No, I’m not referring to all the squirrels gathering for the Winter, or the facts that America is going nuts over this healthcare crap. However, this is a serious issue and one I can definitely relate to. Nut allergies. I, myself, am allergic to peanuts & pine nuts.
A recent meeting with the Wayne Board of Ed had parents asking for stricter rules where the consumption of nuts is at issue, mainly, lunch hour. Currently, at one of the elementary schools in town (we have 9), children with nut allergies must sit at a separate table with only one of their friends permitted to sit with them. This will create more of a stigma for the child then allowing them to sit at a table where many friends are enjoying each others company. In today’s society, any child who is considered “different” is open to harassment & bullying. Children of elementary school age, who may not realize the risks to other children, can not be expected to understand “Johnny can’t have peanut butter”. Education within the schools is crucial but not effective in younger children.
While researching other districts in the area to see if they have a policy regarding food allergies, specifically nuts, I came across the letter that was sent out to Hawthorne parents whose children attend Roosevelt Elementary. They laid out the following guidelines:
- If the classroom has a daily snack time, please send your child in with a nut-free snack. It is fine to send these products for lunch, which is eaten in the cafeteria.
- We will not be doing any classroom projects that involve peanut butter (like bird feeders) or peanut shells (art projects). Please do not send any of these projects into the classroom with you child.
- During holiday parties, please do not enclose candy or other treats with holiday cards.
- We have reviewed with the students the importance of washing their hands thoroughly after eating a peanut/tree nut product for lunch. This is to protect anyone with a food allergy who might be exposed to traces of food which could be transferred from hands to objects such as chairs/table/recess balls and could cause a severe allergic, life-threatening reaction.
- Similarly, if your child ate peanut butter for breakfast, we would greatly appreciate your making sure that his/her hands are washed with soap and water before leaving for school and that no traces of peanut butter are on their clothing.
- Children are not allowed to share food at school, please stress the importance of this with your child as well.
Do you have enough time in the morning to make sure your child washes their hands with soap and water after eating peanut butter for breakfast? What about brushing their teeth? If you’re like most families today, you’re rushing out the door just to get the kids to school! And why is it ok to have nuts at lunch time but not at snack time? if a child is going to share with a friend, and they will even if you tell them not to, it really makes no difference on the time of day.
It’s not really a big deal to implement a “No Nut Zone” in a school building. It could save a child’s life.
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