Keeping Allergic Students Safe

Food-borne allergies in children are becoming more common. What should be done to protect them at school? Should there be limits?

Food allergies in children have become more noticeable and serious. They doubled during one five-year period, according to a study cited on the website of the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network.

To protect a girl with life-threatening peanut allergies, a Florida elementary required her classmates to wash their hands and rinse out their mouths before entering the classroom each morning and after lunch. Frustrated parents suggested the girl's parents homeschool her.

Q: What do you feel are appropriate requests for all students to abide by when dealing with a food allergy?

Read what the Canton-Sixes Patch Moms Council had to say, then add your own suggestions in the comment field below this article.

A: I truly feel for parents who have a child with a food allergy. I don't think there is anyone who wants a child in harm's way. This year, my son's teacher has emphasized not sharing food. I think it's important for children to understand the risks. They don't want their friend to get sick.

I also don't have an issue with my children making an extra stop into the restroom after lunch to wash their hands. I think asking that in-the-classroom snacks be peanut free is acceptable.

However, suggesting that students use mouthwash after eating (as they did in Florida) is too extreme. We can do our best to minimize risks, but there will never be a sterile environment.

Melissa Holder, mother of two

A: I count my blessings everyday that I don't have children with food allergies. As a substitute teacher in the , I have seen the length parents will go to keep their children safe from harm. Fortunately for them, I think CCSD does a good job keeping students with severe food allergies away from their classmates at lunchtime. Teachers are even made aware of the situation so they can take the necessary precautions. Honestly, I think that is enough for any school district to abide by. If a parent asks for more than separation and hand washing, I think the parent should consider homeschooling. 

Leslie Olejnik, mother of two

Melissa Frasure September 07, 2011 at 01:17 PM
I am so grateful to not have kids with food allergies. I feel for the parents that do. I have no problem with not sending these items into school when a child in the class has a severe allergy to something. My children weren’t able to take anything with peanuts to school all during kindergarten. They would ask for a peanut butter and jelly sandwich at least once a month and I would just explain to them the situation then they were fine for a little while. I also think that asking the students to wash their hands is appropriate. However, rising out with mouthwash at school seems a little over the top. If the least I can do is not send in any of a certain item to help a child from having to deal with a severe allergic reaction that that is perfectly fine with me. Melissa Frasure, mother of two


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