A mother pulled her young daughter out of school recently because the school failed to accommodate her severe dairy and egg allergies. The mother, Lynne Glover, says she struggled with school authorities for years to work around her daughter’s allergies, but the child’s needs were never met. Now, Glover has filed an official complaint.
“It all comes down to children having the right to a barrier-free education and to be safe,” Glover said. “The Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic District School Board has a perfectly good policy in place, which is what I want implemented. That’s what I asked for.”
Glover’s daughter, six-year-old Elodie Glover, has had nine episodes of anaphylactic shock in her short life. Until Holy Name of Jesus Catholic Elementary School is willing to reduce her daughter’s exposure to her allergens, Glover can’t bear the thought of putting her daughter at risk for a tenth attack.
“She was in her classroom with her classmates, while they eat her allergens around her,” she said. “It’s terrifying. Any parent with a food-allergic child knows the feeling. If a child showed up with a peanut butter sandwich, they wouldn’t be allowed to sit in the classroom and eat it. If somebody showed up to Elodie’s classroom with a cheese sandwich, then they just sat at their desk and ate it.”
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To be fair, the school did make efforts to work around Elodie’s allergies. They switched to Roma pizza – a style of pizza without cheese – on pizza days. They temporarily suspended the school’s milk program this fall, and a letter was also sent home to parents telling them about Elodie’s allergies.
But when a child is allergic to two things found in almost every food, drastic measures are needed. Think for a second about how many of the foods you consume everyday contain some form of milk, egg, or cheese. Glover claims she is not looking for an entirely allergy free environment, just an accommodating one.
“I’m not looking for a guaranteed allergy-free environment because I know it’s not possible,” she said. “But reasonable accommodations that fall in line with our doctor’s diagnosis is just plain common sense.”
The school declined to comment on the case.