Debate Centers On Boy's Peanut Allergy

Debate Centers On Boy's Peanut Allergy

There are 365 comments on the Hartford Courant story from Apr 8, 2007, titled Debate Centers On Boy's Peanut Allergy. In it, Hartford Courant reports that:

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 ...

Join the discussion below, or Read more at Hartford Courant.

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Teacher

Chicopee, MA

#1 Apr 8, 2007
As a teacher, is there any point that we say "Enough is enough." I'm not trying to say that we shouldn't educate this child. Teachers are expected to be caregivers, teachers, parents, doctors, and now "policers of food." It is extremely difficult for me to teach your children when I have all of the extra things that go beyond just teaching. Everyone complains about test scores. How about letting teachers be teachers and not all the extra things that you don't do at home.
Linda

Bradenton, FL

#2 Apr 8, 2007
Sorry, but I don't see banning peanut butter in schools. It's discriminatory toward all the youngsters who like this food product - and they far outweigh one individual. While I am sympathetic toward the one child and his family, it's really a kind of punishment to the rest of the student body. Besides, peanut butter is better for a child than candy and soda.
Sam

Old Lyme, CT

#3 Apr 8, 2007
This has to be one of the more ridiculous things I have heard of being brought before a school board.
Kate

United States

#4 Apr 8, 2007
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.
Suzie

Windsor, CT

#5 Apr 8, 2007
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.
Tom R

Newington, CT

#6 Apr 8, 2007
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.
Empathy

Ellington, CT

#7 Apr 8, 2007
Peanut allergies can range from irritations to lethal reactions in children and adults. Several schools have "Peanut-Free" tables in the cafeteria that create a safe environment for these students. Sometimes that's not enough.

Some children's peanut allergies are so severe that merely being near peanuts can send them into shock. Touching a door knob previously touched by a child who ate a PB&J sandwich can send them into shock, and kill them. This is a lethal allergy.

I empathize with parents of a child with severe food allergies. Their worry extends to every public situation, and all foods. Imagine trying to teach your 6 year-old which types of snacks they have to stay away from - even which brands of potato chips - because they're made in a plant that uses peanuts. This is a daily fight to keep their child alive. I can understand the desire for a normal education, for the child's school to be a comforting and secure place. Don't we all want that for our children?

If the school cannot provide a safe environment for this student (which I agree would be an enormous undertaking), they should offer alternatives. This effects more than just him - I'm sure the death of this youngster would devastate his classmates - especially those who might realize their sandwiches and snacks could have been the culprit.

Empathize with this family, and let's find alternatives so their child may be educated and kept safe. Peanut allergies are a growing allergy, there will be other children in the same situation. Think of the potential each of these children has for us to nurture and encourage.

Since: Feb 07

United States

#8 Apr 8, 2007
The parents should be thanking their lucky stars that the kid wasn't born with Downs Syndrome, 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.
G W Carver

Naugatuck, CT

#9 Apr 8, 2007
Parents can feed their children healthier food than peanut butter which gets 75% of it's calories from fat.
Jane

AOL

#10 Apr 8, 2007
While I can sympathize with this mother as my son has allergies, I don't think the school should ban peanut butter. I think they should take steps to make a safer environment for her son but banning peanut butter is not the answer. Are they going to ban all the other substances that all other children are allergic to?
Jim Beam

Higganum, CT

#11 Apr 8, 2007
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.
Tiffany Lockshire

Bolton, CT

#12 Apr 8, 2007
My heart goes out to this mom. My toddler has a moderate peanut allery. It poses enough of a problem that she needs an epipen. I have the same fears that i see presented in this article. As for Mr James Garofolo on the school board, it tisnt that this allergy can cause harm, it is that it can KILL anyone with this allergy! Why do you think most airlines dont serve peanuts anymore? Some peoples allergies are so sensitive that even the particles floating in the air will set it off. Next time you eat something take a look at the ingredients panel. It if doesnt have peanuts or tree nuts in it, it was made on shared machinery that makes food with nuts in it. This is a very difficult allergy to deal with. My heart goes out to all that deal with this potentially fatal allergy.
Tiffany Lockshire

Bolton, CT

#13 Apr 8, 2007
darwins dead. these kids have the right for life. remember your words when you have a child or a loved one of yours has a child. do you or a loved one have asthma or exzema? guess what. asthma. exzema and nut allergies are they same thing presented in different parts of the body. as a allergist doctor. an allergy isnt a disability, it doesnt need a bubble. It needs careful vigilance. As parents, we entrust our childrens well being into school officials hands 5 days a week. yes, we expect them to care as much as we do. thats their job. thats what they get paid for. its their job to er burdened , as you put it, with our childrens welfare. thank goodness you are not a teacher! in stead of being so ignorant, maybe you should try some compassion. granted yes, everyone has a right to their opinion. so, in that case, i just gave you mt opinion of your opinion.
Johnny Jazz wrote:
The parents should be thanking their lucky stars that the kid wasn't born with Downs Syndrome, 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.
oh well

Windsor Locks, CT

#14 Apr 8, 2007
If the child's allergies are so severe then do not expose him to the site..since when did the needs of the few out weigh the needs of the many?

Homeschool.
mac

Shelton, CT

#15 Apr 8, 2007
It is the parents' job to educate their child what they cannot eat and what to stay away from. It might be helpful if any parent with a child who has an allergy also educates that child's teacher on how to deal with the situation if their child fails to learn the lessons that the parents taught him or her. The rights of the few are not more important than the rights of the majority.
Joseph

Monson, MA

#16 Apr 8, 2007
Tiffany Lockshire wrote:
darwins dead. these kids have the right for life. remember your words when you have a child or a loved one of yours has a child. do you or a loved one have asthma or exzema? guess what. asthma. exzema and nut allergies are they same thing presented in different parts of the body. as a allergist doctor. an allergy isnt a disability, it doesnt need a bubble. It needs careful vigilance. As parents, we entrust our childrens well being into school officials hands 5 days a week. yes, we expect them to care as much as we do. thats their job. thats what they get paid for. its their job to er burdened , as you put it, with our childrens welfare. thank goodness you are not a teacher! in stead of being so ignorant, maybe you should try some compassion. granted yes, everyone has a right to their opinion. so, in that case, i just gave you mt opinion of your opinion. <quoted text>
In the real world - as an "allergist doctor" as you claim to be what 3rd world country did you get your degree from? It is unfortunate your language and writing skills are lacking.

“Fallen Angel”

Since: Jan 07

New England

#17 Apr 8, 2007
Reading this thread, I am shocked and disappointed at the lack of compassion and willingness to accomodate others with a life-threatening condition. I have been dealing with this more than any of you here in the sense that my son is in this boy's class and just Thursday they sent home a Grape-Nuts snack bar with the note on it to be more careful as it was made in a plant that processes peanuts. I have been very careful about not sending in foods made with nuts but didn't realize even foods made on nut-processing equipment also is dangerous. Additionaly, because I am raising my son vegetarian, I have even fewer easy lunch and snack options than most or all of the posters above who are so quick to tell the child "you can't go to your neighborhood school because we don't care enough about you to avoid peanut foods in your classroom and cafeteria." Nonetheless, I am willing to keep all peanut foods out of my son's lunch box --it is such a trivial sacrifice considering the stakes for his classmate. In this case, the school should ban peanut foods as a trivial accomodation so this child can go to school with his peers and be safe.
Kate wrote:
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.
And what private school is that? I have never heard of a private school organized around peanut allergies --they are organized around religious principles or as college-prep schools with special academic emphasis. All children have the right to a free, public, appropriate education in this country --is it really a better solution to make the taxpayers pay the added costs of transportation to such an imaginary school, or more likely, the costs of sending teachers to a homebound student that needn't be such if only peanuts were kept out of school?

“Fallen Angel”

Since: Jan 07

New England

#18 Apr 8, 2007
Kate wrote:
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.
"Why make everyone else suffer?" How much suffering are we really asking them to endure? Are people that selfish that they cannot give up peanuts in school so this boy won't be confronted with a fatal environment?

This doesn't negate teaching the child how to cope, the mother will still have to teach him to be careful because there is always the possibility of someone else mistakenly or brazenly violating the peanut ban. But it will make the school 99% safer, a worthy upgrade if you have any consideration and respect for this child's life.
Kate wrote:
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.
And as a vegetarian family I would say this peanut ban has been particularly demanding of me, since my son loves peanut butter and as an autistic child is very picky in his eating habits. Still, we can accomodate his classmate and are glad to do so. The kid is worth more than our peanut butter.
Kate wrote:
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.
The mother is indeed doing her job. She teaches him every precaution. You're crazy to think she doesn't. Advocating for a peanut-free school environment is just the public aspect of her doing everything she can to protect his life. Why do you think it means she therefore must not be doing everything private to do so as well?

An interesting aside, I find it strange that the print edition of this article in yesterday's Waterbury Republican was longer than this version on-line at the Courant. What is the point of saving space on-line, where it seems to me the longest version of the article is most easily published?
Christy

Xenia, OH

#19 Apr 8, 2007
I think the first sentence is sugar- coating the issue. I don't think it pits "concerns" against the other students right to have peanut butter - it pits one student's right to be safe from a substance that could almost instantly kill him (in very small quatitites)against other student's right to have peanut butter in school. Nothing would prevent those students from eating peanut butter for breakfast, dinner, and all weekend if they chose to outside of school. In school we are talking about 5 meals out of 21 possible meals per week, not including snacks. Somehow, the right not to die at school does not seem at all in the same category as the right to eat a peanut butter sandwich.
Sarah

Groton, CT

#21 Apr 8, 2007
I have to agree with the majoity of people here I have a child with allergies and one with asthma and I would NEVER expect the school board to ban aything just because of my child. It is the parents responsibility to educate their own child and make eveyone aware at the school and how to handle it if anything happens during the time they are at school. Let's educate people on how to deal with a problem when it arrises not ban an entire community due to a few children of one of America's favorite foods.

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