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Should peanut butter be banned in schools?

post #1 of 87
Thread Starter 
My younger daughter's preschool has totally banned all nuts, peanuts, nut butters, and anything containing them from the schools. They don't do lunch checks but trust parents to just not send anything having any degree of nuts.

My older daughter is in middle school now and I don't know what rules they have because very few people there bring lunch - most including my daughter get hot lunch, but the elementary school she was going to had a lot of nut and peanut allergies but didn't ban anything. According to a newsletter, they said they felt that it might make kids with allergies relax thinking that nuts were banned so everything was safe, but because there were too many kids to really trust that everyone was going to be conscious and careful and not bring anything with nuts, it was better to allow them and make sure kids with allergies remained on alert as far as snacks, birthday treats, etc. go. They have nut free tables at the cafeteria and those they do monitor very very carefully. They said they'd rather have only areas actually within their control be called "nut free." They can't control the whole school so they don't claim it is nut free or attempt to make it be nut free.

I don't know what the best method is. I have gone back and forth on this. I'm fine with not bringing anything related to nuts, though my younger one is picky and one of the few healthy/proteiny things I can pack that won't go bad and she'll eat is nuts. But I am managing to not send anything with nuts so it's working OK, and I'd rather have the inconvenience then risk anyone having an allergic reaction due to her lunch.

I don't know if the school that allows nuts is just claiming it's safer to allow them and remain on alert and control those areas they can, or if that was just an excuse to allow nuts. I can see both potentials there.

What do your kids' schools do? What do you think is the best way to handle nuts and peanuts when it's such a common and dangerous allergy?
post #2 of 87
My oldest went to a nut free kindergarten. Now my kids are in a school that allows nuts. Personally, I think the nut free table is better then the nut free school. My 2nd child won't eat a meat and cheese sandwich if that's all I have to send. He takes peanut butter every day. Anything else just comes home uneaten.
post #3 of 87

My son went to a school with a nut-free class and lunch table. The girl that needed it wasn't in his grade and so it didn't effect him but we would not have complained (sunflower butter isn't so bad an alternative.)

 

At my kids youth theatre, there are a couple severe cases. When they are in a show, no peanut butter is allowed. Other things can have nuts as long as they are labeled (and the kids really know what to look for) but the peanut butter has a tendency to just spread onto everything. It's not been difficult even on days when meals are provided. 

post #4 of 87
My son's classroom is nut free owing to the fact that he has a classmate or two with nut allergies. The lunch room isn't nut free but there is a nut free table.
Maybe they banned it in preschool because preschoolers aren't that mindful yet when they eat and poses a higher risk of contaminating each other's lunch?
post #5 of 87
My LOs kindy (she starts next Jan) is peanut free. The children all eat together so it would be very difficult and exclusionary to have a nut-free table. There are only 22 kids in the class so the poor little nut-free soul would probably be sitting alone. And them there would be the issue of kid having peanut butter on their hands or clothes and it getting onto play equipment etc.

I don't know how it is enforced but the teachers eat with the kids so I guess they keep an eye on what is in the lunch boxes and mention it to the parents if any peanuts creep in. I imagine that there is not an allergic child in every intake so a learning curve for new parents is acceptable.
post #6 of 87
Older DD brings a peanut butter sandwich to school several times a week. Kids eat in their classrooms, and are welcome to bring in whatever they want to eat for lunch.

Younger DD is allergic to peanuts. Her pre-school frequently serves peanut butter, giving her a nut-free alternative.
post #7 of 87

This is a tough one for me, but after some thought I have no problem with elementary schools banning nuts on account of the youth and lack of experience of the kids.  Jr. high and up, though, I would assume those kids with allergies should know how to take precautions for themselves

post #8 of 87
I don't mind schools being nut free establishments if there's a child with a known life threatening allergy to them in the school. However, I'd wonder how the parents plan on protecting their child outside of the home and a nut free school. Not every place is going to be nut free in their lives
:/
post #9 of 87
I think nut free tables are a MUCH better solution. It's not right to ban something for all kids, just because some are allergic.
post #10 of 87

They should be be completely banned when there is a known case of severe allergy. Residues on hands and toys could be deadly to some kids. My daughter reacts to walnut oil on things. I am so scared of the possibility that a child will eat nuts and then touch her or that someone (at school or in a home) will treat their furniture with walnut oil; that would be a nightmare because it would linger a long time and be difficult to find the source. My daughter isn't in school yet, but I know she will go to the school her sister is at currently and they eat a ton of walnuts there. I have hinted that that will need to change when younger sister comes there, but I wonder if I should get more serious about it now even though it is 2 years away. Older daughter is instructed to avoid walnuts so she doesn't bring the residues home. Staff within the school has told me that our state doesn't allow epipens to be held in teachers care, this is crazy to me.


Edited by mmjones - 11/19/13 at 2:30pm
post #11 of 87
NO offense intended, but you CANNOT reasonably expect hundreds of people to change what they do for your kid. If teachers really can't have custody of an epi pen in your state, you probably need to consider homeschooling or getting that regulation changed. You can't cushion your child from the world, and it is unfair of you to expect everyone to change what they do to accomodate her. Now, flame away!
post #12 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by heathernj View Post

NO offense intended, but you CANNOT reasonably expect hundreds of people to change what they do for your kid. If teachers really can't have custody of an epi pen in your state, you probably need to consider homeschooling or getting that regulation changed. You can't cushion your child from the world, and it is unfair of you to expect everyone to change what they do to accomodate her. Now, flame away!

Agree.

post #13 of 87
My 4 yr old is allergic to peanuts. So far all of his preschools/daycares have been nut free. It is nice with preschoolers, they are messy eaters after all. The teachers carry his epi-pen. When he starts school next year, nuts are still banned I think but he will need to carry his own epi-pen. His picture will be displayed along with allergen & instruction. I would be nervous about kids younger than 8 in a school where nuts are allowed. Young kids will believe other kids who tell them that this snack is ok even though it isn't.

But I don't necessarily agree with the no nuts policy. Sabrina's Law was passed in Ontario, Canada after a dairy allergic teen died after eating fries at the school cafeteria. She did her homework & was given the ok to eat there. However, she did not tell the server of her allergy & her fries were served with the same utensil as the poutine. Her epi-pen was in her locker.

Now in Ontario all children that have an epi-pen must have it on their person at all times. All staff know who has allergies & how to use an epi-pen & when to use it. Extra epi-pens are available in the school. I know of one child that was saved by this law & she didn't know she was allergic to anything. Luckily her teacher recognized an anaphylactic reaction & acted quickly.

I haven't heard of any schools banning milk.

Living with a nut allergy means learning to deal with disappointment & calculated risks.
post #14 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by mcoreen 




Now in Ontario all children that have an epi-pen must have it on their person at all times. All staff know who has allergies & how to use an epi-pen & when to use it. Extra epi-pens are available in the school. I know of one child that was saved by this law & she didn't know she was allergic to anything. Luckily her teacher recognized an anaphylactic reaction & acted quickly.

Is it realistic to expect the child to be responsible to have the pen on their person at all times? Wouldn't it be easier to equip the teachers? Seems crazy to leave it up to kids. "Oops well you left your epi pen back in the classroom, guess you are out of luck honey?"

post #15 of 87

Peanut butter is one of those things that can get messy and get smeared easily, so I can understand it being banned (or at the very least, a peanut free table designated) if there is an allergy. I also agree that once a child is old enough to understand their condition and carry an epipen responsibly, the schools should allow peanut butter and other allergens (there are so many!). Middle school would be the youngest...high school would be better. All schools should have back up epipens in the office, and every staff member should be aware of the situation. Hopefully the child will wear a bracelet or something. People don't realize how severe some cases are...just the peanut dust alone can cause someone to react.

 

Sadly, I read of a case of a girl who had a peanut cracker crumbled on her on a school bus and she had to be hospitalized. The kids who did it knew she had an allergy.

post #16 of 87
I have a 22 year old daughter & I recall the PB allergic kids eating by themselves in a peanut-free room in elementary school. I also recall sending peanut-free treats for her birthday to share. It didn't bother me to do this - and I didn't think much of it.

Last month our 18 month old was diagnosed with a severe peanut allergy. After reading the literature from the doctor about this allergy, I understand the need for peanut-free environments for elementary/preschool children. A peanut allergy is NOT like a seasonal allergy - take some benadryl & get relief. A child without an epinephrine (adrenaline) shot can DIE within minutes after peanut butter exposure - even a minute amount. The parent of a peanut allergic child isn't some hyper, over-reactive spaz who wants special treatment for their little brat...it is ignorant of parents of a non-allergic small child be permitted to eat PB when it could KILL another child. It's PB, not oxygen.

I had to reiterate to our DD grandparents a PB allergy isn't merely a seasonal allergy. The reaction is deadly with PB. I wasn't being over-reactive. It is scary. Our DD could die from PB/PB exposure/PB cross-contamination.

I am sure other parents with PB-allergic children don't look forward to the eye-rolling & negative reactions from parents of classmates. I would suggest parents of non-allergic children get educated before judging. I do know children like to feel helpful & do the right thing. If a parent of a picky eater explained why Susie-Q, or Davey-J, cannot eat/be around PB, maybe they would try another food if it meant keeping their PB-allergic friend safe. Unlike some callous adults, children normally care about each other.

Our DD, my husband nor I did anything, or wanted, this type of life-threatening reaction/allergy to such a simple thing as peanut butter. But we do want our child to feel safe in school, just like every parent.

So to the person who suggested a PB-allergic parent homeschool/get the law changed...use your brain & try to have compassion for a child other than yours. Not eating peanut butter to protect someone's life is reasonable. Your suggestion is not.
post #17 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by rgill0522 View Post

I have a 22 year old daughter & I recall the PB allergic kids eating by themselves in a peanut-free room in elementary school. I also recall sending peanut-free treats for her birthday to share. It didn't bother me to do this - and I didn't think much of it.

Last month our 18 month old was diagnosed with a severe peanut allergy. After reading the literature from the doctor about this allergy, I understand the need for peanut-free environments for elementary/preschool children. A peanut allergy is NOT like a seasonal allergy - take some benadryl & get relief. A child without an epinephrine (adrenaline) shot can DIE within minutes after peanut butter exposure - even a minute amount. The parent of a peanut allergic child isn't some hyper, over-reactive spaz who wants special treatment for their little brat...it is ignorant of parents of a non-allergic small child be permitted to eat PB when it could KILL another child. It's PB, not oxygen.

I had to reiterate to our DD grandparents a PB allergy isn't merely a seasonal allergy. The reaction is deadly with PB. I wasn't being over-reactive. It is scary. Our DD could die from PB/PB exposure/PB cross-contamination.

I am sure other parents with PB-allergic children don't look forward to the eye-rolling & negative reactions from parents of classmates. I would suggest parents of non-allergic children get educated before judging. I do know children like to feel helpful & do the right thing. If a parent of a picky eater explained why Susie-Q, or Davey-J, cannot eat/be around PB, maybe they would try another food if it meant keeping their PB-allergic friend safe. Unlike some callous adults, children normally care about each other.

Our DD, my husband nor I did anything, or wanted, this type of life-threatening reaction/allergy to such a simple thing as peanut butter. But we do want our child to feel safe in school, just like every parent.

So to the person who suggested a PB-allergic parent homeschool/get the law changed...use your brain & try to have compassion for a child other than yours. Not eating peanut butter to protect someone's life is reasonable. Your suggestion is not. Grow up!

The same issues can come up at the park. At the store. With any random kid you might encounter. If my kid had an allergy that severe I would definitely homeschool. Can't make the whole world ban nuts.

post #18 of 87
I am glad my post helped you understand the serious nature of a food allergy, micah_mae_.
post #19 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by rgill0522 View Post

I am glad my post helped you understand the serious nature of a food allergy, micah_mae_.


I don't doubt she understands it.  But if I interpreted her point correctly, she simply meant that more often than not the individual and the family must take steps to proactive.

 

According to your post, peanut butter ought to be full-out made extinct. 

 

I found micah's post realistic.  I fully support peanut-free elementary schools, but if it's not available, you must do what you must.  If you worry about your child interacting with an allergen, you need to do what you must to protect your child--keep them at home, for example.

post #20 of 87
already understood how severe these allergies can be. It is STILL not reasonable for a parent to expect 400 other people to modify their behavior for one kid. What I said is essentially the same thing Micah said. Your kid could run into a peanut ANYWHERE--INCLUDING at a peanut-banned school. What if the kid whose coat hangs next to your daughter's had a handful of peanuts at some outdoor event over the weekend and accidentally left some in his coat pocket, or something similar? It's just not that unlikely. Until a child so severely allergic is old enough to be custodian of her own epi pen, she is much safer at home!
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