Food Allergies

1 Kid Has Peanut Allergy, School Takes Drastic Steps

| by Mark Berman Opposing Views

Parents of children at a school in Florida say officials there are going overboard to protect one child who has a peanut allergy.

According to a report in the Daily Mail, the girl's allergy is severe -- her mother said if the six-year-old comes in contact with even a trace of a nut, she will die.

"We're not talking about she will break out in a rash. We are talking about she will die, stop breathing," Tracey Bailey told the Fox station in Orlando.

So officials at Edgewater Elementary School in Edgewater, Florida came up with a series of steps that must be taken. They include making all students in the girl's class rinse out their mouths and wash their hands before coming into class and after lunch, continually wiping down desks with Clorox wipes, banning outside food for parties, and bringing a peanut-sniffing dog onto school grounds. And, of course, no peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

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"You can't take peanut butter and jelly away or any right away from my child. You can't do that," Yvonne Daniel, the parent of another child in the class, said at a protest outside of the school.

The parents are angry that such drastic steps are being taken to protect one child. They also claim all of the precautions are taking time away from the education of their children.

"On average, it’s probably taking a good 30 minutes out of the day," parent Carrie Starkey said. "That’s my child’s education. Thirty minutes could be a whole subject."

Nancy Wait, spokeswoman for Volusia County Schools, said the school is legally obliged to take the precautions under the Federal Disabilities Act.

"It would be the same thing as putting a handicap ramp for a student that is physically disabled. The only difference with this is that is affects other students," Wait said. "It is an inconvenience and it might seem like it's a bit overboard, but it's what is medically necessary for a particular student and has been signed off on by a physician."

The girl's father apologized for having his daughter's problems inflicted on other students, but he said the measures are necessary to protect her.

"We've fought very hard to put certain things in place to keep her alive in school," David Bailey said. "She's already a cast-out. She can't do things that most kids can do. I would love everything to be normal and everyone else to have a normal life."