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Readers Respond: Important Considerations For Banning Peanuts

Responses: 74

By

Updated August 21, 2009

The idea of banning peanuts from schools is not a new concept. Given that peanut allergy is common and possibly severe, and that accidental exposures to peanuts are common at school, parents of peanut-allergic children would be right to want to ban peanuts from schools. However, there are problems with such an idea. Share your thoughts, and read about others', about this controversial topic.

The "Real" World

In terms of cost, many inner-city schools have breakfast programs where children can get food without having to pay, and most often the breakfast is peanut-free in accordance with school regulations, so the financial point is moot. As well, about "preparing our children for the real world," realistically parents with children who have life-threatening allergies to peanuts will drill their child with protocol.
—Guest eT

Peanut Butter

I am a 30 year old mom of 3, ages 4,6 & 10. No of them have any known allergies, I have oodles of allergies. When I went to school no one needed to be aware of anyone elses allergies as this was their own worry or responsibility. Your children need to be aware of what problems they may come across as they NEED to know how to deal with them. Also, how do you expect their immune system to improve or get stronger if you are always keeping them in a bubble. More exposure to the world and what it contains provides your system a better fighting chance, you need to build an immune system. I have bad allergies to grass and trees and I have asthma, you think I could have told the school, you need to get rid of the trees ans grass because I can't breathe? Not happening the world is full of it. I need to build the immune system to survive. If you have a child with allergies, severe or not, the child needs to be educated by you, the school & world won't do it. Protect them by teaching them.
—Guest mom of 3

oh please

It is very frustrating when those parents say kids are spoiled because they only want PB & J. That's not it at all. I, as the parent, want my child to eat nuts. All nuts, not just peanut butter. And it's not just "7 hours a day" without nuts. It's 40+ hours a week, and obviously nuts are not a very good food for a family supper. The time to eat them is during the day. And why don't we ban every single thing that kids are allergic to? Also, I'm tired of "peanut parents" saying that if we want our kids to eat nuts we're selfish and ignorant. Maybe you are. Do you ever think about low income people? Do you ever think about kids getting food poisoning from bringing perishables to lunch? Do you ever think about people trying to keep their kids healthy, vegetarians for example? No, all you care about is the slight possibility that your kids might get sick. He wouldn't die! More kids die from lightning strikes than peanuts. You can't force the whole world to conform to what is best for you.
—Guest Stacy

Get Real

What about people having economic hardships right now? Peanut butter may be all they can afford! And what will these kids (who are allergic) do when they go off to college?? or get a job in the real world?? Will everything have to change around them to be nut free? I certainly do not want any of these allergic kids to have ANY kind of reaction, but I also do not think it is fair to all the other kids (and teachers)! What about the lactose intolerant kids?? They just 'miss out' on milk break, oh well, too bad for them?? What about the kids who are allergic to bee stings? or mold? or even paper?? Where does it end?? I think the kids with allergies (of any kind) need to start 'adjusting' to the 'real world' right away, to prepare them for what's ahead.
—Concerned.Parent

I want my rights back!!

My daughter is starting school today at the same school she has attended for 5 years. Only this year, they have declared the school "nut free", because 1 student has severe allergies. I understand this student has a right to a "free" education like other students, but how does that justify taking away my child's right to eat nuts? My daughter is a vegetarian, and most of her protein comes from nut sources. What's next? "Dairy, fish, soy, and egg free" schools? This is getting ridiculous. My older son has mental and emotional disabilities. I never once expected other students to sacrifice their rights for his sake!! This is America, and our rights our being stripped away, little by little. This is one parent who is going to stand up for mine, and my daughter's rights!
—Guest Mom of 3 (1 disabled)

And if your child can't read??

It is so sad to see how ignorant and careless people can be. A lot compare other allergies with the peanut one as if they were the same. My 5year old is allergic to many things but the one allergy that is really bad is his peanut... It can kill him! If his environmental allergy is causing a problem a bit of medicine can help... With peanut is much more severe, and serious ... Parents who are so heartless... Think about what you would want If your child had a severe allergy ...wouldn't you want protection for your child ? My son knows he can't have anything with peanuts, but he can't read labels yet and I am sure his fellow kindergarteners can't either ... So how would he know about the foods with hidden peanut ingredient... People are acting like their allergy free child would never consume it... They can have it at home... I would make the small sacrifice to save a persons life...
—Guest Mary

We'd do the same for you

I almost lost my guy once. He was at a preschool and took the chocolate kiss off the top of a peanut cookie. We rushed him to the hospital. He kept clearing his throat, his lips swelled so big. He kept grunting, saying "I'm trying to get the nuts out, mom." His eyes were swollen with hives on his lids. We got to the hospital 25 minutes after exposure and the doc said, "you just made it mom." I never want to feel that helpless and desperate again. I believe in raising self-sufficient children who can say no to peanuts or who will read labels, but sometimes they're too little for that kind of independence. Moms like me need the help and understanding of others. We can choose to avoid the mall or restaurant that may be a risk for him. We can't avoid school. If another food that caused a life-threating reaction like peanuts was banned from our school, I would happily adapt my child's lunch menu. No matter how convenient the food is to our family.
—Guest Fellow PA mom

Really? Should we? Think First!

If they ban the peanuts in school, but why don't they ban any flowers or bees and poison Ivies? Because there is alot of people who are allergic to that kind of stuffs. Look at my school we had a debate about this. If you are really allergic to that stuffs you should stay away from it. Yeah i know that saying that kids are kids. Like they act opposite of what they have been told. But what can we do? We just have to wish that they do follow what parents say. Also peanut free zone might be okay but think about your best friends eats Peanut Butter Jelly Sandwich so you can't sit together. So all you guys and me can do is hope for the best and if you are still worried, do put some meds inside your kids lunch box or back pack.
—Guest Chris in Korea

Parent

While my family does not have peanut allergies, I work in a school, and highly support the peanut free schools. Peanut allergies are on the rise and it is one of the main allergies that can be deadly to certain children with nut allergies. Almost every school year, I get a child who is allergic to nuts. Not all allergies have the possible reaction of anaphylactic shock so I am willing to go peanut free to help protect these kids . It is so easy for me to go 6 hours without peanuts. I am willing to sacrifice one easy food item for those poor families who have to worry 24 hours a day for possible peanut exposure. While older kids may be able to avoid it more easily, my little kids at the elementary level need more supervision. Obviously it is a big enough concern for so many schools to be turning peanut free. It's a small sacrifice for me to help those who will be provided a safer school day.
—Guest Kathleen

I am AWARE

Junkies are not just told "don't shoot up". They are provided with info to minimise the risks associates like don't share needles, use clean ones, dispose of needles in sharps boxes... Why then do we expect the issue of p/b in schools to be managed with "please don't bring this to school" I am a mother of 2 boys with severe milk and egg allergies and am vigilant in teaching them the practices that they will have to use for the rest of their life. I do not want peanuts banned and feel that it is irresponsible to do so. I also feel that it is lazy on the schools behalf because rather than develop a risk minimisation plan for my child relating to toilets, taps, lunch areas, etc I am told, "parents are asked not to bring it in, so there isn't any in the school, so we don't need to worry..." This is a load of Devlin! Self empowerment is the key, teaching our kids to be confident in identifying situations that may be dangerous and how to deal with that.
—Guest Mumof2

Rights to eat

I'm really dissapointed by all of the anger that seems to be aimed at people with allergies. Teaching your children to respect other peoples differences goes out the window if it interferes with your lunch preferences? Does everything have to be so extreme? Teach tolerance by showing tolerance, because you can never tell when it's your child who will need it.
—Guest flowerchic

Peanut Butter

A doctor who is a regular contributor to CBC radio and has his own radio show recently addressed the allergy issue. He spoke of the danger of removing the product in question from the public because one's immune system is built through exposure to a product. His concern was that in removing the product from public places, the means by which the immune system is built through exposure is no longer present. He expressed the concern that the result would be the masses coming down with allergies. He used peanut butter and the banning of this in schools as something that he questioned. In a community close to me, a mother recently began lobbying to take garlic out of schools because of her child's allergy to it. Already some schools here have banned fish. Garlic, peanut butter, and fish have high nutrient value. By banning these or restricting them, the population at large is a risk of developing allergies and denied nutritious food that keeps them healthy.
—Guest selina

peanut butter

There are people that can't have other food. They are making a big deal out of people who won't take care of there own kids, they waNT EVERYONE ELSE TOO. wHY ARE few running everyone elses budget. i sday lets have peanut butter back in the schools. Put the ones that can't have it at a differt table or room.
—Guest Nana

banning peanuts from schools

People people people... Do you realize how serious a peanut allergy can be? It is a disgrace that the 'peanut allergy' is looked upon as just another inconvenience, and as we all well know 'today's society' is about not being inconvenienced... People / parents against having peanut free schools should be ashamed of themselves,putting themselves ahead of a child's life only b/c they WANT to make P&J sandwiches for their child's lunch. I am in disbelief. Why is it against the law to drink and drive... oh maybe b/c it can harm someone and result in injuries or even death. Think about what you are promoting 'against' or 'for' before you take a stand... We as adults should be protecting our children at all costs. So if the cost is an inconvenience to some parents, so be it. Suck it up allergy free parents... treat others as you would like to be treated. More so consider yourself blessed not to have to deal with allergy and have some compassion for parents that do!
—Guest v

Banning Peanuts

Education should always be the number 1 priority. That notwithstanding, they should be banned from schools due to the severity of the average reaction of those who are peanut allergic as well as due to the high probably of cross contamination resulting from peanut butter and ther oils leaving a great deal of residue.
—Guest Belinda
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