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Wednesday, March 14, 2007

It Takes A Village - Peanut Terrorists

I just read a excellent yet disturbing article about the challenges that can face our allergic children in schools. It is one of the most comprehensive articles I have read to date on food allergy. One section of the article talked about how other parents and other kids can react in a very hostile and dangerous fashion to those who have allergies. Here are a few excerpts ... what are these people thinking?

"a parent of a nonallergic child announced at a PTO meeting that he'd continue sending his child to the elementary school with peanut butter sandwiches and tell his child to "smear" the peanut butter along the hallway walls."

What message does that send to the child of that astute parent?

"Snarky comments about the "peanut police" pepper blogs and online message boards. "We are considering dressing our daughter on Halloween as 'The Death Peanut,'" one parent joked."

Indeed. Forgive me if I do not join you in laughter.

"At the middle school, a teacher brought in a homemade casserole containing nuts and invited the allergic boy to eat it; when he said he couldn't because of his allergies, she had him stand outside the classroom (in the cold) while the other students ate. This child was also taunted and bullied by other students in the cafeteria, including one who refused to move from a peanut-free lunch table and ate a peanut butter sandwich—which resulted in the boy's suffering an extreme allergic reaction that landed him in the hospital"

This article just left me frightened. I could not conceive of intentionally jeopardizing the health and safety of any child. That is just twisted. Will we really have to go through this? Let's hope that these people are truly at the fringes and that the majority of parents take a safer, 'saner' approach.

According to Connie Weil, PhD, a psychologist at Children's Memorial in Chicago, severe food allergy is a "chronic illness, but it's a hidden illness, so it's misperceived by society." While that neatly summarizes the underlying issue, misperception is one thing but terrorizing allergic children is shocking even if extremely rare.

Though our being aware of these scenarios makes our daughter safer, I actually wish I never read that article.


Growing in Grace (Nicole) said...

Yeah, sometimes knowledge like that is just really disturbing. Hoping that never happens to our kids. What is wrong with those people?

daisy said...

Well try not to get to upset with this. Parents worry their children may get abducted one day at school but where would that get us? I believe that children growing up with severe allergies should engrain into their heads that if there is no label you simply do not eat it! Then many things will be covered for "not knowing"!
This story is disturbing and certainly reinforces the fact that prevention explores all avenues proposing a risk for your child. It is reminding me of how I preach No Trans Fat. If there is no label chances are you could be eating trans fat which is killing us!!!!!

NoPeanuts said...

My approach: it is what it is. It is not our job as parents to avoid these things ... we just have prepare for the worst and ensure that we are ready. I don't know how those people live with themselves. It's appalling.