Saturday, April 14, 2007

It's A Sad, Sad World

This whole situation hurts my heart. I am not for banning peanuts in school. But then again, at this point my child doesn't appear to have the type of allergy that warrants that type of action. And if he did, I would probably look into alternative schooling. But that being said, not everyone can afford alternative schooling, and every child is entitled to an education. Well apparently not if you live in Connecticut. Here is the article that appeared in Sundays paper:

CONNECTICUT NEWS
Debate Centers On Boy's Peanut Allergy April 8, 2007 By DAVE COLLINS, Associated Press

A Connecticut 6-year-old's extreme allergy is pitting concerns about the boy's safety against the right of his schoolmates to enjoy an American classic - a peanut butter sandwich. A nationwide increase in peanut allergies is prompting a debate playing out in his small elementary school in Seymour and across the country. But while some school districts have decided to bar anyone from bringing peanut products to school, Seymour's and others say such rules are unfair to the rest of the students.

"I think more and more people are looking for protection from cradle to grave, and I really don't believe that's what society is all about," said Seymour school board member James Garofolo. "I really don't believe we can protect people ... from all the things out there that may pose harm."Six-year-old Matthew Searles of Seymour is one of an estimated 12 million Americans, including 2 million school-age children, who have potentially life-threatening food allergies. More than 3 million are allergic to peanuts or tree nuts. The only thing they can do to prevent allergic reactions is to avoid foods that pose a hazard. Many who are allergic can have an anaphylactic response, which can create breathing problems by constricting airways. It also can lead to a serious drop in blood pressure, a weak pulse, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting. Matthew's mother, Lisa Searles, has urged Seymour school officials to ban peanut butter in the schools. She acknowledges the efforts by school officials to protect her first-grader at Anna LoPresti School, but says it's not enough. "My son's allergy is like bringing a loaded gun to school," she said. "I was just very disappointed with the board. I feel they're ignorant. If it was their child who could die, it would be a whole different story."

Now here are some of the responses that the article got. And I am not making these up folks, actual people (and I use the term loosely) made these remarks:

1.
Kate
Cheshire, CT

Sunday Apr 8

"Perhaps if the child is so medically fragile that he cannot be present in a school where peanuts are, he ought to be educated in a different setting - perhaps homeschooled or in a private school.It's a shame he has an allergy, but why make everyone else suffer? I know of parents of children with SERIOUS peanut allergies who adopt the strategy of teaching their child not to share food, and having their child eat away from other children if necessary. Yes, it's scary, but Mom isn't always going to be around to control every aspect of the child's life. When the kid grows up, he'll still be in a world where others have peanut products with them - you can't very well ban peanuts in a large office building. Children with these life-threatening allergies need to learn how to function safely in a world with those allergens. Peanut butter in moderation is a nutritious, inexpensive source of protein, which is important for families who may not have a lot of money to spend on deli meats or expensive alternative nut butters for their kids' school lunches. It is not all about one kid. Perhaps if the parents did their job and taught him about managing his condition rather than avoiding it, this would be a non-issue, as it is for many peanut-allergic children in the US".

2.
Suzie
Bloomfield, CT

Sunday Apr 8

"I agree - when do we say enough? Unless something is harmful to the student body in general, the school has no obligation to do anything about it. If the parents aren't comfortable educating their child in that environment, they have choices. They can look for a private school that guarantees an environment free of the evil peanut. Or, they can exercise the ultimate in control and home-school. No matter how you slice it, though, the child's allergy is the parents' problem. Not that of the public. He's going to need to learn to function in the larger world at some point. Welcome to America - the land of disability and special needs".

3.
Johnny Jazz

“I like the cut of your jib.”
Joined: Feb 24, 2007
Comments: 507
United States

Sunday Apr 8

"The parents should be thanking their lucky stars that the kid wasn't born with (edited for complete ignorance), or no immune system and has to live in a bubble. Perhaps Darwin is gently suggesting to these parents that their genetics don't make for the best combinations, and to lay off making any more children.But that doesn't give them the right to emburden the other parents just because their children possess superior vigor and vitality".

4.
Jim Beam
Prospect, CT

Sunday Apr 8

"Way to go Seymour school board member James Garofolo.....While I recognize that peanut butter allergies can be life threatening it isn't the schools responsibility to make all the other kids conform to some sort rule to benefit one student. In fact if they do and some kids defies the rule who is responsible??It is the parents responsibility to protect their kid and teach him to protect himself.What about the local rec sports teams this kid might be in, are they banning peanut butter? What have the girl and boy scouts done to make sure no peanuts are in any of the fund raising foods this kid might be in contact with?and to G W Carver "Parents can feed their children healthier food than peanut butter which gets 75% of it's calories from fat." Please go away. You do gooders that pervade our society and especially CT are getting tiresome. Rest assured most of us are going to have fun dispite your attempts to regulate our lives".

5.

Tom R
Newington, CT

Sunday Apr 8

"Have to agree with the poster here. What if a child has a bread allergy? No sandwiches of any kind allowed at school? A chicken allergy? No more nuggets? The line must be drawn".

And this was just a random sampling of the comments left and most of them were similar to the ones above although I'd have to say that #3 takes the cake. I don't understand the hate. Have we become that self centered that we are going to spew hate toward a child because our right to eat peanut butter between the hours of 8 am and 3 pm Monday through Friday may be taken away? This is the fight we want to fight? "SAVE THE PEANUT BUTTER". Screw the homeless, the environment, the people dying in Darfur. We want our sandwiches.
My heart hurts.

10 comments:

PEA said...

Good morning Janeen...reading the article and then the comments, it's so very obvious these people don't have a child with allergies. If they did, their response would have been completely different. They don't have a child with allergies so....they don't care! My heart aches for you because I can imagine how this is making you feel! Big hugs xoxo

Barb said...

Well you certainly created the right label for this post, "Screwed Up People."

This is ridiculous. I wonder if we would find it totally impossible to raise our children had peanut butter never been invented.

I'm thankful that man doesn't have a child with this allergy but I'm absolutely sure his whole stance would be radically different if HIS child was allergic to peanuts and tree nuts.

Good grief. What is WRONG with people!

Sue said...

I'm sickened over those responses. I too am not for banning an entire food, but these people to expect a 6 year old to be able to take on that role? Yes, of course they will have to learn to protect themselves - but we're talking about an elementary schoold child - not a teenager. Plus, how many kids now are "threatened" with the very foods that can kill them by other kids?

You're right - #3 was horrific.

But, thanks for your label - it added a bit of comic relief to it.

Michelle said...

I can definitely see both sides of the argument for banning peanut butter, or not, especially when it's your child with the life-threatening illness. But my goodness! Don't people have any compassion? I was astounded at #3's attitude. It is most definitely a sad world!

meeyauw said...

I came from Connecticut and I hurt with you, in embarrassment, that they could be so hard. That is not a humane response to another person's need. It's a damn peanut butter sandwich and we can all live without it. In all the schools I have worked, if a child entered with such an allergy, we simply cleared the school of the allergen. No big deal. What a small "sacrifice" for the pleasure of having that child in school. By the way: a child has a right to a public education and these remarks are discriminatory. Those same arguments could be illegally made to exclude a child of a different race, creed, or whatever. It won't stand in court.

andria said...

I love the label...cracked me up.

These people are just ignorant and, honestly, I think too lazy to make their kids anything other than an easy PBJ.

I wasn't aware of the severity of Peanut allergies until I first started teaching at a school in Virginia Beach with one girl who was allergic. She used to have to sit at a clean table ON THE STAGE during lunch alone. I know she had to be so embarrassed, but our school finally stepped up and, although they didn't ban PB, the cafeteria monitor instituted PB free tables and, boy, did she keep them clean. BUT, one kid from her class at a reeses cup at lunch and in coming back to the class just walked by her desk and apparently some PB dropped off his shirt or something and just breathing that air sent her to the hospital. Poor thing, but when I left there they were in the process of instituting peanut free schools in the district (of course it's a big district) and at least being openminded about it.

Did that make any sense at all?

The kids should be protected, it's as simple as that. The fact that adults are that simple minded is horrifying.

org junkie said...

Hi there,
The responses are very unempathetic to say the least. Nobody understands until they've walked in the shoes of a parent whose child is extremely allergic.

However, my viewpoint is slightly different than the norm I suppose. I haven't asked my son's school to ban any foods. You see he is ana to dairy. Can you imagine if I asked the school to ban all dairy products? So if a school has a "no peanut policy" in place due to allergies and then my son comes along with a dairy allergy (which is just as serious for my son) and they then have to ban that too. What about the next child who is ana to egg, then that has to go too. You can see that it has the potential to become very complicated.

I have chosen not to have foods banned. I do not want my son to have a false sense of security that his environment is safe at school because believe me even if his allergies were banned that still does NOT make it safe for him.

Instead we teach him to be aware of his surroundings himself, to always be on alert. We have worked with the school on awareness and epi training. Everyone knows him and his situation. The school has been very accommodating. My son carries his epi/benedryl everywhere he goes in his fanny pack. He carries wipes with him to use on tables/surfaces he is not familiar with. He washes his hand constantly. Is this alot to ask of a 7 year old? Yes, but to him that is just the way it is. He doesn't know any different.....he has had these allergies all his life yet still leads a very normal life despite his allergies. He does not feel sorry for himself.

I say all this to say that I understand where these commentors are coming from....what I don't understand is the rudeness and maliciousness behind them....that is uncalled for in any situation.

I just wanted to share our story. Definitely a hot topic with many varying views and no easy answer.

Laura

Dr. de Asis said...

Thanks for the post, as an allergist I can see there's a need for more food allergy education in CT. Here in NY, the schools have been peanut free for several years now.
I have posted info, recommendations, and resources on my blog(www.allergyasthmasource.com) on this topic for anyone who's interested

Tammy said...

his is incredible, as I am reading these comments most of the horrific, I am thankful that here where I live in Maryland that most people have respect for the deals of food allergies and their potential dangers. The people who made the comments that were unfeeling, unwarranted and as a parent I am surprise if they are parents too that they would express themselves in that fashion...what is wrong with you is right is there no heart in your bodies...what if it was your child, you would do, say and act in anyway fassit to make sure your child was safe from any harm. My son is almost 13 years old and has had to deal with alot of different people with regards to his severe life threatening allergies. I would have thought with how the world is changing that there would be more compasion...shame on you!

Tammy

Anonymous said...

This IS TO ALL THE IGNORANT PEOPLE WHO THINK ITS OK TO SEND IN PEANUT PRODUCTS INTO ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS WHATS WRONG WITH YOU IDIOTS CHILDREN CAN DIE GET IT DIE !!!!
CHILDREN WHO EAT PBJ'S WONT DIE WITHOUT EATING IT FOR 6 HOURS BUT CHILDREN WHO HAVE THE PEANUT/NUT ALLERGIES CAN DO U IGNORANT PEOPLE GET THAT THEY CAN STOP BREATHING IF A CHILD DIES FROM ACCIDENTAL PEANUT INTAKE AND THE SCHOOL'S STAFF ARE AWARE OF THE ALLERGIES THEN IT WOULDNT BE A ACCIDENT ITS CALLED PURE IGNORANCE IF YOU DONT PROTECT YOUR CHILD WHO WILL ITS GOOD TO HAVE PARENTS FIGHT FOR THERE KIDS WITH ALLERGIES UNTIL THERE OLD ENOUGH TO PROTECT THEMSELVES IM BURNING INSIDE OVER SOME OF THE COMMENTS MADE BY IDIOTS JUST STUPID PEOPLE THE PARENTS WHO CHOOSE TO SEND IN PEANUT PRODUCTS ARENT JUST IDIOTS THERE LAZY IDIOTS PROBABLY TRASHY PEOPLE TO ALL THE PARENTS WHO ARE FIGHTING FOR THERE KIDS KEEP DOING IT THINGS DO GET EASIER AS THEY GET OLDER I KNOW IM A SURVIVOR FROM THE PEANUT ALLERGY AND STILL GOING