A few months ago I received an alert in JD’s cubby at school. The administrator had declared his classroom nut-free, because a new student has a severe peanut allergy. This didn’t bother me in slightest. I’ve offered JD PB&J and knock-on-wood he doesn’t appear to be allergic, but he also doesn’t appear to like it either. (He prefers turkey and American cheese or salami and provolone on wheat.) I never send nuts to school and by that I mean, cookies or granola bars with nuts. I felt really bad reading the alert, because I have two mom friends with kids who also have severe allergic reactions to nuts. My one friend’s kid’s ears turned into cauliflowers when she ate a cashew! They can’t leave home without an EpiPen and keep them stored in cars, purses and at grandparents’ houses. I became friendly with the mom of the little girl with the peanut allergy in JD’s school and I really, sincerely feel for her.
At a Halloween party a few months back, she was scared to let her daughter eat any of the desserts because she wasn’t sure if there were trace amounts of nuts in the baked goods. Some may consider this crazy, but I consider myself to be a very proactive (not crazy!) mom who is always ready to protect my kid. When JD smacked his head playing, we went to the ER. He was fine. When he got hurt at daycare, I sent my dad to check on him—he had a black eye, but otherwise was fine. All of his teachers and coaches know his Dad isn't around, because I told them and didn't want JD to ever be in a situation where one of them brought "Daddy" up to him. Sometimes I still shadow him on the jungle gym. This is me protecting my child. I cannot even imagine how I would feel if I thought his throat would close up if he accidentally ingested a nut, or in some cases smelled a nut, or a kid eating a PB&J touched him. I am getting anxious just thinking about it. I'd be at work and he'd be in pain. OMG.
That’s why I think the parents at this Edgewater Elementary School, part of the Volusia County School District in DeLand, Fla should chill out. They picketed against making their kids wash their hands after eating, because if traces of nuts were on their hands, one of their classmates could go into severe shock. It’s not like the school banned nuts!
One mom says: "We understand that they need to protect this girl, but these measures are just extreme. Procedures need to be set in place, but not procedures that will take away from our children's education."
The school fired back saying, “The teachers in the two classrooms affected have the process down to a science. Girls and boys line up at separate sinks and wash their hands and faces as efficiently as possible,” says district spokesperson, Nancy Wait.
Here’s what I’m saying: What if it were your kid? Your kid who could go into shock, have her throat close up—break out in hives? Walk a mile in this kid’s parents’ shoes. I’m on their side. I even made sure JD’s oatmeal-raisin granola bars didn’t contain trace amounts of nuts after the alert. If they did, I’d stop packing them in his lunch bag.
Where do you stand on this debate? Do you think the parents are right to be angry? Do you agree that the kids should wash their hands and faces not only to help their classmate out, but, gee, to nix the spread of germs? Please share!