The other day, my sweet and very thoughtful daughter commented on missing Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwiches (PBJ’s) for lunch. I asked her why she doesn’t take them and she responded she isn’t supposed to have peanut butter snacks in the classroom. I told her she can still have them for lunch in the lunch room. (Which would explain the disappearing lunch meat.) I know her room is a peanut free room (since there is a peanut allergy in her class). Schools across the country are going peanut free, but should peanut butter be banned from schools?
As usual, there are two sides to most stories.
Peanut allergies are growing at an alarming rate. Studies have shown the number of children with a peanut allergy has tripled. Peanut allergies can be so serious. Hives, swelling, difficulty breathing and even death are some of the reactions children and/or adults can have. Where is that line between protecting children and not taking away the rights of ALL children? The children who don’t have the allergy should be able to enjoy peanut butter in their lunch. Peanut butter is a CHEAP form of protein. I know some moms can get their children to eat chickpeas and hummus on a cracked pepper flatbread. I cannot. My children enjoy PBJ’s in their lunches. I like it because for $1.86 a jar and I can give my children a good source of protein for a fraction of the cost of lunch meat.
Should there should be precautions in place to protect those with this allergy? Oh, absolutely! If there is an allergy in the classroom, then no peanut products should be brought in the room. Children should sit at a separate table in the cafeteria or there be a special “peanut free” section. If you want to sit there, you can’t have nut products in your lunch. Children can use wipes and hand sanitizer after eating. Being careful and wise can go a long way. All teachers should be trained with an EpiPen. Staff should be made aware of the situation. Children and parents need to feel school is a safe place. If my child had this allergy, I would want to protect my child at all costs.
Now think of it this way: if we start taking away allergens that bother people, where do we stop? I have mentioned before, I have horrible, horrific allergies. School was so hard for me. If we are removing allergens, how about erasers? Horrible allergy trigger. What about the old, musty, mold filled schools which are 100 years old? Replace them all! Nobody at any time can wear scented laundry soap. Everyone who will be in a classroom MUST wear scent-free laundry soap, handsoap, must wash all clothes and be free of animal fur, no perfumes of any kind and the body wash they use must be certain ones, I’ll provide a list. Don’t bring flowers to the teacher. Oh, and cut down all trees and plants within a 200 foot radius of the school. Absolutely NO CANDLES or air fresheners! See where I am going here? Where do we stop? I have had to leave MOMS groups, rooms, meetings, whatever, because of allergies. It is more than a sniffle. The right triggers will make me start to wheeze, therefore have difficulty breathing and I have had asthma attacks. I watched a friend of mine, because of triggers, have a horrible asthma attack (by the way, if you don’t know what an asthma attack is like, picture a fish out of the water).
I can’t expect the world to go scent free (though it would be helpful). I have to accept the fact this is me and do my best to AVOID the harmful triggers. So where do we go from here? What is the right answer? Should all peanuts be banned? I’m not sure that is the answer. However, would I want to protect my child at all costs? Of course. Two sides to the same story…
~To imagine a world without laundry soap scents floating through the air~
What is your opinion? Should schools go “Nut Free”?