead of compassion about their fellow man/woman. What the hell happened to society? When did it become ok to behave like this? These parents should be ashamed.

    Kudos to the school for defending this child and for making sure this child has a safe place to get an education.

    Maybe just maybe these parents can drop the me me me attitude and learn a little something about peanut allergies and become I dont know, better parents because from this side of the fence they shouldnt be breeding at all.

    April 3, 2011 at 7:38 pm |
  32. Casey

    As a teacher I have dealt with this allergy. It is completely manageable in a community that advocates tolerances. Reading a label before sending snack, choosing alternatives to those with nuts. (and it is no more costly to go nut free). Perhaps different if it were a communicable disease, this child is just trying to live. These parents think it is unreasonable to give up peanuts between school hours? Is that so unreasonable?
    Before a child is anything they are a child and when I see a community of adults picketing such blatant intolerance, it makes me sad for their children and our society.
    It is vital these people get the message that just because they are in the majority (no allergies) it doesn't mean you can take away a child's humanitarian right to education. Also I would challenge their right to be a parent for practicing such stupidity and bad examples for future members of a hopefully functional society.

    April 3, 2011 at 3:22 pm |
  33. Sarah

    I don't have kids or any allergies. But I think these people should be ashamed of themselves. This poor girl is being ostracized for something that probably already leaves her feeling left out.
    I knew a girl who had allergies to nuts that were so bad if she sat next to someone who ate them she'd have a reaction. If this little girl is the same, then what the kids are being asked for is not too much.
    Sure, she's going to have to live around other people who may have had nuts, etc. But kids eat a lot of peanut butter and it's a good chance for them to learn about allergies and first aid and hygiene.
    Not to mention things like compassion and empathy.
    And we wonder where kids learn to bully others...

    April 3, 2011 at 3:16 pm |
  34. Neil

    why don't the kids with allergies carry epi pens? Tell the teachers about it, so they know what to do.

    I agree that everyone should do their best to help but accidents will happen and the parents of kids with allergies should be prepared to handle the worst case scenario. At some point people need to take ownership of their own medical needs. You can't go through your entire life expecting the entire world to accommodate you. If you do you are in deep stuff when someone doesn't, can't, or won't. At some point someone will screw up.

    April 3, 2011 at 2:29 pm |
  35. tm

    For shame.

    April 3, 2011 at 2:29 pm |
  36. Peanut U. Morons III

    What a great chance in childrens lives to learn about compassion and caring about others. Instead these parents (protestors) use this moment to teach their kids about selfisness and hate.

    April 3, 2011 at 2:13 pm |
  37. Stephen Leslie

    I don't see where the "Rights" of the other students are being impacted in any significant way. As one with the same serious allergic condition, I have seen how it takes to ensure that peanuts or peanut butter are not spread on the basic classroom areas. The right to an education, the right to life itself, certainly outweigh any "rights" to bring peanut butter into certain places in the school, or the need to wash hands. Washing hands is what is recommended to handle flu or other such conditions; the reason is to keep such issues from spreading. What makes this any different? Others above have said this: imaging it's YOUR child with this LIFE-THREATENING condition – what's your reaction to this now?

    April 3, 2011 at 1:02 pm |
  38. shocked

    Just when you thought the American education system could not get any worse, this comes along.

    For those picketing, if this was your kid with the same allergy or illness, how would you react? For me, this tells me whether it be allergies or other illness or disabilities, this school system would not be the one to go to.

    Is it discrimination to exclude one from a school for a illness they have no control over? yes. At the same time, ones can consider the rest discrimination because their kids are going through all of this.

    Simple solution without having the kid out of school? Create a safe area for the child to eat in. Insure the kids have proper hygiene on returning to the classrooms.. Then after lunch is over, resume normal business.

    These parents complaining most likely are the same people who bring their kids sick to school just so they can make everyone else miserable and sick. To say nothing of the ones who let kids destroy places like supermarkets, sneezing coughing and all that jazz.. And when the employees try pulling their kid out of a ice machine before they are hit with a 10 pound bag of ice in the head, they would expect the kid to be hit to learn.

    This is why our education system is the laughing stock of the world.

    April 3, 2011 at 9:46 am |
  39. Ann

    We can accommodate Muslims who hate us and kill us; illegals who are raping the system but not the parents of a child who are citizens and work and pay taxes.

    This child is in danger of dying and is the one most inconvenienced; not you. Children with disabilities are given special treatment because of the disabilities they were born with; what is the difference.

    April 3, 2011 at 9:04 am |
  40. Scott P

    I read perhaps the first two or three dozen reviews before skipping down here to make my own. Here's my take on this.

    While the actions of the parents were probably...ok, lets face it, almost definitely...way overboard, I agree at least partially with the reasoning behind it.

    Not because I believe the kids shouldn't be asked to wash their hands an extra time (or whatever other "inconveniences" the kids are being asked to go through). My agreement with the mindset (NOT the actions) of the parents stems from something much more basic.

    As human beings, we hope that generally we would be more "civic" in our outlook. "Can't you imagine what that allergic child is going through" I paraphrase from one of the comments. But as a parent, "civic" mindedness, and "imagining the viewpoint of the put-upon child" are secondary to one very important fact. In the mindset of the parent, ONLY their child matters. And only if the actions/needs of their child are not effected, will other considerations be made.

    So, again...actions & steps taken...probably not the smartest in the world, but I can understand where the mindset comes from.

    Remember, it's always a good idea, even if you don't agree with someone, to try to understand the basic thinking behind why they're doing something. ESPECIALLY if you don't agree.

    April 3, 2011 at 5:58 am |
  41. Jean

    Except for shellfish, most other allergies trigger asthma or gastroentestinal distress. Asthma can be life threatening but can be treated somewhat ahead of time as well at onset generally.

    Shellfish allergy is less common to children. Peanut allergies are becoming more common. Because these kids can have a normal social life and education without exposure to peanuts and will flat out die in minutes with it, you have to accomodate it.

    What scares me is the whackos who don't "believe" in allergies and seek to confront the child with exposure just "to see" if its really true or selfishly ignore the request, because..."it's not my child."

    April 3, 2011 at 3:23 am |
  42. Supremo Lagarto

    This is pretty normal behavior for people in Florida.

    April 3, 2011 at 12:17 am |
  43. newday34

    These so-called parents need to hand in their "Parent" cards.They are protesting simply because it is going to be an inconvenience to their children. instead of protesting, they should use this situation as a teaching tool to teach empathy.

    April 2, 2011 at 10:33 pm |
  44. Janet

    Shame on CNN for this blatantly one-sided report. From other news sources, you can gather that there is much more to this story than students being required to wash their hands before lunch.
    Having dogs roam the school sniffing out peanuts is utterly ridiculous- what about children who have allergies to animal fur or dander?
    Having gone through the public school system myself, I of course encountered children with allergies... they were educated by their own parents what they could and could not eat. The burden was not placed on the school or the other parents and children. Take care of your own child!
    And if her allergy is really that severe (that she will die if there are ever peanut products in any part of the school), which I highly doubt, then she shouldn't be in school in the first place! Honestly, it is hard to believe that this girl could step outside at all if her allergy was that severe.

    April 2, 2011 at 9:19 pm |
  45. BigM

    The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the one.

    April 2, 2011 at 8:54 pm |
  46. Nick Naranja

    I think that asking everyone to change their daily habits for one person is a little bit ridiculous. What other disabilities require that everyone else change their daily habits?

    April 2, 2011 at 12:09 pm |
  47. chemgirl

    For those saying that her parents can't protect her forever and that she should just learn to protect herself- first of all she is only 6, and secondly, how is homeschooling supposed to help her and her family learn to live with her allergy in the "real world"? I think parents trying to find away to make public school a reasonably safe environment for a VERY YOUNG girl a lot less overprotective than hiding her at home all day. I would think that as she gets older her classmates won't be as "inconvenienced" as these other first-graders apparently are, but give the poor kid a chance to learn how to live outside her own home before expecting her to just know how to protect herself.

    But as someone mentioned earlier, the protestors are wasting their time because this girl's rights are protected by law. If these protesting parents don't like it, maybe they should homeschool their kids!

    April 2, 2011 at 11:47 am |
  48. kmb614

    This makes me absolutely sick.

    I have a peanut allergy as well as many other allergies (not quite as severe but still bad) and I went to elementary school before they implanted peanut-free policies. I'm in college now and can handle myself, but I had to learn to do so at a very young age, and sometimes I did have incidents with peanuts as a kid. I'm just thankful that they never ended up being life-threatening. I am well aware that this little girl cannot expect the world to accommodate her allergies forever – I have lived that truth firsthand – but while she is a child she deserves to be kept safe until she is old enough to be cognizant of what foods she should and shouldn't be around.

    And to the people who are saying she should be put on medication/homeschooled...don't you think her parents are already doing everything in the way of medicine that they can for their daughter? Medicine is medicine, it isn't magic. There's only so far you can go with it. And do you really think that she should be denied public school just because there are some things she can't eat? Shame on you. If this were your child, you would feel differently. It's not as though these little girl's parents are throwing their child out to the dogs and expecting other people to take total responsibility for her. They are very likely doing what my parents did for me and educating her as best they can about what is going on, and I think asking for a little buffer of safety is not at all too much to ask. I would have appreciated it when I was that just never know what is in certain foods and the average six-year-old doesn't think about asking.

    Unbelievable. Sorry your child's minor inconvenience is in the interest of protecting the life of a little girl.

    April 2, 2011 at 10:35 am |
  49. Polly

    and I bet these parents wouldn't like it a bit if their little darlings were traumatized by watching their classmate suffer–and possibly die –from an allergic reaction. Teach your children kindness. Washing their hands an extra time is a very small act of charity.

    April 2, 2011 at 8:57 am |
  50. Polly

    wow, either CNN isn't telling the whole story or these people are truly awful. If my daughter went to a school with a child with a peanut allergy, I would stop sending her to school with peanuts. Period. I am heartened, however, that the majority of the comments here condemn these awful parents. I bet the protestors are decided minority. A selfish minority.

    April 2, 2011 at 8:53 am |
  51. Martin

    This people should be ashamed to go against a 6 year old for such small thing. Besides: isn't part of a education to brush your teeth and wash your hands frequently?

    April 2, 2011 at 8:15 am |
  52. Kieron

    I would dust my kids hand in peanuts and send them off to school. Why should anyone have to bend over backwards for that girl?

    April 2, 2011 at 7:59 am |
  53. why the hatred

    NAZIs had their children at protests too. good job parents.

    April 2, 2011 at 2:16 am |
  54. Kathyh

    As a parent of a kid with severe allergies, I've taught my son to clean his hands several times a day. This girl comes in contact with peanuts probably daily-movie theaters,grocery stores, restaurants, ball games, air planes, etc. My son never hadpeanut free areas at school and the other kids still had pb and j's around him. The parents need to teach him to clean his hands and carry an epi pen.

    April 2, 2011 at 1:29 am |
  55. George

    I bet if you ask the children w/o the allergy they would not have a problem with the it restrictions. Seems to me the parents who are protesting are the one's that need to grow up.

    April 2, 2011 at 1:19 am |
  56. Beth

    By all means let's not teach our children healthy hygiene practices. And let's make the child with the problem feel really bad about herself!! What a bunch of wangs!! Well it is Florida....America's wang.

    April 1, 2011 at 11:31 pm |
  57. Dave

    I can't believe all the insane fools out there supporting an entire School being Forced to accommodate 1 child.

    Make up your deluded liberal minds.
    ether ,The Good of the many out weigh the few . or One entitled above the many.
    I have nothing against this kid and sure it sucks to have her health issue but whats next Forcing local restaurants to cater to her?

    Her Parents should be forced to take some classes because they have some problems even considering this BS.

    April 1, 2011 at 11:27 pm |
  58. Sam

    You know, we don't get to choose what we're born with. This unfortunate little girl just happened to have some bad luck by being born with a life-threatening peanut allergy. The other students and their parents should be thanking their lucky stars that they don't have to go through the same thing, and they should want to do anything they could do to make that little girl's time in school as enjoyable as possible. She probably just wants to live as much like a normal kid as she can, and the parents are ruining that for her. Shame on them.

    April 1, 2011 at 11:21 pm |
  59. Jennifer

    T.pausian, I breastfed my son for over 2 years and he is severely allergic to shellfish.

    I definitely don't think the parents should be protesting – they're only making themselves look nuts and it's a horrible lesson for the children. I do think there has to be some sort of compromise. My son's school has an allergy lunch table, rules about not sharing food, and they require any food sent from home to be shared is store bought with ingredients labels. I do wonder how much of the rules are from the girl's parents and how much of it is the school trying to CYA.

    I understand that the girl is horribly allergic, but I also fear that by providing this bubble for her to live in that she will develop a false sense of security about the real world. She may outgrow it, or at least the severity, but what if she doesn't? Her family is going to have to figure out something so she can have some quality of life! Because the way it sounds now, unless the most extreme precautions are taken to prevent any exposure, she will never be able to participate in extracurricular activities, go on field trips, or even go to the park and interact with other children.

    I taught my son what shellfish is, not to eat it and not to touch anything that might be made from it (the danger in school is not 6-year-olds eating shrimp for lunch as much as the iodine the school nurse might treat a skinned knee). He also has asthma and knows which inhaler to use daily, which one to use for an emergency, where the emergency inhalers are located at home, his school, and where he takes gymnastics, and the names of his medications. He's also moderately lactose intolerant and knows what forms of milk are ok and which aren't. If he's unsure about something, he knows to ask me or avoid it since I'm better versed at what he can and can't have. He's only 5 and these things do not take away from any of his activities because he knows how be cautious. He knows that he is the one who has to avoid the foods and that the rest of the world isn't going to accommodate him. It's much better to learn that lesson at 5 than 35.

    April 1, 2011 at 9:34 pm |
  60. NotYou

    This just sums how much ignorance is in Florida. You can't count your ballots correctly. You burn other religious books because you think they cause murder, hello, do you remember the crusades?

    Can we just nuke Florida and start over please.

    April 1, 2011 at 7:51 pm |
  61. Moira

    I think a lot of people are missing the point, in that one severe allergy out of many is getting special treatment. What about those with severe cord, dairy, wheat, rice, cat, dog, et al allergies? Are we going to start telling children they cannot own pets, bring sandwiches on wheat for lunch, and so forth? No, of course we wouldn't. Children with allergies to those would already know how to protect themselves, and those with severe enough allergies would either always carry an epi-pen, or choose another route of schooling to avoid deadly exposure. This is ludicrous to focus solely on one allergen, let alone to such an extreme. Whether or not anyone thinks this is a big deal, or mundane, it still boils down to encroaching on freedoms, and is poised atop one heck of a slippery slope.
    I believe if the girl's allergy is indeed that deadly, she should be pulled from public school. With an allergy so severe, they might as well be playing Russian Roulette with her life, regardless of any safety measures enacted. All it would take is a trace for her, right? Why risk it?

    April 1, 2011 at 6:56 pm |
  62. Richard Rowland

    Thank God I have retired from teaching after 33 years in the classroom. I no longer have to put up with parents like this!!!! Unfortunately the are more and more of them every day. It is so easy to accomodate any child in the classroom with any kind of special need, without making them feel bad in any way. These parents are soooooooooooo selfish and ignorant.

    April 1, 2011 at 6:05 pm |
  63. Bob Rednitz

    Note to self: Move where there aren't so many tree hugging allergy nuts around. A place where people have to be responsible for their own actions and are held accountable. Opps, looks like I'll need a passport. Pass the nuts!

    April 1, 2011 at 5:48 pm |
  64. John

    Its the same junk all over again; let me bent over backwards as much as i can to accomdate you. If my child has a problem its MY PROBLEM NOT EVERYBODY ELSES. People want EVERYTHING their way next time it will be my child has nightmares about cats so everybody has to stop wearing cat tshirts. Give me a freaking break this is a school not a health clinic.

    April 1, 2011 at 4:54 pm |
  65. Brian

    These parents have lost their minds. I saw some of them on TV and I realize now that they're just against hygene. In all seriousness, as the father of 2 kids with peanut allergies I find that the parents who have kids w/o allergies act like their kids are victims. Our school has found a good middle ground where they ask kids to wash hands in the morning when they come into school and they ask kids to wash hands after lunch. (Rinsing mouths seems excessive). We even donate wet naps to the schools so the kids can wash quickly and effectively. It takes 2 minutes out of the day. At lunch there is a peanut free table and that seems to work ok. It all works well and teachers have said that they have seen a decline in overall sickness since kids started washing hands. It works and everyone is happy.

    April 1, 2011 at 4:50 pm |
  66. JS

    Okay I think this is ridiculous as I am a child and I had to spend summercamp protecting my younger cousin from ignorant staff at the camp who could have killed her(they did make her sick 2 times after 2 I realized I had two help my then 5 year old cousin) but what is so ridiculous is the fact that parents are protesting this young child getting protected from what may kill her. I have a friend who has severe allergies and I still go into the cafeteria and warn her if they are serving what she is allergic to but some kids do need more protection then others so I as a twelve year old FULLY SUPPORT this young girl's special accomadations and I would tell her parents to keep fighting for her safety.

    April 1, 2011 at 4:36 pm |
  67. Victoria

    I have a fairly severe peanut and tree nut allergy, which my parents have known about since I was 13 months old. By the time i was in second or third grade, I'd been taught to read labels and ask if things had nuts in them.

    I feel like at least until the girl is able to be responsible for her condition, some precautions should be in place. All it takes is one kid trying to be nice and sharing a brownie that may have come into contact with peanuts, and the girl goes into anaphylactic shock. Once she is able to ask about the ingredients in things and knows to stay away from them, the measures can be cut down, but for the time being, they're protecting her life.

    April 1, 2011 at 1:38 am |
  68. JustMe

    And just another thought to the parents who have suggested using antibacterial lotions. Antibacterial lotions and sprays do not kill everything. They help kill germs but they don't wipe out proteins from foods and pollens that cause allergic reactions. Soap and water is the answer. Also; antibacterial lotions and sprays contain products that cause allergic reactions to the skin on many people. Soap and water is still best !

    March 31, 2011 at 11:06 pm |
  69. JustMe

    Is access to peanut butter more important that teaching your child to care about others? Washing hands is not a difficult thing and probably will cut down on illnesses being spread among classmates. It is a good habit to develop early in life. My only concern would be whether the washing facilities are kept clean and that the water being used is warm. My own children have allergies to some soaps and lotions, so I would hope that the school is as considerate toward other children who may need allergy free soaps and paper towels.

    March 31, 2011 at 10:55 pm |
  70. Carl

    Oddly in Australia all our schools have been peanut free for sometime, much like they are arsenic free 😉 its a no-brainer, really. You would think people would be ashamed to argue against hygiene with kids, but I guess people are just crazy :/

    March 31, 2011 at 9:54 pm |
  71. kimberly

    her classmates are asked to wash their hands and rinse out their mouths. the world didn't change for them and the whole school didn't go peanut free. if asking a few kids to wash their hands is too much to ask for... i don't even know what to say to you. maybe we should picket outside of schools asking kids in wheelchairs to be home schooled because they are getting special treatment. sad.

    March 31, 2011 at 9:42 pm |
  72. Steve

    I don't agree that the parents should be picketing to have this girl removed from the school. Way to make her feel like an outcast. The adults should be ashamed of this behavior.

    I think some of you, however, are missing the point that this girl cannot expect the world to always accommodate her allergy. The world is full of pitfalls, and you ultimately have to be responsible for watching out for your own safety. This is a lesson she has to learn sooner rather than later in order to independently cope with her medical problem.

    Where most people seem to be spot on is that kids should keep their hands to themselves, and also, to wash their hands frequently. A basic that should be taught because kids are harbingers of disease, not because somebody might have a peanut allergy.

    March 31, 2011 at 9:32 pm |
  73. Sharon

    I agree with Concerned, there has to be more as requiring the children to wash their hands and rinse their mouths before and/or after eating is just common sense, not to mention good hygiene. I know as I work as an after school mentor for 5, 6 and 7 year olds.

    March 31, 2011 at 9:26 pm |
  74. Kris

    Kudos to the parents for standing up to this nonsense. As one severe allergy sufferer described in an earlier comment, teaching the child from a very early age to avoid all unknown foods and to carry the EpiPen around constantly is the way to go. By forcing all others around the child to conform and accommodate this severe allergy, it only handicaps the child further and sets up the potential for severe accidents to happen when not in the controlled atmosphere of school. We all have to take responsibility for our lives – and six years old is none too early to learn these basic rules of safety.

    March 31, 2011 at 7:02 pm |
  75. TawnyMarie

    Sheesh what loser parents these are. Setting such a great example for their kids. Teaching their kids to dislike this girl over something she can't change. That's exactly what they're doing whether they think so or not. That poor little girl must feel awful.

    March 31, 2011 at 6:49 pm |
  76. Maggie

    My sons' elementary solves this problem by banning peanut products. It's not a big deal for me to avoid giving my boys pb&j's so other children can be safe.

    March 31, 2011 at 5:50 pm |
  77. MizzLizzie

    These kids should be washing their hands and rinsing their mouths anyway! Are these parents dirty people of something? Are they hoping their children will have a full set of dentures by the time they are 15 years old? YUCK! Those parents need basic hygiene lessons!

    March 31, 2011 at 8:15 am |
  78. E.H.

    Poor kid...

    March 31, 2011 at 6:51 am |
  79. BlueNC

    "Where is the happy median?" That is truly sad. I guess the answer to that would be where all the kids came home alive at the end of the day.

    March 31, 2011 at 6:29 am |
  80. artman

    Talk about bullying!!! These people should be ashamed! Picking on this child because of her allergies! This child has a RIGHT to be schooled in her district, what a bunch of BULLYS!! I thought there were laws to protect children.

    March 31, 2011 at 4:53 am |
  81. deidre116

    There is a cure for food allergies – Look up NAET (Nambudripad's Allergy Elimination Techniques) and hopefully find a certified practitioner near you. Nobody has to continue to suffer from allergies. Yes, it's alternative medicine and it worked for me. Now I no longer have to inconvenience anyone with my food allergy issues.

    March 31, 2011 at 3:11 am |
  82. ryland stewart

    Asking a whole school to make sacrifices for one child is as arrogant as you can get. Why don't the parents find out what other children with allergies do. I am sure this kid is not the first person to have a peanut allergy but making everyone else responsible for her condition is not right. I don't blame the majority of parents. Take the kid out of school and homeschool her or put her on medication but don't ask the world to change their ways for your child. She is only importantt to you.

    March 31, 2011 at 2:52 am |
  83. ryland stewart

    I think it is ludicrous to expect a whole school to change their ways to accommodate 1 child. Why not have her wear a mask? The parents of this child should start finding ways for her to function in the world without depending on other people for her wellbeing. As she grows and goes about, other people and especially adults, are not going to go out of their way to satisfy this child. What do they do when they go shopping, to the movies, the grocery store, etc.? I don't believe all the people coming and going in the Malls are going to wash hands and mouth just so she can go shopping. Some things are the parents responsibility to figure out without imposing on all the other children in the school.

    March 31, 2011 at 2:48 am |
  84. Irene

    Why not home-school the girl? Why inconvenience the thousands of students just to accommodate her?

    March 31, 2011 at 2:17 am |
  85. Jeebus

    This is sad that people can be so intolerant.

    March 31, 2011 at 2:15 am |
  86. Scott

    I am happy to see that the vast majority of people commenting here are in favor of reason and understand that what these protesting parents are doing is very damaging to their children and their community.
    My own first grader is highly allergic to peanuts and has unfortunately had experience with anaphylaxis. It's a never ending daily worry and has changed our lives and our habits forever.
    Fortunately, the school and her classmates parents here in Clovis, CA have been very supportive and protective of my daughter. She has her own peanut free table in the cafeteria and her friends who bring peanut free lunches & snacks love to sit with her and help watch out for her. The cafeteria staff, school nurse & teachers have been wonderful as well.
    Never once have we been unreasonable about our daughter's life threating allergy. We only just ask that those who are fortunate enough to have her in their life act with some compassion and understanding so she can live as 'normal' a life as possible.

    March 31, 2011 at 2:11 am |
  87. Charles Darwin

    Let's imagine there is someone else with strong allergy to milk, who cannot be within ten feet of others, if they had milk for breakfast. And also someone who could not tolerate meat, and bread. Would the healthy children be asked to exclude all these things from their diet?
    Some people would go for it out of compassion. But this individual's choice, and the decision should be done by the person (or child), not by the school. If everyone in her class is compassionate enough – good for her! If at least one is not – she should take all the necessary precautions herself, of go home schooled.

    March 31, 2011 at 2:05 am |
  88. SuzD

    Having worked in the Emergency Room and witnessed, first hand, a near death over peanuts and many other near death...and death.. instances with allergies I have a strong opinion that: if it were my child with the allergy, knowing full well how ignorant and even malicious some people can actually be, I would homeschool my child. I would do this for my child's safety. After reading some of the contemptible remarks by adults on this thread alone, I sense that their own children would be just as completely insensitive to the life or death needs of a child who is so allergic to something common but completely a peanut...that I would worry (considerably) that one of the insensitive children (or even one of their parents) would go so far as to deliberately bring peanut dust into the school and in the presence of the child. Seriously. Sadly, some people are crazy and self-entitled and are raising kids to be just like themselves.

    March 31, 2011 at 1:58 am |
  89. Murph

    Blah Blah Blah Bu Blah Blah.

    I'm a perfectly worthless parent whose kid has an allergy. Yup, you nailed me....

    I'm just OK at parenting. How are you?

    March 31, 2011 at 1:56 am |
  90. Michael Schafer

    Enough already! If the child is that delicate pull her out of school. I am sick of these ridiculous accommodations shoved down our throats. NO WAY my child would ever be forced by a school district or anyone else to accommodate silliness such as this. Pull her out and let everyone else move on with their educations. Such is life. Suck it up and deal with it!!

    March 31, 2011 at 1:28 am |
  91. Dana Geister

    The parents of the allergic child have every right to "request" extra measures, just as every student (or parent of student) have the right to decline the request. All should not suffer for the sake of one. If my child had a DEADLY allergy, I would find alternatives than to trusting a mass population with ther life. The rest of the world is not going to cater to your precious snowflake. They might as well get used to that now.

    March 31, 2011 at 1:19 am |
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