School Peanut Restriction

News
Friday, March 25, 2011 - 1:39pm

Battle is brewing over school's policy to protect a child's severe peanut allergy.

A local battle is brewing in a Florida school over peanuts and other nut products.

District officials said precautions were taken for an Edgewater Elementary School first-grader, who could have a severe allergic reaction if she gets a whiff of peanut products or has contact with their residue.

Parents, however, are arguing that the precautions made for one child are taking away their kids’ education.

Lori Munzo said the peanut allergy that her 6-year-old neighbor had shouldn’t be taken lightly.

“She’s very severely allergic. This child could die immediately from this allergy,” Munzo said.

To protect the student, Munzo said, the family, district officials and doctors have come up with a school plan, which required the 32 kids in the class to wash their hands and rinse their mouths before school and after lunch.

Peanut products are also not allowed in the classroom, and the students are required to leave their lunchboxes in the hall. The students’ desks are wiped down with disinfectants and the school has installed peanut-free zones in the campus and in the cafeteria.

Chris Burr said he and other parents are protesting the protocol, and they want the school to ease up on the restrictions.

“They’ve got teachers telling these kids, ‘Don’t go near them, or you’ll kill her,’” Burr said. “If it was my kids and they were that sick, they wouldn’t be at that school. I’d keep them home.”

Parent Carie Starkey said the 30-minute daily regime her daughter goes through adds up to 2 1/2 hours a week, or up to 80 hours each school year.

“We want our children to be treated fairly and to not lose out on their school day and their school time,” Starkey said.

The district said the severe allergy falls under the Disabilities Act and that by law, it has to accommodate the student.
 

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