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:
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:
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".
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".
“I like the cut of your jib.”
Joined: Feb 24, 2007
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".
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".
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.