Mom of Allergic Student Sues School for Serving Eggs, Milk

Readers: I’m sure if my kid were deathly allergic, I would be  a wreck. Even so, I’m pretty positive I would not expect a whole school to stop serving milk and eggs — two staples — just for my child’s sake. This is what Philip Howard talks about in his book, Life Without Lawyers: the way we have gone from pushing for civil rights for whole groups (African-Americans, women, gays, etc.),  to the “right” of a single individual to be surrounded by an accommodating world, no matter what the cost to the common good. It’s a fascinating way to start thinking about society, by the way: What rights DO individuals have, when they infringe upon the group? And that being said: What do you think of this story from Canada’s National Post

School faces human rights complaint over student’s egg, dairy allergy

by Sarah Boesveld

A Hamilton, Ont., mother has filed a human rights complaint against her daughter’s elementary school, claiming it discriminated against the six-year-old for failing to accommodate her life-threatening allergy to eggs and dairy.

The case, which seeks to ban milk products and eggs from her daughter’s school, comes at a tense time for parents and school boards struggling to meet the safety needs of some students without putting out the rest, and as the Canadian Human Rights Code expands to include “invisible” disabilities.

Last September, Lynne Glover pulled her daughter, Elodie, out of Grade 1 at Holy Name of Jesus Catholic Elementary School after more than two years of trying to work with staff on a strategy that would keep allergens away from her daughter.

While she was assured the school would do everything it took to keep Elodie safe, the school continued to run its milk and snack program, which handed out puddings, yogurts and cheese, and hold bake sales and pizza days. She was excluded from many a fun day and BBQ.

Read more here.

If we accommodate every allergy, will there be any acceptable foods left?

If we accommodate every allergy, will there be any acceptable foods left?

 

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172 Responses to Mom of Allergic Student Sues School for Serving Eggs, Milk

  1. Crystal January 14, 2014 at 8:22 am #

    I’m not trying to belittle the mom, but what is she going to do when her daughter starts dating? Do a quick swab-test of the boyfriend’s mouth to ensure he hasn’t had any dairy or eggs recently?

    My brother has a life-threatening peanut allergy. And yet my parents never would have dreamed of asking the school to go without. They just dealt with it, and my brother, though he has had some close calls, is alive and well today.

  2. tdr January 14, 2014 at 8:45 am #

    My son’s school recently enacted a peanut-free policy because a teacher turned out to have peanut allergy.

    (No meat allowed in the school due ot kosher dietary restrictions.)

    My friend’s son was a preemie, is underweight, TINY kid, who needs his protein and fat. Guess what his favorite lunch is? Peanut butter of course. What about his medical need to HAVE peanut butter?

    My son is overweight and we are always searching for sources of protein in his school lunch. Tuna and eggs are repulsive to him (and probably many kids). What about his medical need to have peanut butter?

    After complaining about the policy I decided the best way to deal with it was just to send in clandestine peanut products (protein bar and sandwich). I told him not to touch any teachers.

    I also asked the school to find a way to accomodate meat on at least 1 or 2 days/week. No dice.

    So this discussion is near and dear to my heart. The needs of the one vs. the needs of the many. Don’t people have to have at least some responsibility for themselves???

  3. BL January 14, 2014 at 9:01 am #

    “If we accommodate every allergy, will there be any acceptable foods left?”

    No.

  4. Suzanne January 14, 2014 at 9:04 am #

    This is a tough one and I do feel for the mother. She seems to have done things the right way. For example, baking 520 cupcakes for the school event so she could ensure her daughter could eat the same cupcakes as everyone else. That said, I’ve eaten dairy/egg free cupcakes and I think they might have been a hard sell for children. That said, if I couldn’t send cheese sandwiches with my daughter for lunch, she might just starve. She already can’t eat peanut butter at school, I try to limit processed meats to twice a week and try as I might, I can not convince her that hummus is tasty.

  5. Suzanne January 14, 2014 at 9:04 am #

    This is a tough one and I do feel for the mother. She seems to have done things the right way. For example, baking 520 cupcakes for the school event so she could ensure her daughter could eat the same cupcakes as everyone else. That said, I’ve eaten dairy/egg free cupcakes and I think they might have been a hard sell for children. That said, if I couldn’t send cheese sandwiches with my daughter for lunch, she might just starve. She already can’t eat peanut butter at school, I try to limit processed meats to twice a week and try as I might, I can not convince her that hummus is tasty.

  6. E January 14, 2014 at 9:10 am #

    Yikes….I feel badly for the daughter, but I just can’t side with the Mom.

    I will say that the teacher who ate popcorn in front of her class seems a bit silly and worth criticism. The rest, can’t really get on board.

  7. lollipoplover January 14, 2014 at 9:17 am #

    I want to throw eggs at this post.

    “But reasonable accommodations that fall in line with our doctor’s diagnosis is just plain common sense.”

    No, it’s not. It is unreasonable to think you can restrict everyone else’s right to eat a basic component of the food pyramid. It’s common sense to teach your daughter what choices she can make in the foods that are provided or to pack your own for your child. Any more and she doesn’t belong in public school.

    And threatening to sue a school because serving dairy violated her human rights? Shame on you!
    For the sake of individuals with legit human rights issues (Sudan, Sierra Leone,come to mind) all over the world.
    This is pudding cups.
    Get a grip. Homeschool.

  8. lollipoplover January 14, 2014 at 9:17 am #

    I want to throw eggs at this post.

    “But reasonable accommodations that fall in line with our doctor’s diagnosis is just plain common sense.”

    No, it’s not. It is unreasonable to think you can restrict everyone else’s right to eat a basic component of the food pyramid. It’s common sense to teach your daughter what choices she can make in the foods that are provided or to pack your own for your child. Any more and she doesn’t belong in public school.

    And threatening to sue a school because serving dairy violated her human rights? Shame on you!
    For the sake of individuals with legit human rights issues (Sudan, Sierra Leone,come to mind) all over the world.
    This is pudding cups.
    Get a grip. Homeschool.

  9. Barbara January 14, 2014 at 9:18 am #

    I was siding with the school on this, until I read the paragraph near the bottom that talked about the school sabotaging her efforts to provide safe food. Also, her teacher ate butter popcorn in the classroom???

    We need to find balance, as food allergies seem to be increasing. We also need to find out why they are increasing.

  10. C. S. P. Schofield January 14, 2014 at 9:19 am #

    When my niece was a toddler, my sister-in-law put foam rubber cushions on hard edges in her house. I was floored that such things EXIST, much less that she bought and used them. She seems to have gotten over the idea that she can child-proof her world, now, and is concentrating of world-proofing her child.

    And that switch is what we need to stand form on with parents like this mother. Her daughter will not be safe until the kid knows to avoid foods that can kill her, and does it on her own.

  11. onemusingmama January 14, 2014 at 9:21 am #

    Most of the comments on the article are bashing the mother for this, as you’d expect. And while I’m sympathetic to her fears for her daughter, I think her expectations for this accommodation go too far (although it does seem like the school is not working with her in quite as good faith as they’d claim). But this line – “She was excluded from many a fun day and BBQ.” – goes to my main point. Is this really about her fear for her daughter’s health, or fear for her daughter’s ego? The girl is not able to participate in food-centered celebrations. Kids in wheelchairs can’t participate in a foot race. Should we ban phys ed and field days because of that? Kids need to learn to deal with disappointment. This mom doesn’t want her kid left out, that’s what it seems like this is mostly about. This is a hard issue, I have friends with kids with allergies and I see their fear and their protectiveness of their child and I can understand it. But reasonable accommodation shouldn’t mean negatively affecting everyone else around.

  12. Really Bad Mum January 14, 2014 at 9:25 am #

    If her daughter is that allergic then why is she allowed out of the house?

  13. kate January 14, 2014 at 9:35 am #

    Let’s hope this school system does not have to deal with a student with Celiacs disease. Then they will have to ban all bread, soy and many other products containing gluten in addition to PB, eggs and milk. Maybe they should stop allowing food in the school altogether. That way they can avoid choking hazards as well.

  14. Cathy January 14, 2014 at 9:36 am #

    I AM a mom of a kid with food allergies – milk and eggs – and one assumes that there is a middle ground. Could the school have been more accommodating and welcoming? Sure.

    My first grader with food allergies goes to a full inclusion school, meaning that kids of every ability are in the same classroom. I politely made a comment to the principal that the pizza party incentive for certain school wide events excludes many children in the school, whether they have allergies to milk (mine isn’t the only one in the school), are gluten free for behavioral issues or simply don’t like pizza (I assume there are a few of those, too). The incentive was changed to extra recess time. All kids can participate (plus – fresh air!).

    It is frustrating when we try to keep our kids safe and feel like we’re talking into a void, getting no reasonable response.

    tdr, there is a difference between a PREFERENCE for peanut butter and a life threatening allergy. I hope you never have to deal with watching your child stop breathing because they were exposed to a food their body started attacking. It is certainly INCONVENIENT for you to have to accommodate someone else’s need to avoid these allergens, but why does your food preference trump their right to LIVE?

  15. QB January 14, 2014 at 9:37 am #

    I feel for the kid. To be constantly excluded must be difficult, but it is virtually impossible to remove dairy and eggs from everything and force everyone to comply. Peanuts and legumes are a little easier to control and there are still a number of options for the other children. I can understand the mother’s frustration as well. I would be pissed if I made 540 cupcakes, but I would bring some non dairy hot cocoa for my kid if she couldn’t have dairy. Seems like a good case for homeschooling to me.

  16. pentamom January 14, 2014 at 9:44 am #

    It doesn’t say anywhere that the teacher ate the popcorn in front of the class or in the classroom. She may have had it on her break, and not washed her hands properly afterward, or did, but traces remained when she interacted with the child.

  17. J.T. Wenting January 14, 2014 at 9:58 am #

    “We need to find balance, as food allergies seem to be increasing. We also need to find out why they are increasing.”

    The balance: personal responsibility on the part of the parents to teach their kids what is safe for them to eat.

    And we know why allergies are increasing: it’s our increasingly anti-septic environment that’s turning kids’ immune systems inside out, causing all kind of auto-immune ailments.
    Blame anti-bacterial soap, wipes, cleaning agents, all applied so often and so vigorously that not a germ is alive in most homes.
    And the way kids are raised with no chance to play outside and get dirty makes it only worse.

  18. BL January 14, 2014 at 10:10 am #

    Another problem here.

    Apparently early exposure to peanuts can prevent peanut allergy (or, put another way, lack of early exposure can cause peanut allergy):

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2008/11/07/us-prevent-allergy-idUSTRE4A66IB20081107

    So denying peanuts to all kids is only going to create a generation allergic to a normal food, beginning with peanuts.

  19. E January 14, 2014 at 10:19 am #

    @pentamom, you’re right, after I posted I went back and re-read. It doesn’t indicate that. In any event, it seems like the teacher is ill-informed, or insensitive, or just careless. All of which could (and should) be corrected.

    The rest of it is a bit hard to expect the school to accommodate.

  20. Melanie Jones January 14, 2014 at 10:43 am #

    Cathy – I think you hit on an important part of incentives, which is that the most valuable incentive is the internal one that drives your child to achieve for achievements sake. Kids that are being tormented on the playground might not look forward to extra recess time, kids with vision/auditory problems may not look forward to watching a movie in a big crowd, etc. There is no perfect incentive – food or not. Likewise, there is no perfect accommodation. Some of the time, anyone who needs accommodation is going to feel a little left out, or a little unsafe. It does seem worth noting that this girl is in grade 1 – I think the older kids get the more they are able to monitor themselves and to take ownership of their own solutions. We have a little boy over every week that is allergic to eggs, dairy, and turkey of all things. He is so young that he still runs to any cupcake – he doesn’t understand how special the cupcakes his mom makes are, and at least eggs and dairy can be in almost anything. He really needs someone to tell him if food is ‘safe’ at this point, but that won’t always be true. On the other hand the 3rd grader with a citrus allergy, she’s pretty loud and clear every time someone tries to push an orange on her with a good ol ‘c’mon it’s healthy!’. I had awful seasonal allergies as a kid and was always harassed by my teachers to get up and play at recess. There were days where it was so bad that after recess I couldn’t think the rest of the day because I was so self conscious about hacking up a lung and blowing my shnoz in front of friends literally every 30 seconds. I had this inhaler I carried around and the doctors had all warned me how bad it could be if I had a serious asthma attack. So I had this paranoid fear every time it got hard to breathe – almost like a self-fulfilling prophecy. Yet my mom would have never asked the school to shut down recess on high pollen days or low air quality days. As I got older, I became very adept at making requests to stay inside during recess if I thought it was going to be a problem. My teachers were very concerned that I wasn’t socializing, but I was able to assure them that I had plenty of time to hang out with friends, and that I liked reading books, and then I could prove through my actions that not going to recess didn’t make me bounce off the walls all afternoon. Being a part of my own solution was pretty empowering, and I liked that. Would a pollen-free enclosed sun-lit play area have been more fun for me? Would alternative indoor recess for any child that requires or prefers it have been more fun? I don’t know, I don’t really care at this point. But I do know any accommodation, which by virtue of what it is means ‘getting something different from everyone else or causing everyone else to get something different than what they want’, would from time to time not be as cool as the thing that everyone else had or wanted. There is no avoiding that. Even kids that don’t need accommodating wind up with the strawberry cupcake when they wanted chocolate, or get picked for the team that doesn’t include their best friend, etc. etc. That is just disappointment, and it happens to everyone. If we are asking schools to be disappointment free, that is a tough cup to fill. But should kids be heard and legit medical issues attended to? Yeah, why not. As long as there is a nurse available, people know how to respond in an emergency, and teachers do their best to be aware of the allergy, that is probably enough. The rest is just details at the community level and probably every community responds differently depending on the resources available and the norms present.

  21. Michael January 14, 2014 at 10:52 am #

    So sick of people who refuse to show some personal responsibility (and instill that into their children) but instead expect everyone else to accommodate them. Mommy’s fragile snowflake can’t have eggs or milk and was excluded from a fun day so naturally, the only remedy is that no one shall have said fun day.

    Since when is it your human right to have everyone else protect you from an allergen? Really hoping this will get nowhere but unfortunately it probably will.

  22. Donna January 14, 2014 at 10:59 am #

    Interesting that our school doesn’t ban anything and still doesn’t have kids dropping like flies from any allergy. despite having several kids with serious food allergies. Those kids are expected to make the adjustment, not the entire school.

    This is all much ado about not wanting her kid to be excluded.

  23. Ben January 14, 2014 at 11:08 am #

    How does this mom dare to file a human rights lawsuit? Her child has the right to not have to eat milk and eggs and to live in relative safety, but at the same time all other students have the right to eat whatever they please.

    You can’t expect a complete school full of students and teachers to suffer just for your child’s comfort.

    Teach the kid what to avoid and just work around the allergens.
    As far as I can tell, the only allergen that can outright kill you by touch alone are peanuts which would be the only exception to everything I just said.

  24. Janet January 14, 2014 at 11:13 am #

    My kids have severe nut allergies and I don’t expect schools to do anything “just for my children”. But I wish people would have more compassion for the children who are excluded and the parents who just try to protect them in school. It is life threatening and I can’t protect them. It’s tough. It’s hardest when other parents judge me for “going overboard”. All I ask is a little compassion for our situation. Imagine if it was your child?

  25. Christine Hancock January 14, 2014 at 11:13 am #

    A six year old with a life threatening allergy to milk and eggs? Why is she in school? Should she not be educated at home until she is able to take care of her allergies herself? I guess the home situation can not accommodate her educational needs; but it is a considerable safety issue, sending an allergic child out into a world where milk and eggs are a substantial part of the food culture.

    It is reasonable for the school to not serve this child dairy or eggs, to allow her to have her lunch in a room free from her specific allergens (even if she eats away from other children), and to have a supply of medication on hand for her when emergencies arise. It is not reasonable to invade the lunches, snacks, and treats of every single student and staff member and prohibit them from eating what they will.

    Sorry, that’s reality, and she must become strong in order to survive. Coddling her will not teach her what she needs to know in dealing with the outside world and her own issues.

  26. Haarajoki January 14, 2014 at 11:31 am #

    It’s Mass Psychogenic Illness, a.k.a. Epidemic Hysteria and another example of Worst First Thinking. Here is an article published in the British Medical Journal by Nicholas Christakis, professor of medical sociology at Harvard Medical School.

    https://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:rbyjhW-ANgsJ:http://christakis.med.harvard.edu/pdf/publications/misc/023.pdf%2BNicholas+Christakis+peanuts&oe=utf-8&rls=org.mozilla%3Aen-US%3Aofficial&client=firefox-a&hl=en&ct=clnk

  27. Carolyn January 14, 2014 at 11:36 am #

    If this was simply about the little girl being left out of a fun day that would be one thing, but dairy allergies can be life threatening. Just like any other medical condition, she has a right to be safe at school. You just can’t say that it is too inconvenient to acommedate her so she should be homeschooled. Now I’m not saying that the whole school should be completely dairy free, but the school needs to work with her. Things like yogurt and pudding can easily be transfers from one child to the next. Perhaps she can sit at an allergy table, and the other kids could wash their hands after lunch. As far as peanut allergies, it can be so much more serious than most think. My nephew has reacted to smelling peanut on someone’s breath. If a child is airborne sensitive, they simply cannot attend a school where peanut is permitted. Is it inconvenient, yes. But it really necessary to keep them safe, and they have a right to a safe public education.

  28. Donna January 14, 2014 at 11:46 am #

    “A six year old with a life threatening allergy to milk and eggs? Why is she in school? Should she not be educated at home until she is able to take care of her allergies herself?”

    A 6 year old is perfectly capable of caring for her own allergies. “Never eat anything other than what mom packs you” is the only rule that she needs to follow at that age. My exes’ nephew who was allergic to numerous foods could manage that at age 3. My daughter, who is allergic to the much less common food of shellfish has known to tell people that she is allergic to shellfish and ask if things contain shellfish before eating them since she was in pre-k.

  29. Renee Anne January 14, 2014 at 11:46 am #

    I don’t want to belittle the mother’s plight to have a safe environment for her child. But at what point does this crap need to stop? I have a child with a metabolic disorder in which he needs to be on a low-fat, heart-healthy diet (which we all should be anyway). It involves a lot of fruits, veggies, and whole-grains as well as low-fat dairy products (yogurt and cottage cheese are his favorites). Do I expect the entire school to go low-fat, heart-healthy because he isn’t supposed to have it? No. Absolutely not. He’s going to have to learn how much of something he can have, when he can have it, and that is that. It’s not an allergy but it could kill him. Also, something as simple as a cold can send him to the hospital for a few days. Do I expect the school to be a germ-free environment where people stay home when they are sick? No. That’s asinine.

    It’s about living in the REAL WORLD and learning how to handle yourself.

  30. Haarajoki January 14, 2014 at 11:49 am #

    If kids really have “a right to be safe” at school or anywhere else we wouldn’t allow children to participate in sports or parents to drive them there. We don’t do those things because protecting children at all costs isn’t actually a reasonable goal.

  31. lollipoplover January 14, 2014 at 11:53 am #

    So no to the PBJ sandwich(the school already has a nut ban).
    The cheese sandwich would be illegal under a dairy ban.
    Just bread? Can’t do that for all of the gluten-free kids.
    Just air? Might irritate the asthmatics.

    Food is nourishing and deeply personal. I sympathize with those who have food allergies but banning offending food groups for all at school is not the answer. Dairy products like eggs, yogurt, and cheese are great sources of protein and calcium, basic components for a nutritious diet. Yes, there are other ways (“dairy free”) to get this nutrition but outright banning foods like they are dangerous weapons is illogical and irrational.

    My son’s best friend has had Celiac Disease from a very young age (he has violent stomach pains from wheat). The mom always supplies me with snacks and treats he can eat (I have a shelf in our pantry just for his foods)when he’s over here. For treats at parties, she asks what they are serving and usually has gluten-free pizza and cupcake she sends with him because he wants to fit in and not be singled out for his allergy. He wants to be a normal kid. It seems this mom wants to make it all about the allergy and not about fitting in. How sad for this child.

  32. Virginia January 14, 2014 at 12:12 pm #

    If you actually read to the end of the article, it turns out that the mom has tried to work with the school and the school has consistently screwed up: The mom baked hundreds of dairy-free cupcakes for a school event — and they were served with dairy-based hot chocolate. When she sent in dairy-free pancake mix, the school bought a milk-containing syrup to serve with them. At one point, the child was exposed to dairy proteins by her own teacher. It seems to me that a complete ban on dairy and eggs was not this mother’s first choice, but the school’s incompetence in protecting her child has led her to the conclusion that it’s the only way to keep her daughter safe. I don’t necessarily agree with the ban. But it does seem that the school has failed pretty significantly here and needs to be held accountable.

  33. Warren January 14, 2014 at 12:17 pm #

    Cathy, so now the kids that looked forward to and enjoyed pizza day are excluded. Nice job. Way to go.

    Exclusion is a part of life. Your allergy, your handicap, your illness, or injury is yours to manage, not anyone else’s.

    These parents need a brain check, as to reality. They claim “rights”, for their one child.

    What about the rights of ALL the other parents and students. The right to not have to think about your kid when shopping for groceries, the right to not have to think about your kid when preparing lunches in the morning, the right to not have to spend more money on food to avoid your childs allergies, the right to not have to constantly say NO to our own kids because of your kid.

    What about the right of a majority of students to enjoy pizza day? What about the right to choose.

    I sympathize with parents with special needs kids, as my stepson is one of them. Not allergy though. But it is your job, your kids job to look after the problem. Stop making it everyone’s job to take care of your kid.

    You know what is going to happen. These kids will grow up to expect their workplace and the rest of society to comply with their needs.

  34. BeccaK January 14, 2014 at 12:19 pm #

    After I had an itchy and interesting reaction to penicillin, I was told by my GP that I should never have it, or a related antibiotic, again. He put a warning on the front of my notes in neon yellow. I looked up penicillin allergy. Ah, okay. I understand. I don’t wish to play with potentially fatal consequences.

    So, do I ask my doctor’s surgery not to prescribe penicillin and related antibiotics, in case they one day prescribe one for me by mistake and I don’t notice? Or do I accept that my allergy is my responsibility? We can all guess the answer.

    Sure, this kid is only six: but six is old enough to understand something like this. The bigger deal may be when she is fourteen, and knows everything, as fourteen-year-olds do. Must be very stressful for the parents, and probably pretty stressful for the school staff, but stress, like risk, is a part of life.

  35. Steve January 14, 2014 at 12:20 pm #

    This is a beautiful example of how, even though we have the internet and an ability to search for new breakthroughs, most people don’t. And as a consequence even so-called authorities, along with the general public, remain ignorant.

    Allergies are often driven by emotions.

    You can usually get rid of allergies using EFT. (Emotional Freedom Techniques)

    Read some of the testimonials at EFTuniverse.com

    http://www.eftuniverse.com/index.php?option=com_acesearch&view=search&query=allergy

  36. Donna January 14, 2014 at 12:53 pm #

    “It is certainly INCONVENIENT for you to have to accommodate someone else’s need to avoid these allergens”

    Why must your child’s accommodation include my child’s lunch at all? There are ways for your child’s need to avoid these allergens to co-exist with my child’s preference to eat those allergens. Yes, those ways put a greater burden on your family, but your child is the one who benefits from the accommodation.

    Since there are other ways to deal with your child’s allergy than controlling my child’s diet, those are the methods that should employed. Yes, it means that your child will have to eat lunch at a separate table, and if that isn’t sufficient, a separate room. That need not mean that your child eats alone. Recruit your kid’s friends to eat with her. Teach those parents what is acceptable and what isn’t. Those kids will develop far greater understanding and empathy than they get from a list of banned items with an unknown face attached.

    And it will be safer for the allergic kid because (a) parents who are not directly involved in the decision-making are not going to take time to think about allergens which is required as you start getting into dairy, eggs and more common ingredients, and (b) I guarantee you as bans get more and more, parents will simply ignore them in favor of taking care of their own children by packing lunches that their children will eat regardless of rules.

  37. SKL January 14, 2014 at 12:56 pm #

    I agree that the demand is ridiculous. However, perhaps the demand would not have been made if a compromise had been sought in good faith by both parties.

    I agree that being different is something many kids will have to learn to deal with. My eldest stands out in school for many reasons. She’s brown-skinned, petite, wears glasses, has obvious accommodations for listening issues, and has to leave the class to be tutored twice a week. On top of that, she isn’t allowed to have sugary treats when the rest of the class has them. I sent in an alternative, and my kid and her teacher manage the situations that come up. My daughter doesn’t even seem to mind it. In spite of it all, my daughter is popular and seems to have a healthy ego. Being different is not the end of the world.

    If my child had a deathly food allergy, it would be hard for me to trust a school to protect her. Until she was mature enough to protect herself, I’d be looking at alternative options.

  38. SKL January 14, 2014 at 1:03 pm #

    I’m so glad that my kids’ school is not peanut-free. It’s hard enough for me to pack a healthy-ish lunch and two snacks without any restrictions. I can just see myself squinting at the small print on every box of crackers as I attempt to finish my grocery shopping in the 15 minute time frame I usually have for that. I’m already controlling our diet for the needs and quirks we have in our own family. There’s only so many options out there.

    There’s at least one girl at my kids’ school who has a lot of allergies. She keeps snacks with her, and when other people are given treats, she simply pulls out one of her allergen-free candy bars and has at it. I don’t see any emotional harm occurring. She’s old enough to wash her hands and not going around being touchy-feely with her classmates.

  39. Gary January 14, 2014 at 1:08 pm #

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a88Z7YOh_us

  40. librarian January 14, 2014 at 1:18 pm #

    I was on a fairly strict low-fat diet between ages of 4 and 10 (the issues I had resolved with puberty), which I had to remember about, and which pretty much meant that I couldn’t eat not just the school food but also any kind of family festive meals. My meals were cooked separately, because nobody (even my mom) wanted to eat like me. In school I had to be alert and watch what I eat.

    I usually dealt with temptations by imagining that all the forbidden items are made of plastic. An alternative way was to simply observe your own desire (“yep, it feels like I want this cake, since I got this light pressure in my throat. It’s ok to want the cake, as long as I don’t eat it. Let’s experiment – if I have a glass of water, would this increase or decrease that sensation…”). As a result, in my adult life, I never had a problem with refraining from tempting foods (and other tempting things).

    The bottom line: food restrictions are not necessarily a trauma. They might as well be taken as a character-building exercise.

  41. SOA January 14, 2014 at 1:26 pm #

    There is a happy medium that I push for as a parent of a peanut allergic child. No food in the classrooms or at least none of the allergen allowed in the classroom ever. In the cafeteria have a separate table or area for the kid to eat away from allergen. Have kids wash hands before and after eating (which they do anyway and should do anyway for sanitary reasons). That is really it. And have his medication available to him in case of emergency and not to tolerate food allergy bullying like kids trying to wipe peanut butter on him.

    So far so good and it has protected him just fine.

    Both sides have to give some. Sure I would feel better with no peanuts allowed at all but really that is not going to happen and I don’t want to ask for that. I just ask for the above and they had no problem doing that.

    I do make sure that the room mother has stuff for the class parties that is safe for my son and sometimes that means making it and bringing it myself. We don’t participate in bake sales and fundraisers like cookie dough because of the allergens. Good enough because I don’t want to do that anyway.

  42. Donna January 14, 2014 at 1:30 pm #

    Here is my question –

    This school currently has no ban on dairy and eggs. Unless Canadians are dramatically different than Americans, a elementary school lunchroom is usually one big orgy of dairy and egg products. This girl eats lunch in this dairy-and-egg-filled lunchroom every day. Although mom claims that doing so is a risk to her life, the girl has never had a reaction from said dairy-and-egg-filled lunchroom. We know this because mom certainly would have listed it in her complaints. In fact, the lunchroom is so truly non-dangerous that mom insists that the one reaction that the child did have came from buttered popcorn on the teacher and NOT a cafeteria full from one end to another with dairy and eggs.

    So I guess I don’t get the issue with the hot chocolate and buttered syrup. If this child can sit in a school lunchroom slap full of other people consuming dairy and eggs every single day without a reaction, she can certainly sit in a special event where people are consuming it without a reaction. Mom wants to be martyr with her 520 cupcakes and pancakes for an entire school but it sounds to me like she needed 1 cupcake and pancakes for 1. There is no reason that she couldn’t have sent a cupcake and juice box and her own pancakes and her own syrup since her child eats in a room filled with allergens every single day without a reaction.

    Maybe that is why the school appears to be less than accommodating. The child is NOT reacting to the accommodations that they’ve made and the mother still wants more accommodations.

  43. J.T. Wenting January 14, 2014 at 1:34 pm #

    “It involves a lot of fruits, veggies, and whole-grains as well as low-fat dairy products (yogurt and cottage cheese are his favorites). Do I expect the entire school to go low-fat, heart-healthy because he isn’t supposed to have it? No. Absolutely not. ”

    as well as milk free, gluten free, nut free, kosher, halal, and whatever else food preference or requirement people might have.
    And as many of those are contradictory, you can’t eat or drink anything at all.

  44. JenC January 14, 2014 at 1:36 pm #

    I’m pretty sure peanuts will soon be against illegal. SMH.

  45. SOA January 14, 2014 at 1:37 pm #

    And the other side of this argument is just as bad as this mother in the article that acts like “I should not have to change a thing about what I want to do to accommodate your child ever.” That is the other extreme. And I see some of the comments here reflecting that. How about both sides giving a little and working together for the good of everyone?

    For the person with the kid that needs to eat PB for weight gain, try sunflower butter or soy butter or almond butter. There are other alternatives. My kids love it.

    For one thing there is a reason we have an obesity problem with children in this country. They want to give kids food all the time. There is no reason for food to ever be in the classroom. A party once or twice a year is okay but if there is a food allergic child you have to work with that child’s parents to make it safe for him. Kids don’t need constant food thrown at them at school. It makes life for us food allergic parents a nightmare and makes kids fat. Just let them eat their lunch and then they can eat when they get home. Easy peasy.

  46. JenC January 14, 2014 at 1:39 pm #

    I’m pretty sure peanuts will soon be illegal. SMH.

  47. Jenn January 14, 2014 at 1:40 pm #

    We are hearing of more and more cases of school-wide bans on things because certain kids have allergies. I am sympathetic to the parents and the children, but this has got to stop.

    When I was growing up there were lots of kids who had allergies, diabetes, and other nutritional challenges. Even at the age of 6, every single one of those children knew not to eat what wasn’t made at home for them. If you teach your children this, it’s just a daily routine.

  48. gpo January 14, 2014 at 1:48 pm #

    I have a daughter that has a food allergy. Her classroom is a food free room. I think most rooms if not all are that way. Let’s face it the kids can live without food in the room. My daughter does sit at the allergy table at lunch. Her and 2 or 3 other kids. The other kids in school can bring whatever for lunch. No food incentives at her school. Parties don’t have food. The kids do have to wash their hands after returning from lunch. It is workable. Although I do wander if she is known as the kid that sits at the special table at lunch. That kinda sucks. Also the school had said at the beginning of the year that they would allow other kids to sit at the table provided they bring the right food, but they backed off on that.

    Life as a parent with a child with a food allergy is tough. Most people work with us. We never tell people what to serve, we just ask what they are serving and will bring something for her if it doesn’t work. Most people are fine, it is our family that don’t take it serious.

  49. KJ January 14, 2014 at 1:50 pm #

    I totally understand food sensitivities. My daughter is non-celiac gluten sensitive and her doctor filled out the same dietary form as he would for peanut allergies so her school can accommodate my daughter’s diet. They give her gluten free lunches every day but still serve regular lunches to all the other children. She sits at a separate table with other children who have similar issues.

    It is also a peanut free school, which is completely fine with me. There are tons of alternatives to peanuts and peanut butter. Peanut allergies are tricky because just the mere presence of the oils left on a child’s hands can set a highly allergic person off.

    All that said, I think this mom has gone overboard to a great degree. To suggest a whole school can’t serve dairy or eggs due to her daughter’s allergies is extreme. I could be mistaken, but I don’t believe dairy and egg allergies have the same “airborne” effect that peanut allergies do, so serving them to other children should be safe as long as the daughter does not eat them.

    It does sound like what that school could do better, though, is finding activities that do not center around food which would exclude children with allergies. Our school does not celebrate birthdays or holidays with cupcakes or food treats. The kids can give out little trinkets and toys. As far as I know, no one has complained. I think this is healthier anyway. We don’t need our lives to revolve around food- especially junk food. Save it for the home birthday party. I’m glad that my daughter won’t be left out of classroom birthday fun due to her gluten sensitivity.

    In addition, to those saying “teach your children what they can and can’t eat.”: We do. Every day. You are assuming a child as young as 3 (in preschool settings like ours) could understand what is lurking in every bit of food. Hell, I have to scour labels for gluten ingredients and look things up all the time and I’m the adult. We can’t expect children still just learning to read to comprehend what is in their food, especially if it’s provided by the school or by teachers or friends.

    tl;dr: People on both sides of the allergy fence need to step back and realize the world doesn’t revolve around them and find ways to make more things fun and accessible for everyone without trampling on the rights of people who are blessed enough to be without allergies/sensitivities.

  50. E January 14, 2014 at 1:51 pm #

    @Donna – good points. I have to admit that I didn’t understand the need to provide 560 cupcakes. Was that to make a point? The only way she thought her child could be safe? I’m just not understanding. No one should be providing over 500 cupcakes for any reason, so why not volunteer for her classroom and call it a day?

    It would be interesting to know where her 9 reactions have taken place. Had they been at school, surely that would be listed?

  51. SOA January 14, 2014 at 1:52 pm #

    Our school just sits the allergic kid on the end of the table and then kids that have a safe lunch can sit next to them. So my son never has to sit alone which is nice. Other kids actually ask their parents not to send PB so they can sit with him or the other little girl with pb allergies. So kids are more accepting of it than their parents most times. I find kids to be very sweet and nice about wanting to protect their other friends. It is the parents that act like assholes sometimes.

  52. R January 14, 2014 at 1:58 pm #

    The people who expend extraordinary efforts to build a bigger bubble around their child with allergies don’t appear to be accomplishing much to benefit their child. Wouldn’t their efforts be better spent ensuring that accommodations that are actually reasonable like an appropriately segregated allergen free eating area are available. I’d rather see them do something useful like helping schools establish robust emergency response procedures, perhaps ensuring cafeteria workers are trained to recognize anaphylaxis, have had a chance to use an epi-pen trainer, and that epi-pens are actually available rather than locked up in a part-time school nurse’s office.

  53. lollipoplover January 14, 2014 at 1:59 pm #

    @Donna-
    “Elodie has had nine anaphylactic reactions in her life”
    It doesn’t say that any of these happened at school. The only incident in this article was when she came home from school with water eyes and short of breath (which my kids get from biking home in the wind). Sounds like the school is doing a pretty good job actually. Will they ever, even with food bans, be able to provide a completely allergen free environment for this child or others? Never.

    My son drank the milk from the bottom of his cereal bowl this morning and dribbled on his shirt. Did he change it? Of course not, he’s too lazy to go back upstairs. There’s traces of milk everywhere.

  54. E January 14, 2014 at 2:02 pm #

    I did find an article that says she’s had bad reaction at school:

    http://www.thespec.com/news-story/4081695-mom-removes-daughter-from-school-over-severe-dairy-and-egg-allergies/

    It says it came from contact with a glove that a classmate had been chewing.

    Which makes me wonder, if a child has eggs/dairy at breakfast and the same situation unfolded, likely would be same reaction.

    This sounds like an awful condition to deal with and an awful situation for the schools to have to deal with.

  55. SOA January 14, 2014 at 2:19 pm #

    Our school keeps one epipen in the nurse office and one with the cafeteria manager and I assume that means she knows how to use it. I am also pushing for at least middle and high school students to be allowed to carry their own epipens since they don’t have nurses on staff 24/7 at that level of schooling and I don’t trust an office secretary to be in charge of my son’s life saving meds. I am waiting till he is in 5th grade to start advocating for it so by the time he gets to sixth it is taken care of.

  56. Donna January 14, 2014 at 2:25 pm #

    For the record, I do think that for special events involving food the best efforts should be made to be inclusive. That could mean just making sure to inform mom so that she has a fill-in cupcake to serving juice (well, water since others will complain about juice) instead of hot chocolate. I know that if I bring treats for the class for some reason, I make an effort to find something that everyone can eat.

    However, expecting an entire school to make accommodations TO THEIR OWN FOOD CHOICES for your child every single lunch, 180 days a year is ridiculous. Most of us are just trying to get a somewhat nutritious meal into our child within our own limited budgets as best we can. We have to combat our children’s tastes, phases, lack of interest in eating, preference for junk food, and boredom already. If we are on a day where my child will only eat peanut butter (it happens although not with peanut butter), then that is what she is going to get. It is fine to say serve almond butter, but my child detests almonds with unbrindled passion. If I sent her an almond butter sandwich, she wouldn’t eat it or anything else in the same lunchbox as the almonds. She would then have a hunger meltdown half way through the afternoon and throw a chair at your allergic child.

  57. Sheri January 14, 2014 at 2:30 pm #

    This is so interesting to me. My son’s best friend, all through elementary school, was a kid with a severe, anaphalaxic allergy to peanuts. And my kid has eaten a peanut butter and honey sandwich every morning since he was 3. His friend spent the night, many nights and played with mine. They touched, wrestled (god forbid), played basketball and skateboarded together (heaven forbid, probably even exchanged a touch of peanut residue). I kept an epi pen (supplied by his mother) and peanut butter and peanut products in the house, his mother never asked me to clean it out nor did she freak out when she found out MY son’s favorite food was peanut butter. Why? because she is a reasonable, lovely woman. By the time he went to school, he was well schooled (ha!) in how to avoid anything that wasn’t a real food (therefore little chance of peanut exposure). If anyone freaked out, it was me! My own son started life with a severe dairy allergy. Yet, he survived with everyone else having ice cream and milk around him.

    This is a completely unreasonable request.

  58. Warren January 14, 2014 at 2:38 pm #

    @KJ
    If my kids were in that school, I would be leading the charge to get kids back the right to have junk food at parties.
    Again, kids being restricted for one or two kids. Screw the healthier preaching. Junkfood at parties is not a bullet to the head for normal kids. Get your kid off the couch, and junkfood isn’t a problem.
    No kid has to exclude themselves because of food allergies. They just need to take precautions. If they are so sensitive that taking precautions is not an option, then homeschool and leave ALL the other students alone to live their lives.

  59. Sarah in WA January 14, 2014 at 2:39 pm #

    I think the most important question here is the one Lenore posed in the Facebook post that links to this one: “WHERE and WHEN SHOULD ACCOMMODATING END?”

    In my son’s preschool last year, we tried to accommodate everyone. We failed miserably. And trust me when I say that the whole situation was miserable.

    We are a nut-free school anyway. A few vegetarians demanded that we be meat-free. (Vegetarianism was a CHOICE for them, BTW, but they wanted to impose that on everyone.) A vegan parent, though she didn’t demand we ban all animal products, was sure to voice her discontent with cheese and any other dairy. One family was Kosher, though to be fair they simply asked that their daughter not eat any offending food–they didn’t request it not be brought in.

    On top of all of this, a family was very non-communicative about their daughter’s allergies. They just said they were life-threatening but wouldn’t give us a concrete list of what would set off a reaction. Granted, English was not their first language, so that made things difficult, but even a note they brought from their doctor didn’t really clear anything up for us. And it was always changing. One week something would be fine, then the next they’d be saying it wasn’t okay. It was a headache, to say the least!

    We asked that they bring in an epipen for her. They brought in an empty training pen. It never ended with them. We finally said she had to bring her own snack, but we still caught her sneaking some of the shared food, which always stressed us out quite a bit.

    Most elementary schools require that any paperwork and prescriptions be turned in to the school before the child can even be there. We should have done the same as a preschool. You would think that parents would always be vigilant about these things, but that’s not always true.

    How can schools accommodate 100%? They can’t. At some point, parenting should be up to the parents. Imagine that!

  60. Emily January 14, 2014 at 2:44 pm #

    >>That said, I’ve eaten dairy/egg free cupcakes and I think they might have been a hard sell for children.<<

    Not necessarily. All you have to do is take a package of Duncan Hines cake mix, since the mix itself is egg-and-dairy-free, and make it with a can of pop (cola or root beer for chocolate cake, Sprite or similar for any other flavour). Duncan Hines frosting is free of dairy products (and obviously eggs) as well. Every time I've done this, it's come out really well, so I don't think most kids would know the difference.

  61. ND January 14, 2014 at 2:44 pm #

    I was the kid who had to sit at the special table for lunch and couldn’t touch anyone and had to be careful about things like Valentine’s Day or birthdays. And you know what? It wasn’t that bad. I had two close friends whose parents would pack them allergen-free lunches so they could eat with me and I quickly learned to always have good snacks on hand. It was like having our own little club. Especially on rainy days when the other kids were all packed into the cafeteria while we played board games in our classroom.

    Did I miss out sometimes? Yes, of course. I learned to deal with it though. Same way I learned to always keep my epi-pen on me and never touch food if I didn’t know exactly what was in it.

  62. SKL January 14, 2014 at 2:55 pm #

    This is completely off topic, but I don’t know where else to put it. There’s a discussion going on elsewhere about bedtimes. “My school-age children’s bedtime is 7:30 and they don’t sleep until 9:30. Is the bedtime wrong?” And then comes the advice (which I’ve heard often) that when your kids don’t sleep, they probably need an *earlier* bedtime. So here’s this working mom encouraged to spend less time with her kids in the evening, putting them to bed early and then being essentially imprisoned in the house so the kids can sleep more than half of their life away. It struck me that this is yet another way parents are being forced to sacrifice on the altar of “good” parenting. Or am I crazy?

    I should note that this is on a facebook group, and none of us know each other’s kids in real life, so advice is just based on supposed “best practices.” Blah.

  63. anonymous mom January 14, 2014 at 2:58 pm #

    I agree that it sounds like a huge part of what is bothering the mom is her daughter feeling left out or having to eat “different” foods. Which, while in theory is a nice thing for her to want to address, sounds like it could be very dangerous in the long run. The only way her daughter is going to be able to live safely with a life-threatening allergy to two extremely common food items is by being very, very used to turning down food that everybody else is eating. If she grows up always eating the same things as everybody else, because her mother makes sure that nobody else around her is eating eggs or dairy, it seems like it will be just that much harder for her, when she is of an age where she won’t always be under the direct control of her mother or another adult, to make the choices she needs to make, even if it means being excluded from eating something or even from an event.

    I think the issue is with trying to fit food allergies into the traditional disabilities paradigm. But with the traditional disability paradigm, we’re talking about access and lack of access; with allergies, we’re talking about exposure and protection from exposure. In general finding the “least restrictive environment” for a child with a disability does not involve any level of change to daily routine in the life of the other students in the school. But it seems like accommodating extreme allergies can involve not just regulating the foods children can eat in school but also what they can eat at home (if another child ate cereal with milk or scrambled eggs or toast with butter right before coming to school and didn’t adequately brush their teeth or wash their hands, it sounds like it could cause a reaction) or what teachers can eat on their lunch break, then suddenly we have to think about what “least restrictive environment” means. Should the school become a very restrictive environment for most of the students and staff, in terms of what and where they can eat, so that one student with extremely severe allergies can be safe in the school? I don’t know, but I don’t think it’s a simple “yes.”

    I do think that these kinds of situations where we’re talking about extremely severe, life-threatening allergies to common foods that are extremely hard for the school to handle without very restrictive policies (that, realistically, you have to expect at least some people simply won’t follow) are ones where homeschooling seems an excellent option. I do understand wanting your child to have friends and have the same experiences as their peers, but if your child has allergies that serious, they will NOT have the same experiences as their peers anyway and probably need to get used to that fact so they can make good decisions as they get older. If we’re talking about life-threatening allergies, I’d say that protecting the child’s life by educating them at home would take precedence over trying to ensure they have the same social experiences as their peers.

  64. anonymous mom January 14, 2014 at 3:03 pm #

    @SKL, the “if they stay up past their bedtime, they probably need an earlier bedtime” is true for infants and maybe toddlers, not school-age children. Babies and very young children often get wound up when they are overtired, and you can avoid that by putting them to bed earlier. But the same isn’t true of older kids, at least not in the same way.

    We know that, as kids get older, they naturally move toward later bedtimes. Teenagers, for example, if left to their own natural rhythms, would tend to go to sleep quite late and wake up late. That’s not teenagers being lazy; it’s a real fact of teenage biology. Little kids go to bed very early, as they grow up they start to want to stay up later, and then as we get older again we start to want to go to bed early again (which is why, at 36, I find the idea of going to bed at 9 p.m. appealing, which would have struck me as laughably early a decade ago, and my MIL who is 60 has to force herself to stay up past 8).

    If a school age child is wanting to stay up until 9:30, I’d imagine it was because they are at an age where they are just naturally inclined to be up later. My oldest is almost 10, and he generally stays up until about 9 or 9:30. That seems to be pretty normal for kids I know his age. I wouldn’t expect him to go to bed at 7:30 the way his 2 and 3 year old siblings do, because it is natural for him to stay up later.

  65. mystic_eye January 14, 2014 at 3:03 pm #

    The issue is that there’s a difference between those that react to things they eat and those who react to airborne allergens. If this child only reacts to things they eat and/or physically touch (ie teacher touches butter and then touches the child with the butter still on her hands) then that should be able to be managed without banning milk and eggs. Schools can implement hand washing and face washing policies before class time. I agree it’s unpleasant to have to eat at a separate table but hopefully some of the other children’s families could voluntarily go egg/dairy free.

    On the other hand if the child has an airborne milk allergy then reasonable accommodation may be to ban milk products from the school as then it isn’t an issue that the child couldn’t have a cupcake and no hot chocolate at the reading event, the issue is the child couldn’t be in the room with the hot chocolate at all.

    It is reasonable to ban items over airborne allergies and luckily they are very rare. There’s also precedence for this as many schools have gone scent free due to airborne allergies.

    It’s not reasonable to ban items because “my kid can’t be trusted not to trade snacks with the other kids”. It is reasonable to say if the school is going to have a pizza day then they have to provide a reasonable substitute for the children who can’t have it, it’s not reasonable to say they can’t have pizza at all.

  66. anonymous this time January 14, 2014 at 3:21 pm #

    I can count on one hand the number of children in Canada who have died of anaphylaxis last year.

    Yet there are so many with “life-threatening” allergies! So that must mean that most of them manage to survive, even without bans of allergenic food at school.

    My son has anaphylaxis. Cashews and pistachios. I think he’s growing out of it. He’s had occasional exposure, lived through it. The key is the epi-pen. People who die of anaphylaxis die because they don’t have the drug in time. It seems absolutely reasonable to have one of those strapped to your allergic kid at all times when they’re out and about, including at school, rather than asking school, and the world, to eradicate chances of exposure.

    In Canada, we have “Sabrina,” she’s the Jacob Wetterling of the food allergic kids (dying from your allergy is as common as stranger abduction… so it’s more common per capita of allergic child, but not by much! We’re talking insignificant to infinitesimal here). She had the dairy allergy thing and died because she ate french fries served to her in the cafeteria with tongs that had touched cheese. She did not have immediate access to an Epi-pen. Moral of the story: stop serving poutine, or keep the Epi-pen on your person? I think the latter.

  67. John January 14, 2014 at 3:24 pm #

    Quote: “What rights DO individuals have, when they infringe upon the group?”

    I’m not a legal person but I’m guessing that individuals normally do not have any rights to infringe upon larger groups of individuals in order to accomodate them UNLESS…. they’re children. Forget the fact that sooner or later, children will be exposed to food items or circumstances that will seriously affect them due to their unique condition and forget the fact that the children affected will need to learn how to handle those type of situations and unless they learn at an early age, they NEVER will by age 18.

    It seems to be our western mentality that children are made out of balsa wood and are incapable of making responsible decisions. After all, they’re children and all children (persons under 18) do not know any better and aren’t supposed to know any better because….they’re children. Doesn’t matter if they’re 4 or 17, they’re STILL children. That seems to be the American mindset and apparently the Canadian mindset too.

  68. Kristen January 14, 2014 at 3:30 pm #

    I feel like a lot of parents nowadays don’t get the the concept that They r responsible to raise their kids! A couple of my kids have special learning needs and dietary needs- we tried public school- it didn’t meet their Ed needs ( I packed lunch so that wasn’t an issue) so I decided to homeschool- it is a sacrifice but its my job as a parent! I’m not going to sit around & demand somebody else to do it. If she feels passionately about it she should pursue starting a private schools for allergic kids. Parents need to grow up & stop depending on the gov.

  69. Donna January 14, 2014 at 3:51 pm #

    “On the other hand if the child has an airborne milk allergy”

    The mother stated that the school does not currently ban dairy or egg products. The mother stated that, although she doesn’t approve, the child eats in the regular school lunchroom every day. The child has had 9 lifetime reactions, only 2 of which are mentioned to be at school and neither involved cafeteria time. It is not remotely possible that this child has an airborne allergy and yet still eats in a cafeteria with kids drinking milk and eating cheese sandwiches at the next table and yet has never had a reaction.

  70. KJ January 14, 2014 at 4:05 pm #

    @Warren – Wow. Not very compassionate, are we?
    You can always tell the a-holes as the ones who think their kid’s right to a cupcake or peanut butter sandwich supersedes the health and well-being of another child in a PUBLIC school, where all children have the right to expect healthy, inclusive environments.

    I pray you and your children never have to deal with the challenges and struggles that a family like mine does and I hope I never come into contact with someone of your ilk in real life.

    I work hard every day to teach my THREE YEAR OLD what she can and can’t eat, why she can’t have the same cookies as her cousins at the family reunion party, why we bring her own special cupcakes to birthday parties. She’s got a long, long road of “being different” ahead of her and we’re preparing her for that road as best we can. It doesn’t make it any easier with people like you throwing tantrums about your “right” to have junk food at school supposedly trumping her right to attend school without accidentally getting sick or being left out of classroom activities.

  71. Emily January 14, 2014 at 4:22 pm #

    @KJ–I think that’s the crux of it. It’s not about one child’s right to have milk and eggs (or peanuts, or whatever), versus another child’s right to have the school completely free of their allergens; it’s about the majority of students’ rights to have allergen-containing foods, versus the minority of students’ rights to attend school, and participate fully in school. If Elodie’s mother wants a completely allergen-free environment, then that’s on her to provide, by homeschooling, or finding another school. If Elodie’s mom has been providing safe foods, and the school has been accidentally (or otherwise) sabotaging them, then that’s on the school. The solution shouldn’t be “exclude Elodie from every barbecue and special day,” but it seems to be evolving that way. As kids, most of us were taught “majority rules” as a way of resolving conflicts, but that only works when the “majority” changes from situation to situation. So, if the “majority” of people in a family with only one TV wanted to watch The Simpsons, and only one wanted to watch, say, a baseball game, then the Simpsons crowd would win. However, the “majority” might change, because there’s a chance that the one person who wanted to watch baseball, might agree with the popular opinion the next time–say it’s a decision between pizza and hamburgers, or a camping or cottage vacation.

    The problem with “majority rules” in this situation, though, is that the “minority” with food allergies, never changes. They’re the ones who always have to cede their needs to the majority without food allergies–and, these are NEEDS we’re talking about, not just preferences. So, I’m not going to definitively say that it’s fair for the minority with food allergies to always lose out, any more than it’s fair for the majority to always have to cater to them completely. “Allergy tables” seem like a good solution to most adults, but for kids, they can feel very lonely and segregating. Banning one allergen opens up a can of worms, because hey, if we’re accommodating Timmy’s peanut allergy, why not also accommodate Elodie’s milk and egg allergy? Then, if the school does try to accommodate every allergy, pretty soon, nobody can bring any food to school. As for home-schooling, that’s all well and good, but what about life outside of school? Surely Elodie would want to participate in extra-curricular activities, and, even if she doesn’t, surely she’d do things like playing outside, going to the park, running errands with her parents, visiting friends and family members, etc. I’m all for “world-proofing” children, but that’s a process–most kids in grade one (or younger) can’t read well enough to decipher every single label on every single food. Anyway, I don’t have a solution, except that better communication, and less hostility, between allergic kids, parents, and the schools, might be a way to a solution.

  72. KJ January 14, 2014 at 4:34 pm #

    @Emily – in my first comment I made it very clear I think the mom in the original story is completely out of line and is totally in the wrong.
    I don’t believe a school needs to ban all a certain food. I would never suggest my school be completely gluten-free. That would be ridiculous and impossible.

    However, given that in just one class of preschoolers, there are a couple with gluten sensitivity/celiac and another one with peanut allergy and possibly others, it only makes sense that instead of trying to accommodate all those needs for, say, a Valentine’s party, they just say, “You know what, let’s not have parents bring in food.”

    It’s easier on the teachers who all have to remember who is allergic to what, parent volunteers who might not have any clue about who has an allergy at all and it teaches kids that you can have fun without needing to stuff your face all time. Win, win, win.

    I also think it very much comes down to what is a “right” and what is a “want.”
    Every child has a right to a public education. EVERY child. Food allergies or not, disabilities or not. That’s the law.
    A child’s right to receive that education in a safe and healthy environment trumps cupcakes. Every time.

  73. HamiltonMother January 14, 2014 at 4:42 pm #

    This is so strange: I’m a personal friend of this mother. Her daughter’s allergy is no joke. One of the reasons why the escalation of accommodation was made was because a classmate who had eaten yogurt at lunch, in the same room, at a different table, coughed in front of Elodie, getting yogurt on her face and landing Elodie in the hospital after going into anaphalctic shock. Scary!

    I am pretty certain that the mother’s request has always been to prevent allergens in the classroom and to have alternatives available when schoolwide foods are consumed. That is the same accommodation that every other student is allowed in our area schools. Last year we had a classmate with a strawberry allergy. I forgot a few times and strawberries or cream cheese and strawberry jam sandwiches were sent back home uneaten. Inconvenient, sure, but an incredibly small price to pay to not kills a 5yo!

    Our schools have a legal obligation to make allergy accommodations and ensure each child is able to have a public education. Milk and dairy allergies mean pretty far reaching accommodations, but it’s not really that bad. The worst is for families that rely heavily on pre-packed foods. I’m pretty certain I could, with a little forethought, provide a good dairy and egg free lunch. We also make sure we wash our hands and face after a peanut butter containing breakfast and before school due to one of my son’s allergic classmate.

    Do I grumble from time to time about the permanent nut ban at my son’s school? Yes. Would I every think I have an equal right to provide nuts at the expense of someone’s life and health? Nope.

    It’s a complicated matter. Hopefully the school will come to the table with and open heart and a solution-focused mindset.

  74. Lesly January 14, 2014 at 4:56 pm #

    Kids with ADHD need meat and protien because meat and protein slows kids with ADHD down and fill them up!

  75. Mel January 14, 2014 at 5:00 pm #

    I don’t expect the school to stop serving, I expect children once old enough, to be taught what they can’t have and be responsible enough to avoid eating what they are allergic to. My son knows not to ingest dairy. He knows to ask what is in foods if it is offered, and to politely decline if it contains his allergen. I pack my son’s lunch, and provide safe snacks. The best gift I can give my son is teaching him to navigate around the world as it is, learn how to read ingredient labels, ask questions and say no to unsafe foods even if everyone around him is eating. He deserves to feel confident and capable in making the best decisions for his health. Mommy making everyone stop eating pudding in front of him wouldn’t change anything.

  76. Jenny Islander January 14, 2014 at 5:00 pm #

    Some allergies are more pernicious than others because of the nature of the ingredients. Peanuts can produce a fine dust when ground that clings to EVERYTHING in invisible yet potentially deadly amounts, and the allergen is also present in peanut oil, which can also cling to items/hands/clothing in imperceptible amounts. Hence the need to label apparently peanut-free items “produced in a factory that also processes peanuts.”

    But are eggs and milk that good at spreading themselves around?

  77. SKL January 14, 2014 at 5:03 pm #

    It seems strange to ask a whole school full of kids to forego milk. I have never heard of such a thing. At least where I come from, milk is considered an essential food for kids, served at every meal to all who can tolerate it (except the rare vegan kids, of course). Are there schools or any other kid-oriented places that have banned milk products?

  78. anonymous this time January 14, 2014 at 5:18 pm #

    Wow, hospitalized with anaphylaxis after someone who ate yogurt coughed near her?

    And how, exactly, would you control for that at, say, an airport, park, playground, etc?

    What happened to kids who had this allergy before we got so great at diagnosis? I imagine they perished as infants.

    Kids never die nowadays. That’s part of why we have a population crisis, I guess. We cannot tolerate risk of any sort of injury or death. A child who carries the burden of an allergy this life-threatening cannot have much of a life. Sort of “girl in a plastic bubble” sort of existence. I wouldn’t recommend school of any kind.

  79. Donna January 14, 2014 at 5:34 pm #

    “One of the reasons why the escalation of accommodation was made was because a classmate who had eaten yogurt at lunch, in the same room, at a different table, coughed in front of Elodie, getting yogurt on her face and landing Elodie in the hospital after going into anaphalctic shock. Scary!”

    I’m sure it was scary. My mother has had an anaphylactic reaction and it is scary. Unfortunately, Elodie’s issues mean that life is going to be more scary for her and her parents. It is not fair, but little in life is.

    Sorry, but the world is never going to be Elodie-proof. There is ALWAYS going to be a risk that some inconsiderate clod will cough in her face with a mouthful of food. In college. At work. On the street. Sneeze too. Should the whole world have to become dairy and egg free so that there is no chance that the bodily functions of another will ever impact Elodie? Or should we teach children not to cough and sneeze in other people’s faces?

    And how far back should her family get to reach? My child frequently eats her breakfast in the car (bad, bad mother). If she sneezes on Elodie right after eating yogurt or eggs in the car, will her mother then seek to stop me from eating dairy and eggs in my own home? Mandate that we have to get up earlier to eat breakfast at home?

    Or should Elodie and her family accept that they got a raw deal and life is going to be scary for them with many near misses, but ultimately they have no right to control the entire world’s food intake or their spontaneous bodily functions?

  80. HamiltonMother January 14, 2014 at 5:35 pm #

    Yeah, it sucks that all those kids who should’ve died from stuff are now aware of are over-populating the world, eh?

    Yeah, that’s why we have 7 billion people on the world. I’m sorry you bombed grade 5 math.

    The whole reason there is an Ontario Human Rights claim is because in Ontario it is a basic human right to receive a public education which includes accommodations for health/LD/disability needs. So, stop thinking like a reactionary American and start looking at whether it’s Elodie’s right under the law to receive this education and how might the school accomplish this.

    It’s a complex issue and one that hinges on the right to safely pursue an education and not on preferences.

  81. Andy January 14, 2014 at 5:36 pm #

    @anonymous this time What population crisis are you talking about? Western countries do not have enough kids to be born to replace previous generation. Our numbers will go down, not up.

  82. Donna January 14, 2014 at 5:45 pm #

    “Ontario it is a basic human right to receive a public education which includes accommodations for health/LD/disability needs.”

    I’m guessing that the basic human right is to receive a public education which includes REASONABLE accommodations for her needs. In no way does that mean that the entire school must be dairy and egg free. The school can, for example, choose to provide a tutor to educate Elodie at home.

  83. Donna January 14, 2014 at 5:51 pm #

    And Elodie’s family is not expecting accommodations from the school. The only accommodation that the school can really provide is a separate eating room for Elodie, which doesn’t prevent coughing incidents.

    Elodie’s family is expecting 560 families to accommodate their child’s needs. I took a human rights law class in law school and I believe I missed the part where private citizens are responsible for accommodating the needs of their fellow citizens or where private individuals can violate anyone’s human rights at all.

  84. Warren January 14, 2014 at 5:56 pm #

    @KJ
    Well hate to burst your little rose coloured bubble, but my kid will always be more important than anyone else’s, because they are my kid. Duh!!!

    Secondly, it is not just my kid. It is the rest of the kids in the class as well. 25+ to your 1. Pretty self righteous and arrogant to tell that many kids they cannot do what others do, what we did at their age, because you cannot teach your kid right food from wrong food. When your kid is hurt and cannot play a sport do you get the school to stop the sport? You can call me whatever name you want, but take a good long look in the mirror first.

    Your kid, your responsibility and nobody else’s.

    And for your info, my best friends son is an epipen carrying member of the nut allergy club. And yet she agrees with me, as our sons are in the same grade, and she has never once asked for a ban on anything. And just incase you may think she does not know what she is doing, she is a respected ER, and long term care nurse with over 20 yrs on the job.

  85. Warren January 14, 2014 at 6:08 pm #

    @Hamilton
    Get off the soapbox. I have raised 3 kids in Ontario schools.

    This mom is not taking responsibility. She want all the staff, all the kids and all the other parents to take the responsibility.

    You talk about her rights. While you freely trample on the rights of all the others.

  86. Kimberly Herbert January 14, 2014 at 6:58 pm #

    Tough the daughter is going to have to learn to deal with a world where these things are everywhere. Before you jump on me because I’m being mean, understand – I have the most deadly version of the peanut allergy. I had to take my lunch to school every single day in K – 5 because the law required that I get the cookie. THe cookie was either peanut butter or chocolate chip – but they were made together in the same kitchen.

    My parents didn’t freak out about it. They sent me with a lunch kit to school. Now the time the preschool teachers forced me to put my hands in peanut butter because my parents were overreacting and no one can have an allergic reaction from touching a food. They were very perplexed by me going into anaphylaxis. Their policy of not calling an ambulance – that caused a quiet heated discussion and led to us changing school districts. (They were being sued because a child received treatment their parent’s religion objected to. We moved to a district that would call 911)

    There are places I can’t go because of the allergy (Ren Fair near here, certain restaurants). Some places (sports events/planes) I wear a hazmat suit closed toed shoes, long pants, oversized lightweight jacket so that I can use the sleeves to protect my hands when I have to touch a surface.

    The University I attended, almost everyone lived on campus in dorms. I wanted that experience. We checked and they didn’t use peanut oil in the food. We had a rider, they agreed to that said if the policy changed I would be notified and given time to move off campus and get a prorated refund. Well the food service did start using peanut oil my senior year. I landed in the ER, found out why. Went to the Dean of Students – turned out the company that ran food services had done this switch against their contract. The University repaid my parents the copay for the ER trip, gave me (and some other allergic students)money to eat out for the weekend, and force the catering company to scrub the kitchen down to remove all traces – and demanded the managers who had done this be fired (this was the last in a long line of stupid moves by these guys)

  87. dccdmom January 14, 2014 at 7:44 pm #

    My son has intractable epilepsy and is on the Ketogenic Diet. Every bite of food that enters his mouth MUST be weighed out to the nearest 1/10 of a gram and approved by a dietician. Every product that can get on his skin must be researched and approved by a medical team (soap, markers,sunscreen, play dough, etc). He’s had status seizures of over 10 minutes from getting marker on his skin. I get how severe an allergy can be and how frightening for everyone involved.
    That said, I would never expect an entire school to eliminate every product that could potentially be harmful to my son. Sometimes that might mean that he isn’t included in an activity or has to be singled out by putting on gloves. Unfortunately that’s what he has to get used to. At 4 years old he knows not to eat anything I don’t specifically give him. He already knows not to use any body products that don’t have his name on them and to ask an adult before using anything questionable.
    The allergy thing really drives me nuts because it is absolutely impossible for me to provide meals for my son that don’t include dairy, nuts, and/or eggs. Whose child is more important then? Hers or mine. Which disability counts more? I just know that I’m not asking anyone else to eliminate everything my son can’t have.

  88. Stephanie January 14, 2014 at 7:50 pm #

    I have a friend whose son has allergies like this. Anaphylactic reaction to dairy, eggs, and one other I forget at the moment, which is down from what is was when we first met. Her younger son is allergic to eggs. She copes well, the kids know to be careful about baked goods, and with warning she can bring a replacement treat for her kids as necessary. It can be done, even at school without inconveniencing everyone else.

  89. LRothman January 14, 2014 at 7:54 pm #

    My son had a classmate in his first grade class that was deathly allergic to milk – if he touched it, he had a reaction. Everyone in his class washed their hands when they arrived in the morning and after lunch. He had a desk about 6 inches away from the table in the cafeteria (so that if someone spilled their milk, he’d be safe). For class parties, the treat was jello jigglers instead of ice cream. Not a huge deal (although the teacher had to learn to drink coffee with non-dairy creamer) and no lawsuits. Sensible parents, sensible school.

  90. Susanna January 14, 2014 at 8:23 pm #

    My son has (not that I have actually counted) 20 + known allergies, many of them are very common in foods. Most of the time, the only thing on a restaurant menu he can eat is a completely plain hamburger and sometimes you get lucky and they have rice. Of course, it is possible for me to feed him a variety of foods at home because I am fully aware of substitutions I can make and I consciously think about what to feed him all the time. I cannot imagine asking anyone, let alone an entire institution, to accommodate his needs. Are you kidding me? And, what if they do serve rice noodles with salt and pepper chicken sauteed in olive oil every day and then we find a kid that is going to die when served chicken? Then, what? This is outrageous. If they don’t force your kid to eat the food, you can’t sue them. Pack a damn lunch and move on.

  91. Susanna January 14, 2014 at 8:30 pm #

    Also, the idea that someone can DIE from touching someone or that came in contact with an allergen is pure myth. It has never happened. Even more complete BS is the airborne food allergy death. You can research it. The worse airborne contamination has ever been documented is a RASH. Simple google search.

  92. JP January 14, 2014 at 8:34 pm #

    First question: How rare is this allergy?
    1 in 10?
    1 in 100?
    1 in 1,000?
    going…..going……gone.

    This gets real interesting, if in fact, the allergy is that rare. We must begin to wonder, what does a majority mean, anymore?
    I’d say ma’am – the struggle to keep allergens (of these types) away from your daughter – should be switched to keeping your daughter away from those allergens.
    And no……it’s not the same thing. In fact, it’s as reversed as it gets. Care more about your kid, and a whole lot less about trying to rule the world. (delusions of grandeur abide in here, somewhere…)

  93. Steve January 14, 2014 at 8:39 pm #

    HamiltonMother, and everybody else on their allergy concern soapboxes.

    I find it VERY interesting that no one has commented on the information I posted earlier about a process to eliminate allergies. My wife got rid of hers by using this process.

    Something else to consider. There is a good chance you are programing your allergy ridden child to have a horrific attack that really could kill him/her just by mentioning the danger over and over and over again. It’s like helicopter parents debilitating their children by warning them over and over again that the world is a very dangerous place and they must never do this or that because they could be abducted and murdered.

  94. EricS January 14, 2014 at 8:46 pm #

    My nephew has allergies. A bunch of them. But we don’t hit the school to accommodate just him. We know that when it comes to allergies, he is in the minority. Most kids in his school don’t have allergies, and if they did, they weren’t life threatening. Most of the parents don’t expect to inconvenience 80% of the students, and certainly take away there right to eat what they want, and eliminate fun activities that, unfortunately, some students can’t participate in because of health issues. Instead, his parents, have taught him how to deal with any allergic attacks that happen. As well as what to avoid and how to avoid it. He understands that he may be excluded from certain things in school. But he also knows that it’s nothing personal against him, and it’s for his own well being. And he’s adjusted fine over the last three years.

    I understand this mother’s plight, but her child is in the minority among the children. So is it not discrimination towards the majority of the children by taking things away from THEM, just to accommodate her daughter? Common sense is right, but her common sense seems to be “MY common sense”. Like many things we discuss in this forum, the best way to protect your child is not by moving the problems somewhere else, but to teach them how to deal with the problem(s) where ever they may arise. Because her concerns just don’t fall in the school, it’s everywhere that has people eating. Does she expect ever single restaurant, diner, eating areas to suddenly just stop eating eggs and dairy? There is much flaw in HER “common sense”.

    It’s like Spock says, “The good of the many, outweigh the good of the few.”

  95. Reziac January 14, 2014 at 8:48 pm #

    So today it’s the school that accomodates your allergic child. Tomorrow, are you going to demand the same of university (which could impact tens of thousands of other students) or the workplace?? At what point do your child’s rights trump everyone else’s rights??

    As someone pointed out, for EVERY food, you can find someone who is deathly allergic. The only solution is NO food, NO unfiltered air, NO sunlight (a few people are allergic to sunlight). There are even people who are allergic to other people. Well, the solution is obvious — isolation bubbles for everyone!!

  96. EricS January 14, 2014 at 8:50 pm #

    And a “stay at home mother of five”. Hmmmm. Sounds to me like an opportunistic person suing the school for something like this. Human rights violation…really? Maybe more like needs the extra cash?

  97. Emily January 14, 2014 at 8:51 pm #

    Of course Elodie should be taught to avoid her allergens, and take responsibility for her allergy. However, that teaching is a process, and she’s in grade one, so she has a ways to go yet, and she’ll need adults to look out for her for a while–gradually decreasing as she gets older and more responsible, but the solution right now shouldn’t be “Elodie and her parents have to take full responsibility,” because Elodie’s parents don’t attend school with her, so during school hours, that’d boil down to “Elodie takes full responsibility.” If she was in high school, that’d be completely reasonable, but she’s six years old. The other extreme of expecting the world to cater to the needs of the one allergic student in the school, indefinitely, is also wrong, and it can result in cases like this:

    http://gma.yahoo.com/student-says-peanut-allergy-forced-college-withdrawal-004155276–abc-news-health.html

    However, like I said before, it’s not a black-and-white scenario. I like K.J.’s idea of food-free class parties and special events, and toys/trinkets for birthdays instead of food treats, since the previous solution of Elodie’s mother providing safe treats didn’t work, because the school messed up on the hot chocolate and the pancake syrup. This wouldn’t mean that the non-allergic kids could never have cupcakes, or ice cream, or PBJ’s, or whatever; it’d just mean that the kids in Elodie’s class couldn’t have them AT SCHOOL. I know it sounds like overkill, but young kids are naturally compassionate, provided that the person needing that compassion isn’t a bully, or otherwise a nasty person. So, it’s very likely that, if you were to ask a room full of six-year-olds, “Would you rather have an ice cream party without Elodie, or extra playground/Crazy Carpeting time with Elodie?”; then they’d pick the latter.

  98. Reziac January 14, 2014 at 8:57 pm #

    Steve says,

    “Something else to consider. There is a good chance you are programing your allergy ridden child to have a horrific attack that really could kill him/her just by mentioning the danger over and over and over again.”

    This is very much the case. Conversely, when someone is borderline but not quite reactive, calming them down can work wonders.

  99. MaeMae January 14, 2014 at 8:58 pm #

    On the subject of feeling left out: My daughter has Celiac Disease. While exposure to gluten is not an anaphylactic shock response for her it is still a life-threatening disease. Any time she goes anywhere Zi make sure to send food of the same kinds that will be served ie GF pizza for a pizza party, a cupcake for a birthday party. I even bring food when we go to restaurants as a backup. She does not feel left out and she doesn’t have to miss anything. I/she does not expect that every place we go only serve gluten-free foods.

    Her summer camp has been extremely accommodating. She did not get sick at all her first summer after her diagnosis and the food they made her was so good that all the campers wanted it. No need for the whole camp to be gluten-free for the week.

    That said, a lot of the comments on here are so heartless. Let’s have compassion for these kids. They do not choose to be allergic, it’s not in their heads, and they desperately want to be “normal”. There has to be a reasonable attempt to keep them safe.

  100. Betsy in Michigan January 14, 2014 at 9:12 pm #

    I hope there’s a counter-suit when all the other children aren’t getting their RDA of calcium. This mother is extremely arrogant. Yes, it’s hard to parent a child with special needs, and support is welcome and expected, but what if you have a kid on the autistic spectrum who ONLY wants to eat eggs as their protein? Speaking from experience, this is entirely possible. People are much more willing to help if you educate them about your special needs child, whatever their special need is. I’m thinking a laminated sign of the daughter’s name and photo in every room of the building, with short and sweet info about her life-threatening allergies. And a medi-bracelet, and whatever else. Sheesh.

  101. Nicole January 14, 2014 at 9:20 pm #

    Schools should accommodate allergies. They should provide a safe food for the child. They should provide either an allergen free table or supervision until the student is old enough to understand how to keep themselves safe. Here our schools won’t accommodate ANY allergies or special dietary needs, which is unfortunate. If a child has a documented allergy or illness (celiac, lactose intolerance, diabetes) the school should provide reasonable dietary accommodations.

    There’s some paranoia with food allergies, that aren’t based in the actual science. It’s unfortunate, but at a certain point, schools need to draw a line. You can’t exclude all potential food dangers and still feed the kids, as people are allergic/intolerant/whatever to almost anything.

  102. SaneMomof2 January 14, 2014 at 9:28 pm #

    I really do sympathize with the mom but asking every other student, teacher and administrator to eliminate all egg and milk products from all breakfasts, lunches and snacks is just too much. It’s bad enough that most schools are now nut-free. Do we really need to add more food groups to the no-no list? I know I’ve already had to completely change what my son eats due to the no nut policy. If I had to start eliminating eggs and milk products too I don’t know what he would eat for lunch everyday. It’s hard enough making him a healthy lunch.

    We have a little girl in our classroom who has an egg allergy but we also have a “no sharing” policy to try to keep all kids safe. I think that’s the most you can ask. No child wants to be singled out but it IS part of life sometimes. This same child will have to learn how to live in a milk/egg filled world.

  103. SaneMomof2 January 14, 2014 at 9:46 pm #

    And I have to agree with another commenter…. sounds more like someone looking for a payday or free tuition to me. I’m sorry but I just think the whole idea is ridiculous. These days, I really apologize for sounding heartless, but it seems like everyone is allergic to something so where does it end? Nuts? Milk? Eggs? Wheat? Soy? Meat? Itchy fabric? Elementary school? Middle school? High school? College? Workplace?

    What happened to our common sense? I don’t think it’s mean to expect people to continue to live their lives while you make the necessary changes that work for you and yours.

  104. Nicole January 14, 2014 at 9:59 pm #

    We simply can’t ban everything that anyone is allergic to, because there is “someone” out there allergic to everything. Peanuts for one child, eggs for another, milk for another, strawberries, shellfish…I know someone allergic to carrots, and another allergic to apples. It just doesn’t end. I count myself lucky that (as far as I know) I’m only allergic to scallops. They’re relatively easy to avoid. But I don’t expect other people to stop eating them. There will always be someone who can’t have something, and if we accomodate everyone, there will be nothing left for anyone to eat.

  105. baby-paramedic January 14, 2014 at 10:17 pm #

    I have some pretty bad allergies to common things (that aren’t common allergies). I have been placed in hospital numerous times due to allergic reactions. One of the side effects they think of being born quite premmie (I otherwise have come out quite well).

    And at the age of 6 I told my teacher to go away and stop trying to feed me a museli bar. At the age of 3 I knew to only eat out of my own lunchbox. My niece at age 2 could do the same.

    I missed out on things in school from time to time, and that was ok. I have to be careful at work in particular, but that is ok. I have had two significant reactions at work, one managed very well, the other requiring further assistance from an emergency department (being already there made it easy!). For work functions I either eat before or bring my own food, then pick and choose what I can from what is available. Same for weddings etc.

    If the children have those super rare vapour allergies, where even a whiff of something can stop them breathing, yes things should be banned. For me I have two allergies that are like this, in my final year of school for a couple of weeks we had to have lessons in the demountable because our regular classroom had been exposed to one of these allergens accidentally.

    Guess what, most haven’t got that level of allergies. Most require ingestion, some require just touch (but this is quite rare too).

    I refuse to be held hostage by my allergies. I am thankful my parents never made a big deal of other people having to accommodate my allergies. Every now and then I missed out on things, every now and then my parents would come in to bat for me in school (like when the classroom had been exposed, just to make sure we could come up with a good compromise).

  106. Peter January 14, 2014 at 10:23 pm #

    Normally, I’d be with those saying the kid should just learn to cope. But I have to agree that the school could be a little more flexible in offering choices.

    Mom makes cupcakes. The school can at least provide a cartoon or two of soy milk. Pancake day? Make sure one of containers of maple syrup doesn’t contain butter. It’s not that difficult.

    This sounds more like a negotiating tactic than a Mom out to make the universe safe for her child. Buying a few cartons of soy milk is probably a lot cheaper than a lawsuit, n’est-ce pas?

  107. KJ January 14, 2014 at 10:29 pm #

    @Warren- Apparently you have a reading comprehension problem. I specifically said there should not need to be bans on foods. I have also said the mother in the story is wrong and far too extreme.

    My child is THREE, and while she knows she can’t eat gluten, she does not know everything that contains gluten – because she’s THREE. WHILE she is learning those life skills, she has a right to be kept safe while in her public school classroom.
    I have never demanded our school do anything special for my child. I have been fortunate that our school has always has reasonable accommodations for kids with allergies that all families in the school can live with. Instead of food parties, they do toys. Apparently, this is offensive to you, which I just can’t understand. I would say that since most families at our school are in agreement with this system, it would be YOU in the minority in opposing it. When the majority chooses to protect the minority is where we find real human compassion.
    I am thankful for the compassion and care that other families have supported to keep my daughter and other kids safe and healthy.

  108. Donna January 14, 2014 at 11:25 pm #

    KJ – Where is a 3 year old even in a public school classroom?

    I certainly would not expect 3 or 6 or maybe even 10 year old to know everything containing gluten (or dairy or egg). However, kids as young as 3 can and do understand “never eat anything other than the food in your lunchbox” and “never touch anyone else’s food.” That is all they need to understand at that age.

    I don’t have a problem with schools deciding for whatever reason to ban food celebrations. Heck, I don’t think kids even need a trinket for a birthday at school. Take 30 seconds, sing happy birthday and leave the rest for a home party. I do have a problem with catering to a single student by canceling food celebrations that existed before the kid arrived, will exist after the kid leaves and everybody still really wants to have while the kid is there but now can’t.

  109. bmj2k January 14, 2014 at 11:30 pm #

    Of course I feel sorry and sympathize with the daughter. That said, the reality is the world does not revolve around any one person. People have to adapt to society. If society tries to adapt to every single person it will no longer be a society, just a group of individuals in their own little worlds.

  110. KJ January 14, 2014 at 11:50 pm #

    @Donna – My daughter is in a preschool program provided by our local public school district which is housed in a kindgergarten center. We do pay for the class time, but all the food is provided by the district’s food program that also serves all the public schools.
    My daughter gets a gluten free lunch and sits at a special table along with some other kids, as there are a few just in her classroom alone with allergies. Her doctor had to sign a form authorizing this special meal plan.
    And, like I said, the school has had this non-food celebration policy for long before we got there. As far as I have ever heard, it has not been a subject of contention.
    If the majority of families are in agreement for looking out for the youngest and most vulnerable of the students in the building, then I see no problem with the policy. If a majority of families stood up and wanted to change it, so be it. As long as I get a couple days’ notice, I can send along some gluten-free treats so my daughter isn’t left out. I do it for private home parties all the time. As it is, however, the school has decided it’s easiest and safest to just say “no food” and apparently most families support that, not just the parents of kids with allergies, and I’m very thankful for that.

  111. everydayrose January 15, 2014 at 2:53 am #

    The whole article is baffling to me. I’m completely missing the part where the school refused to accommodate her. It seems to me that sitting her at a separate table should be a good thing, but then the mom is bashing that. She says that her actions right now are a last resort but it looks to me like it was her intention from the start.

    I’m also quite surprised to see how sensitive so many people here are. I have a kid with a severe peanut allergy and I don’t understand how that’s supposed to affect anyone in the world except for HER. I cannot imagine in my wildest dreams walking into a school with a list of demands for them to follow. I chose to teach her from a very early age not to eat stuff that other people gave her. It’s as simple as that and she’s managed to survive to the 7th grade.

    My kids are also vegetarian. It’s a choice for us, yes, but it means that they’ve been excluded from eating a lot of things at parties or whatever. They knew from the time they were 3 or 4 that they didn’t eat anything with meat and it’s never bothered them in any way. Once again, I’ve NEVER expected anyone to accommodate that in any way. Sometimes I’ve sent alternatives, sometimes they’ve just done without. There have been times that other kids have made fun of them which gave them opportunities to stand up for themselves. Probably character building and good for them anyway.

    Those of you talking about how it’d be pretty easy to do dairy free lunches are insane. I’m already working around a peanut allergy (and my kids despise sunflower, soy, and almond butters so those are a no go) and no meat. There’s no way I’m going to attempt to pack lunches with no dairy too. Not that I pack lunches anymore. At 12 and 9 my kids are responsible for getting themselves fed at breakfast and lunch. At this point I truly have no idea what they eat during the day.

    One other thing I noticed was a lot of people pushing for no food in the classroom? Not a possibility for some. My daughter’s elementary school doesn’t have a cafeteria and the kids all eat lunch at their desks every day. When my peanut allergic daughter attended there they sent a note home for her class alerting us that several kids had severe peanut allergies and requesting that we don’t send peanut products. Just a request, not a requirement, and I was more than satisfied with that. Even if another kid is eating a peanut butter sandwich my daughter at 11 had the sense to be on guard for herself, just like she has to do every day of her life in every other situation.

  112. Andy January 15, 2014 at 4:13 am #

    @everydayrose It is in the end of the article. She baked some cupcakes and the school served them with dairy-based hot chocolate.

    I’m not sure whether that means chocolate was over those cupcakes (in which case I would understand the anger) or only available in the same room (which is different). The same with pancakes.

  113. susan Jackson January 15, 2014 at 7:55 am #

    Not only does this mean that every kid can’t eat milk or eggs in or even BEFORE school (because we know traces are left either on their face or their shirt)! I also wonder what mom’s plans are for her daughter as an adult. Let’s see..what college will comply with this mandate? What career? I can just see any of my jobs over my life, me saying “Oh, by the way…no one at this office can eat….” And I am not unaware. My daughter is allergic (anyphylaxis) and when the class went pumpkin picking, presented with a free apple, I sent her with a pear in a fanny pack…adapt, adapt, the world won’t bend for you!

  114. anonymous mom January 15, 2014 at 9:27 am #

    I think there’s some misunderstanding about how disability law in school works. I am not familiar with Canadian law, but in the U.S., the key words are “least restrictive environment” and “reasonable accommodations.” That means that a school must make *reasonable* accommodations to ensure a student can be in the least restrictive environment *reasonably possible*, not that schools must do whatever it takes to make sure that every student is fully “mainstreamed” every moment of the day.

    Students with mild LDs and physical disabilities are now usually able to be mainstreamed the entire day, because it is reasonable to accommodate them in the classroom. However, students with severe disabilities still often spend most or all of their day in a self-contained special ed classroom, because there simply aren’t reasonable accommodations that could be made to allow them to thrive in a mainstreamed classroom. For them, the least restrictive environment might be a classroom or school for students with severe disabilities. That’s not the school failing to accommodate them; it’s about the limitations of reasonable accommodations.

    If a student has mild or moderate allergies that can be dealt with by not ingesting or touching certain foods, that seems like something a school can reasonable accommodate while still keeping the child in the mainstreamed classroom and participating in all school activities. They can simply ensure that allergen-free foods are made available to the student or even that a particular classroom not allow food (or certain foods). But if a child is so severely allergic that a cough from a student who ingested an allergen will send them to the ER, it becomes a lot harder to make reasonable accommodations that will still allow the student to be in a mainstream classroom. It is possible that there could be a situation where being provided with a tutor at home is the least restrictive way to reasonably provide a student with extremely severe allergies with a public education.

    Students’ right to a public education does not mean they have a right to be in a mainstream classroom no matter what. Public education can include things like special schools and private tutors provided by the school. The school has to balance the child’s right to the least restrictive environment with the kinds of accommodations that can be reasonably provided.

  115. Kim J. January 15, 2014 at 9:45 am #

    My daughter is allergic to dairy, egg, peanuts, and tree nuts. She used to be allergic to wheat and soy. I do agree with most of the comments which state that a total ban in school seems like too much.

    I would like to say as a mother of a food allergic child that she is thrilled to be included in school related food activities. I still remember the times when the parents coordinating the class parties contacted me and arranged to have safe snacks for her, and I still remember when my daughter came home from school excited because one of her classmates had brought egg-dairy-nut free muffins for her birthday. I always make sure to bring alternatives for her and when it is my turn to provide the snacks, I make something that is safe for her. But having other people think of her and include her makes her day.

    Oh, and egg dairy and nut free cupcakes (and cookies, and most baked goods) can taste fine. I think that one of the winners of cupcake wars made vegan cupcakes one year. The chocolate crinkle recipe I use is hands down the best cookie recipe I have ever tasted.

  116. Lark January 15, 2014 at 10:08 am #

    That said, I’ve eaten dairy/egg free cupcakes and I think they might have been a hard sell for children.

    If anyone ever does need reliable egg and milk-free cake recipes that really do taste good, there are two in the Joy of Cooking – a chocolate one right here and an orange one where you basically leave out the chocolate and substitute orange juice for the water. I grew up eating the chocolate one and did not even think about it being egg/dairy-free. In fact, I know from experience that it’s a great cake for teaching a kid to bake – it goes together easily and always works.

    Both of these can be baked as cupcakes without changing the recipe. You can also include chocolate chips, coconut or (in the orange cake) raisins. I like to use rum (watch out!) in the orange cake (or non-alcoholic rum flavoring if needed).

    People generally don’t notice that these are dairy/egg-free cakes. They’re not as rich or sophisticated as a real egg or butter-based cake, but honestly they’re a lot quicker while still tasting home-made, unlike a mix.

  117. Jen Juhasz January 15, 2014 at 10:09 am #

    Feel sorry for that poor mom who must be going out of her mind…but by 6yo – her daughter should already be learning to help care for herself and be responsible for the foods ‘near’ her.

    I do think school is a great place to teach kids to be sensitive about others’ needs. Prevent access to eggs and milk? No. Teach all kids to be aware that maybe they shouldn’t give kisses and hugs or touch other people’s plate or food until after they have washed hands and faces? Yes. In a small school setting, make sure the lunch ladies have met the sensitive girl and know she shouldn’t have milk or eggs on or in her food? Yes (though if it’s so severe, her Mom needs to be supplying her with her own foods – my youngest, at 16 months old – already knows he has his own ‘special’ cheese and he’s not to touch his big brother’s food).

    As for the little girl with allergies – she needs to be taught to care for herself – after all, she’s going to grow up someday. Is her mom going to sue Safeway for selling Milk and Eggs?

  118. lollipoplover January 15, 2014 at 10:57 am #

    “Elodie was also “segregated” at lunch and snack time in kindergarten, and put at risk in Grade 1 when she had to sit at a separate table in the classroom while her classmates ate their cheese sandwiches and drank their milk.”

    Wasn’t this for her own safety?
    Claiming this is a human rights issue and that the child was segregated (when it was to keep her away from dairy products) insults all human rights victims. Hear that?
    It’s Nelson Mandela and Rosa Parks rolling over in their graves.

    It is impossible to keep dairy products away from this child in a school evironment. The school readily admits this. Unless all entered the building through a decontamination chamber and changed into orange jumpsuits and have only institutionalized approved food to eat for all meals. Oh wait, that’s a jail.

  119. anonymous mom January 15, 2014 at 11:13 am #

    @lollipoplover, Exactly. The “segregation” sounds like a reasonable accommodation. Again, students have a right to a free public education; they do NOT have a right to be “mainstreamed” in every single educational situation, if they can’t be reasonably accommodated.

    There just seems to be a great deal of confusion about this when it comes to allergies, where people think that severely allergic students exercising their right to a free public education means that the school has a legal obligation to do whatever it takes to make the school safe for them. That’s just not true.

    If a student was recovering from a bone marrow transplant and was extremely susceptible to illness and infection, the school wouldn’t be required to keep the school, or even the child’s classroom, free of germs (or even just the germs the child was most susceptible to). That would obviously be impossible. In that case, the school providing a home tutor would fulfill their legal obligation.

    The same is true of allergies. The school’s legal obligation to provide the student with a free public education does not mean that that education has to be provided in exactly the way the parent wants.

  120. Warren January 15, 2014 at 11:35 am #

    Nicole,
    Why should the school provide appropriate food? That is the parent’s job. Here in Ontario, kids bring their own lunches and snacks. So you are not asking the school to accomdate the kid, you are asking all the other parents to do it. Not reasonable at all.

    To the commentors going on about the lawsuit. If the school is found in non-compliance, the family gets no financial gain. The school board may be fined and forced to comply, nothing else.
    Too many of these parents see segregating their child, because of food allergies as traumatic and unreasonable. Yet they will demand that all the other students bow to their demands.

  121. Warren January 15, 2014 at 11:43 am #

    @KJ
    Do not confuse parents with a “whatever” attitude, with those that support your position.

    I have found that the vast majority of parents just go along with these moronic rules for a few reasons.
    1. They really don’t care enough to get involved.
    2. They are too lazy to get involved.
    3. They are too scared to get involved.

    As for the majority taking care of the minority. That is wonderful, and is great when needed. Not needed for day to day living.

    I had one employee early on in our company with a nut allergy. He demanded that we go nut free, at work. He was informed that we were not doing it, and had no obligation to do so. After two weeks of his demands he found himself filing for unemployment.

  122. everydayrose January 15, 2014 at 12:34 pm #

    @Andy..yes, I saw that but once again, I’m not seeing the problem. Hot chocolate is a drink over here so the little girl could have eaten the cupcake but not had the drink. Obviously the school provided that for all the other students and while it would have been nice for them to provide something Elodie could drink it’s ultimately not their responsibility. Just like I don’t think it’s her mother’s responsibility to bake over 500 cupcakes. She could have just sent one cupcake and an appropriate drink for her own daughter and everyone would have been happy, but no, she wanted to control what every other child in that school was served while not making sure her own daughter was taken care of. The entire scenario is ridiculous.

  123. Donna January 15, 2014 at 1:20 pm #

    The school even was willing to accommodate Elodie with the hot chocolate. The mother admits that she was asked if a non-dairy hot chocolate exists. While it would be a nice gesture, I guess that I still don’t see why the school should have to scrap its plans for serving hot chocolate because the mother of one child is complaining. And someone please give me an alternative beverage beside water that everyone will definitely be able to drink.

    This really seems to be more about the mother wanting Elodie to have the exact same things as everyone else. Since it is not possible for Elodie to be like everyone else, she wants everyone else to be forced to be like Elodie. Having her own cupcake wasn’t good enough, everyone had to have her cupcake. Having a beverage wasn’t good enough, everyone else had to drink something Elodie could drink. Having her own pancakes wasn’t good enough, everyone had to have her pancakes.

  124. Warren January 15, 2014 at 1:54 pm #

    My advice to the other parents at this school, if this mother’s complaint goes thru, would be to immediately file a counter complaint against the school and this mother on behalf of the student population.

  125. Christina January 15, 2014 at 2:03 pm #

    My kids have g6pd enzyme deficiency, which means there is a long (and somewhat odd) list of things they shouldn’t ingest. It’s a potentially life-threatening condition (especially as their levels are near zero), so we: 1) taught them the short list of things that will land them in the hospital, 2) taught them to ask about the ingredients in unfamiliar foods, 3) have them wear med-alert bracelets, 4) gave the school the list of forbidden ingestibles and side effects. Beyond that, I just never made a big deal of it and the boys followed my lead. Their biggest takeaway is that they should be thoughtful of other peoples’ possible allergies, and they have gone so far as to let me know which kids in their class have food allergies (and which type) so that I can choose and bring treats everyone can eat.

  126. Christina January 15, 2014 at 2:04 pm #

    Forgot to mention – they are six.

  127. Emily January 15, 2014 at 2:19 pm #

    @Donna–Believe it or not, some people are allergic to water:

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2100451/The-woman-allergic-water-kiss-fiance.html

  128. Donna January 15, 2014 at 2:24 pm #

    @Warren – I’d love to see an attorney representing the other students ask to intervene in this lawsuit. I don’t know if you can do this in Canada, but in the US when an existing lawsuit affects the rights or interests of 3rd parties, those 3rd parties can ask the court to allow them to be made a party to the lawsuit. Since the decision of the court will affect the other children in the school more than anyone else, they should have a say in the lawsuit.

  129. Donna January 15, 2014 at 2:33 pm #

    “Believe it or not, some people are allergic to water”

    Emily has now shown that there is absolutely no consumable item that is safe. Students should be subjected to strip search every morning to ensure that no food or beverage enters the school. All children should be bused home for lunch break – a shower, change of clothes and teeth brushing and flossing are mandatory – only to return for another strip search and afternoon classes. Any child caught with a food or beverage item, no matter how inadvertent, shall be subject to expulsion.

  130. hineata January 15, 2014 at 2:43 pm #

    One of our good family friends have a daughter who is severely allergic to nuts, dairy and eggs (anaphylactic). We do not have food-free classrooms here because we don’t have cafeterias. She simply eats slightly apart from others, and brings her own food to parties, as others have talked about above. She’s never had a reaction at school, and has lots of self esteem, thank you very much :-). Am sure it must be difficult for the mum to see her child required to be different from other kids, but that’s life, and, guess what, kids get over things.

    I wonder if Elodie’s mum would be willing to keep her off school every time she showed any traces of a cold, flu, virus etc until those signs were completely absent? Technically colds, flus and viruses could kill the Immuno-suppressed, and the immuno-deficient like my daughter, and although these people are incredibly rare, don’t they deserve to participate fully in public schools? Shouldn’t schools be decontaminated every day, and students checked for temperatures, coughs etc, using thermo technology like they have in Singapore airport?

    Or, wait, maybe the kids it actually concerns could just learn that sometimes they need to stay away from something, or miss the occasional party, or take preventative medications….

    This trying to accommodate everyone and everything is the road to insanity.

  131. Warren January 15, 2014 at 2:53 pm #

    Donna,
    Actually this isn’t a lawsuit. It is a complaint filed with a tribunal. All the tribunal can do is impose fines, and force compliance with their ruling.

    Everyone else was calling it a lawsuit, and I fell into it with them.

    Called a tribunal, it is not a court of law. They will read the complaint, take statements and such to determine whether they need to take actions against the school.
    This one will probably go nowhere, like the lady complaining about acorns on the school property awhile ago.

  132. Papilio January 15, 2014 at 4:12 pm #

    I now imagine all the other kids stuffing themselves with wheat-containing PBJ sandwiches and pouring milk and smearing egg all over themselves the whole weekend, before they have to return to their allergen-free school on Monday…

  133. Marilyn January 15, 2014 at 7:21 pm #

    Perhaps schools should have a room that these allergy prone children eat their lunches in but, even then, the child allergic to nuts may not be allergic to dairy so could contaminate that allergic child! It should maybe go back to the child going home for lunch or being supervised by the parent. The whole of society cannot be expected to start eliminating healthy diets formthe kids because of allergic prone children. It is a conundrum but not up to the schools to,”police”

  134. jade s January 15, 2014 at 10:44 pm #

    I am a mom of a 13 year old with severe food allergies. My family believes in taking personal responsibility for our health. We do home school but when my daughter turned 11 she started dance. We were unsure if it would be work out with her many allergies. Now she carries her epi pens in her bag and knows she can’t share snacks with other kids. On birthdays the studio does cupcakes so we ask to be notified a day or two in advance and we make one for her to have at the same time. Her best friend at dance has many of the same allergies so they have someone who gets it. My daughters doctors have helped her become independent. She will be going on a student ambassador trip to Europe this summer and can handle her life threatening allergies. These kids have to learn how to live in the real world and the parents attitude has everything to do with how people react to any accommodations. Now the only thing she needs is to read labels.Other kids and families are not impacted by her allergies. This is how it should be.

  135. C.J. January 15, 2014 at 10:50 pm #

    I absolutely think if there is an airborne allergy that food should be banned. It’s not worth the risk. If the allergy is ingestible kids should be taught to manage their own diets. The school is already peanut free. If you add dairy and eggs to the list there isn’t going to be a way to send balanced lunches. My friends daughter has PKU. Her dietary restrictions are so severe she will have to drink special formula that tastes incredibly nasty for life. It’s not an allergy but if she eats food she isn’t supposed to she can have seizures and end up with brain damage. I met this child when she was 4 and she could go through a buffet and know what she can eat and how much at that age. Her parents have to count everything she eats. They have to count the phe in her food and she has to has a minimum and maximum for the day. Her mom sends special treats she can eat if they are having a fun day at school. She knows not to eat anything without telling her mother. When she comes over to play with my daughter her mother sends food for her and I always keep things in the house I know she can eat. I have asked the mom to teach me about her diet so she can play here and even have sleepovers. I have no problem having her here because I have been educated and she knows exactly what she can have. Her mom does not expect the school to alter anything for her child. The child has to learn to accept that others are going to be able to have things that are dangerous for her. Precautions should be taken but banning everything is not the answer.

  136. Emily January 16, 2014 at 12:53 am #

    @C.J.–Is Elodie really airborne allergic to milk and/or eggs? When a previous poster said that she’d had a serious reaction that sent her to the E.R. because a classmate ate yogurt and then coughed in her face, did that classmate cough yogurt on Elodie, or was there enough of a time lapse that it could plausibly have been a true airborne reaction? I mean, if there’s any doubt, Elodie should be treated as if she’s airborne allergic until she can get tested to verify that, but that might well have to mean educating her at home, with a private tutor. I’m just curious, though–how do private tutors work? Are they there all day? What about working parents with kids who are too young to stay home alone? Can the tutor double as a caregiver in those cases? If the answer to those questions is “no,” then one parent is going to have to stay home, or else hire a separate caregiver or nanny for the child, because a group daycare situation wouldn’t likely be able to accommodate a child with severe food allergies any more than a school would.

  137. mobk January 16, 2014 at 1:52 am #

    Blinded, placebo-controlled studies by Sicherer et al. were unable to produce any reactions using the odor of peanut butter or its mere proximity.

    In other words “airborne” peanut allergies may be non-existent or psycho-somatic.

  138. mobk January 16, 2014 at 1:58 am #

    I am fairly sure Soylent Green will be the only viable school food choice by the time my youngest hits grade school.

  139. Jennifer January 16, 2014 at 4:23 am #

    At some level, it comes down to practicalities.

    The school cannot physically guarantee a milk free environment. Milk is a common and ubiquitous ingredient – they would need to not only ban obvious things like milk, pudding, yoghurt, cheese, chocolate and butter, but also things like margarine, bread, lunch meat, canned soups, hotdogs, canned tuna, tortilla chips, dry cereal, cereal bars, crackers, granola, vegetarian meat substitutes, chicken broth, cookies, instant potatoes, potato chips, salad dressings, soy cheese and soy meat products, and spice blends like chili powder, all of which commonly contain milk products.

    It also strikes me that the mother is losing sight of priorities. Is is really important that the child have the *exact* same food as her peers (requiring 520 dairy free cupcakes to be baked) or that she get a similar substitute treat, requiring 1 dairy free cupcake, or an arrangement for her mother to provide a safe piece of pizza on pizza day.

  140. Mannie January 16, 2014 at 7:35 am #

    I sympathize with the mother and the child, but this goes way too far. Banning two very common foodstuffs because a defective can’t eat them? That is too much of an imposition on others. Let her attend school in a space suit.

  141. Donna January 16, 2014 at 8:14 am #

    “I absolutely think if there is an airborne allergy that food should be banned. It’s not worth the risk.”

    Exactly why should the food be banned for hundreds of non-allergic children instead of banning (with proper schooling arranged at home) the one child?

    “how do private tutors work? Are they there all day? What about working parents with kids who are too young to stay home alone? Can the tutor double as a caregiver in those cases?”

    No, the tutors are not there all day. It is more akin to homeschooling with a state-paid teacher rather than mom. The tutor comes in and works with the child but much of the learning is done independently. A lot would be done online now. No, the tutor absolutely would not act as a caregiver. Yes, other childcare would have to be arranged just like for parents with a child undergoing chemo who can’t go to school because of germs or my client who can’t go to school due to massive brain trauma from a car accident.

    Look, life isn’t fair. Some people get charmed lives while others get struggle after struggle. It sucks. I have absolutely nothing but sympathy and respect for parents and children who have these huge burdens to bear just to survive. But at the end of the day, it is their burden to bear. They have to make the major accommodations, not everyone else. It takes a village and all that, but at some point the village does get to say “we feel for you but this is far more than we signed up for when you and your husband decided to have sex.”

    And I think making hundreds of kids spend their school years living as though they too have a life-threatening dairy and egg allergy is pushing the village-concept too far. I would totally send my daughter to school with dairy and egg free lunches if Elodie was her friend and she wanted to be able to sit with her at lunch. I would do it because it was HER choice, HER expression of empathy, HER willingness to give up the things that she loves to be with her friend and I think that that is a wonderful thing. I simply don’t support demanding that hundreds of perfectly healthy children live as though they have a life-threatening illness against their wills.

  142. C.J. January 16, 2014 at 9:59 am #

    @ Emily, I really don’t know if this child has an airborne allergy. I was more speaking in general terms because there is probably a lot of information that didn’t get reported. We are only getting one side of the story. As far as I know airborne allergies are rare. My neighbour’s daughter has an airborne allergy to nuts, she can’t be in the room with it or she will be in the hospital. This child had a reaction after having yogurt coughed in her face, she seems to do fine being in the room with it. There is no possible way to eliminate the risk totally. There never will be unless the child lives in a bubble. All anyone can do is take precautions. We have a few allergies in my kids school. One child has a bee severe bee allergy. He stays in for recess if the bees are bad because there is no way to not bring bees to school. We were an allergen aware school up until a few years ago. Just the kids who were in the class with the child with the allergy couldn’t bring the food allergy food. One mother fought with the school for a school wide ban and finally won when her daughter was in grade 5. She is now in grade 7. Precautions were taken and there was never an incident where a child had to be rushed to the hospital. Now we can’t send peanut butter to school for a grade 7 student and a grade 2 student both with ingestible allergies. We can’t send tuna because a grade 4 student has a ingestible tuna allergy. I think it is much more reasonable to take precautions and teach kids not to eat anything that isn’t packed for them by their parents than ban all allergens. Our school has epi pens for children that need to keep oneand staff trained to use them in an emergency. It was working just fine without a school wide ban.

  143. pentamom January 16, 2014 at 10:45 am #

    That “allergic to water” thing HAS to be psychosomatic. You can’t live without ingesting water-based fluids, and part-water solids, and the fact that things other than pure water like fruit juice “don’t bother her” makes no sense, chemically. Fruit juice is still H2O, it’s just H2O with other stuff in it.

  144. Emily January 16, 2014 at 11:07 am #

    @C.J.–Wow, that is pretty insane, banning allergens from the ENTIRE SCHOOL, over ingestible allergies. For an airborne allergy, that sounds reasonable, but for ingestible, it seems like overkill. I think that that’s the root of the “Hysterical Allergy Mom” stereotype; treating EVERY allergy like the most severe airborne allergy, when that’s wrong, because they’re different. I went to summer camp with a girl who had an airborne peanut and tree nut allergy, so we didn’t have nuts at camp. Some years later, I knew a young man with an ingestible peanut allergy, which meant that someone could be eating a PBJ right next to him, and he wouldn’t react. Going without nuts for a few weeks, because someone has an airborne allergy to nuts, and can’t be in the same ROOM with them. is different from going without nuts, or eggs, or milk, or pretty much any allergenic foods at all, indefinitely, because someone has an ingestible allergy. Also, these “nut-free” (and sometimes even “other-allergen-free” policies) seem to be blanket and permanent–so, they stay around even after the allergic student/camper/participant is gone, and I think that that makes them less powerful, and makes it easier for people to forget, or second-guess the policy. However, if it’s enforced sensibly, when necessary, then it’s easier to put a face on it–“No peanuts, at all, ever, because we say so” is going to be harder to enforce than, say, “No peanuts at the dance studio, because Susie will die if she smells peanut residue. Here’s a photo of Susie on the wall, with her treatment plan.”

  145. C.J. January 16, 2014 at 12:00 pm #

    @ Emily, that’s my thought too. When we just had some safety precautions in place people followed them. Now that it is a blanket policy my kids tell me about kids bringing things in that are banned all the time. Teachers don’t really check, at least in the my kid’s classroom. I’m sure they pay more attention in the classrooms where there actually is an allergy. There is no lunch room, kids eat in their classrooms. I have absolutely no problem accommodating an airborne allergy anywhere in the school. I do have an issue with not being able to send my sixth grader with a tuna sandwich because there is an ingestible allergy in the fourth grade classroom down the hall. I think the allergy prevention overkill is more dangerous to severely allergic children. People don’t take it seriously when there are unnecessary blanket policies. People are more likely to take it seriously when it is only done for severe cases where it is dangerous to even be in the same room.

  146. Leslie January 16, 2014 at 12:57 pm #

    I understand that it is scary have a child with allergies. But what about the right of other kids. Some kids will not eat just anything. When I was a child I loved peanut butter and would only eat peanut butter sands hide or tuna. So if that wasn’t what was in my lunch box I didn’t eat. It took year for me to start liking food again after many many years of not eating lunch. I know many kids who are still like this. In fact my daughter loves tuna (not allowed in her school), Nutella and peanut better also not band. So she takes milk, OJ, strawberry, egg sandwiches, and pasta with Alfredo. If you band eggs and diary what will my child eat? And she the easy one my son is monster when it comes to food, most pickiest kid I know. What about my kids right to eat. Or is your kids right better then the other 300 kids in the school. If my kid was allergic to trees would you cut them all down or how about bees let kill all the been just I cause. Some kid are allergic to the sun believe me they parents home school them. It sad I know her poor little 6 year old who can’t understand why at home the world is about her but at school has to eat lunch by her self. Poor thing will never be able to go to a park or use the bus or even the mall. Oh wait let ban milk at the mall too and bus, banks, parks, anywhere this poor child might go. We can’t have here learn to take care of herself and think the hole world isn’t about her

  147. Leslie January 16, 2014 at 1:13 pm #

    I understand that it is scary have a child with allergies. But what about the right of other kids. Some kids will not eat just anything. When I was a child I loved peanut butter and would only eat peanut butter sands hide or tuna. So if that wasn’t what was in my lunch box I didn’t eat. It took year for me to start liking food again after many many years of not eating lunch. I know many kids who are still like this. In fact my daughter loves tuna (not allowed in her school), Nutella and peanut better also not band. So she takes milk, OJ, strawberry, egg sandwiches, and pasta with Alfredo. If you band eggs and diary what will my child eat? And she the easy one my son is monster when it comes to food, most pickiest kid I know. What about my kids right to eat. Or is your kids right better then the other 300 kids in the school. If my kid was allergic to trees would you cut them all down or how about bees let kill all the been just I cause. Some kid are allergic to the sun believe me they parents home school them. It sad I know her poor little 6 year old who can’t understand why at home the world is about her but at school has to eat lunch by her self. Poor thing will never be able to go to a park or use the bus or even the mall. Oh wait let ban milk at the mall too and bus, banks, parks, anywhere this poor child might go. We can’t have here learn to take care of herself and think the hole world isn’t about her. As for the mom who kids have allergies, it bad I get it. If your kids are that bad home school, take responsibly for your child, have them go home for lunch or ask the school to maybe have lunch in the gym (that’s where we ate at kids) them the kids with allergies can eat in a class room that is free from whatever. Have the kids who are stating peanut butter, milk strawberry wash there hands after. Go to your child school talk to there class let them know what going on. I goddaughter best friend has strawberry allergies. His mom come to class talked to the kids and let them know what going on. Guess what on a school trip he had a attack and it was his friend who saw it coming and stop it from getting worst. Kids are smart and can be shown how to react.

  148. Donna January 16, 2014 at 1:19 pm #

    I don’t really think there is such a thing as a airborne dairy or egg allergy. To have an allergic reaction, you HAVE to come in contact with the allergen. You can’t just look at it or smell it.

    The reason that nuts can cause an airborne reaction in extremely rare, highly sensitive people should be evident whenever you touch a peanut and dust gets all over your hands. Those loose particles of peanut get into the air, the allergic person breathes, the particles of peanuts go in and bam. Just like pollen allergies.

    Dairy and eggs don’t have dust, unless you are messing with the powdered variety. No cheese or yogurt particles enter the air when you eat those items so contact never happens and a reaction cannot happen. That is why Elodie, who is definitely highly sensitive, can sit in a room with kids eating dairy and egg products all day without having a reaction – no dairy or egg particle can remove itself from a slice of bread, float up into the air and enter her nasal passages – but did react when a boy with yogurt particles mixed with his saliva coughed on her.

  149. Warren January 16, 2014 at 2:45 pm #

    Gotta love how these parents see the world.

    UNFAIR AND CRUEL= a child with a “deadly” food allergy being made to eat seperately from the rest of the students, for their own safety.

    FAIR AND REASONABLE= the entire school population of students and staff having extensive restrictions put on their food choices.

  150. Emily January 16, 2014 at 2:54 pm #

    Another thing I forgot to mention–it may embarrass the allergic participants to have their photos and allergy details/treatment plans posted on the wall, but sometimes, that’s necessary. For example, at the YMCA I go to, there’s a sign on the kitchen door that says something about not bringing peanut products into the YMCA, because an unnamed child who attends Y’s Kids has an allergy, but then there’s a vending machine about fifteen feet away that sells protein bars with peanuts in them. Now, I’ve never objected to this, because for one thing, I’m not sure anyone would listen, but also a little bit out of self-interest. See, I’m vegan, and the YMCA sells Clif bars in the vending machine. Most other kinds of protein bars have milk in them, but Clif bars are fine for me. Also, since I’m vegan, peanuts, nuts, and peanut butter are major sources of protein for me, and when I don’t have enough protein/iron in me, I feel faint. So, sometimes, I really need that Clif bar after Zumba, or Cardio Kickboxing, or Gravity class. So, I don’t think that the YMCA is very consistent in their food allergy policies, but this doesn’t seem like something that’s ever going to change, and it’d be pretty hypocritical if I spoke up, while also benefitting from their inconsistency….and, deliberately NOT eating a Clif bar that’s available to me, while I’m feeling shaky and out of it, would be stupid, and possibly even dangerous to my health. I believe that the day camps and other “full-day” type children’s programs are nut-free, and maybe that’s enough–we’ve had kids at the YMCA with nut allergies, and never had a problem, as far as I can remember.

  151. Kelly January 17, 2014 at 10:07 am #

    My child has multiple food allergies. So, I know what it’s like to be an allergy parent. And, let me tell you, for every understanding helpful parent, there are 5 who don’t understand and frankly, just don’t care. They are unwilling to make any changes to help ensure the safety of allergy kids.

    I don’t know the woman in this article but I will bet the bank that this was not her first line of defense. This was a last resort after years of getting no support, after years of being made to feel crazy over the top, years of verbal abuse either to her face or behind her back, and years of having this sick deep pit of worry in her stomach because she is sending her child into an unsafe environment.

    There is certainly a middle ground somewhere, it’s just a matter of people thinking less about themselves and more about the kids.

  152. Jen G. January 17, 2014 at 10:26 am #

    I have to possible solutions.

    1. Homeschool the child.

    2. The school should stop serving meals. All children should bring their own food. Then, it is no longer the school’s responsibility.

  153. susan Jackson January 18, 2014 at 3:37 pm #

    What happens when this child goes to college or to work at job? Is mom going to be able to limit things there?

  154. Lea January 19, 2014 at 11:07 am #

    I am on the moms side. Having dealt with uncooperative schools on many issues I know what it took to get her to that point. I also know what it’s like to live with sever food issues and constantly being afraid of cross contamination that will make you sick enough to need a hospital. You can’t take precautions in the whole world but you can and should make main environments safe for you or your child. These really are common sense steps for food allergies,the same as ramps, wide door ways, larger toilet stalls, elevators and removing seat so a wheel chair can get around and sit, are common sense. Although those basic accommodations were once argued against as well in schools.

    The lawsuit is a desperate step for this mother who has tried to work with the school on reasonable accommodations. She doesn’t actually want to ban all egg and dairy from the school. She wants the school to come to the negotiation table and take her child’s allergy and emotional well being serious.

    I feel for none allergic kids who can’t have a favorite food during the school day. I’m sure it’s sad and maybe frustrating at times to try and expand their unwilling pallets. There sadness and frustration does not trump another child’s serious health risk. No child has a medical need for a favorite food. Nope not at all.

    There is no reason why this girls classroom couldn’t have been a dairy and egg free one. They didn’t have to eat those products in the classroom. Other things could have been used in parties and celebrations.

    The school should have made it known a child had a sever allergy to eggs and dairy, the same way they would for a peanut allergy. Specific notes sent home about the allergy and classroom/school wide accommodation that would be taken as well as basic education about cross contamination.There was no reason not to and to treat the allergy with respect. When children know that a classmate has a a food allergy that can hurt or kill them they are very willing to accommodate, much more so that adults usually. Children who know someone in their environment can become very sick from their favorite foods are often very willing to give up that food, during school time, in order to accommodate that other persons safety. Children have far more empathy than adults. Kids who take attitude against giving up a food, usually have a cranky adult in their lives, muttering about how unfair it is and it just shouldn’t be that way, or telling them to take it or eat it anyway because the other person’s needs aren’t as important as their desires.

    Why couldn’t they have had a dairy, egg and peanut free table that anyone could sit at, so long as they didn’t have the allergy foods? I’m sure there were children in the school that didn’t always bring those foods in a lunch. That would mean that the little girls friends, who would have known what she couldn’t touch and such, could bring a lunch they could eat near her if they wanted to. A bit of school wide education on food allergies would have gone a long way towards this as well. Stick a child at an allergy table, all alone, without educating that rest of the school on it and you have a recipe for making them a social outcast. Meal times are social times. She should have been accommodated so that she could have that opportunity as well.

    They could have easily have provided/required alternative foods at special events as well as generous supplies of hand wipes or access to hand washing stations and lessons on cross contamination. You don’t have to have chocolate in classroom parties, even for valentines day. You certainly don’t have to eat cheese sandwiches, drink milk or eat buttered popcorn in a classroom with a child allergic to those things. There was no reason to exclude this young child from social events, rather than make accommodations and educate the school on food allergies and cross contamination. That is just plain cruel. Maybe everything can’t be made to include her but everything can be made not to exclude her. A bake sale might not have something she can eat but that doesn’t mean what others eat can’t be contained to a certain area and hand washing precautions taken for safety reasons so that the child doesn’t have to skip the whole social event and be excluded.

    When she is older she will be able to advocate for herself. She will have no issues when she is dating or in the work place, being up front and saying “I am highly allergic to _________. Do not touch me, my area, or kiss me if you have been in contact with these things. Please wash up first and brush your teeth. If you don’t ________these things will happen to me. Using the “what will she do when she is older” excuse for not doing anything to accommodate when she is young is simply ridiculous. By that reasoning we should never accommodate or children’s needs for anything because they have to deal with it as adults on their own. No more tying their shoes, or dressing them, or cutting their food, or buckling them into the carseat or helping them understand what a word means, or cooking their meals….they need to figure out how to cope with these issues on there own at a young age so they can do it as adults!

    This school seems to have done very, very little to safely and reasonably accommodate this child’s sever food allergies and keep her involved in the critical social and emotional aspect of school. The mother tried for two years, the school wouldn’t take it seriously. Now she has taken a determined and desperate step to force their hand. In the US they would have been in violation of the law. The reason schools and work places (yep when in the work work you get accommodations and allergic foods banned for your safety) accommodate sever food allergies is because they are legally obligated to do it and some do it simply because it is the right thing to do. In the US sever food allergies are a disability, disabilities must be accommodated thoroughly. I have no idea how similar Canadian laws are though.

    Count your blessing if you are lucky enough to have no one in your life that suffers from sever food allergies. You don’t have to worry that the next place they go to might also mean a trip to the hospital. You don’t have to watch them struggle to breath, break out in hives all over their body, see their face swell or lips turn blue. You don’t have to hold a child who is crying because the class had a party and they had to sit at a separate table and watch everyone else have fun while they were isolated and felt punished for having an allergy. You don’t have to watch them turn done invites because the person holding the event doesn’t understand food allergies and doesn’t really want to or the place it’s at just isn’t safe. This is especially hard for kids. Kids with allergies understand it’s going to happen and they deal with it as best they can but when it happens all the time or in a school setting where they have to be everyday, it’s brutal. Adults cope better with it and frankly find a social groups that care about them being able to join in. Kids don’t have that option. Even if the child’s friends care, it’s up to the adults in those friends lives to follow through. As shown in the comments on here and so many places when this topic comes up….adults are mean and selfish and at some point when we grow up a lot of up lose our empathy towards other humans. If you don’t have empathy you can’t very well pass the skill on to your children or even explain why caring about others needs is more important than a want of yours that conflicts with that need.

  155. Melissa January 19, 2014 at 9:01 pm #

    @Lea What happens when she’s at a job where she will come into contact with such allergens on a regular basis? While we all should wash our hands after eating, how many people actually their hands before handing a piece of paper or a pencil over to her after having a salad with some sort of cream dressing or with eggs on it? And what about people who are on the bus who after ingesting a piece of milk chocolate, sneeze on her or release sneeze particulates into the air? What then? There are going to be very few accommodations for her when she leaves elementary school.

  156. SOA January 19, 2014 at 11:13 pm #

    Leslie: Do you know how hypocritical you sound? To tell the parents of a child born with food allergies through no fault of their own, to figure something out and homeschool their kid, but your kids are terrible picky eaters very possibly through your own bad parenting (barring special needs children would be the only excuse for having picky eaters and it be not the fault of the parent). So maybe YOU should homeschool YOUR precious snowflakes who only want to eat 2 foods or maybe they can just go hungry until they learn to buck up and eat other kinds of foods.

    And for the record, I was a kid just like that when I was little. And it was my mother’s fault! She had no good excuse. Just did not want to stand up to me and enforce eating rules like eat what I serve you, or go hungry. My kids are not the best eaters in the world either but they eat more than 2 things and I even have a kid with autism. Because from the day they started table food I was strict with “You eat what is on your plate, or you go hungry.”

    Talk about being a hypocrite. No one cares that your kid cries when he sees broccoli. The broccoli won’t kill him. Whereas a child with a food allergy actually will die. No one cares about a child’s sensibilities being offended.

  157. Warren January 20, 2014 at 3:22 am #

    @Lea
    You can take your long lecture, and stick it where the sun don’t shine.

    If this school is like the majority in Ontario, lunches and snacks are brought from home. So in all reality it is not the school that has to do the accomodating, it is all the other parents.

    You want this girl to be safe, but not to experience any drawbacks to do so, like eating alone, not having the same as the rest of the kids. But you are quite willing to have the rest of the class experience drawbacks by banning foods, and treats for celebrations. Where I come from, we call that BS.

    As for you comparisons to ramps, elevators, handrails and etc, it is comparing apples to oranges. Those aids put in to help those with physical limits do not in anyway affect the rest of the school. A wheelchair ramp does not impede, restrict or hamper the other kids. Restricting their food is not the same.

    Also, why should the other parents be out the money that a allergen compliant diet costs? And yes it does cost more.

    Now as to your workplace food ban? They cannot do that, why because it is impossible to control. You say it is law where you are, so put up the law for us to see.

    I am a bussiness owner in Ontario, and I can tell you there is no such law. From employees, to contractors, to customers, a place of business cannot control a food ban effectively.

    This mom needs to get her ass off the couch, and into the school for lunch with her daughter, if she is that concerned.

  158. Donna January 20, 2014 at 7:50 am #

    Dolly – It is not being hypocritical to say that this child should be homeschooled. If this child cannot be schooled without reaching into 500+ homes and substantially impacting what 500+ people eat, then she is not suitable for school. A particular child’s pickiness is irrelevant because that doesn’t affect a single other family in the whole entire world. If you care even slightly about another child’s pickiness, then YOU have a problem, not them.

    While I am extremely anti general bans of any food, I would have no problem with a peanut ban as long as it was based on a specific AIRBORNE allergic child and was narrowly tailored to the actual range in which the danger exists. It would be nice if was realistic as well. For example, it is not possible to have a REAL airborne allergy to peanut butter for the same reason that there is no such thing as a airborne allergy to dairy, but I assume that will be too much to ask. Ultimately, peanuts are a single item that is easily removed from a diet for one meal of the day without a substantial impact to most people (although those with competing health issues need to be addressed). A ban on dairy and egg would require a wholesale redesign of most kid’s school lunches and substantially impact families. Nobody has any right to make that sort of substantial-impact demand on others.

    Some people clearly don’t understand the meaning of the term empathy. It means to share someone else’s FEELINGS, not a willingness to live their life at the expense of your own happiness. We don’t have to give up all our worldly possessions and move into a cardboard box on Skid Row to empathize with the homeless. We don’t have to let our children starve to empathize with the hungry. We don’t have to shoot our own children to empathize with parents who have lost children to violence. We don’t have to shave our head to empathize with cancer patients. We can CHOOSE to do those things (except shoot our children) to act in SOLIDARITY, but such actions are not required to prove we have empathy.

    I have nothing but empathy for Elodie and her parents. I know how hard a food allergy can be and anaphylactic shock is horribly scary. I understand the overwhelming desire to want your child to have “normal” childhood experiences and be included and accepted. I rejoice every day that I have a mostly perfectly healthy child and feel sad for those who do not. But I am simply NOT willing to force my perfectly healthy child to live as if she has a illness that she doesn’t have for her entire childhood any more than I am willing to starve her or move onto Skid Row or shave her head or shoot her.

  159. SOA January 20, 2014 at 9:41 am #

    My point was mostly just about I can’t believe a mother who lets her kids be that picky about foods, is trying to call out another mother for asking for special treatment for her kids. When you know, letting your kids be super picky eaters like that is the very definition of special treatment. I found that extremely amusing.

    I got into it with a friend of mine one day who had the balls to say “OH my Daughter would die if she could not have her peanut butter sandwich at lunch at school every day.” I looked right at her and said “No, she won’t die. She will be unhappy she has to learn to eat other foods which would actually be good for her in the long run. Now my child will actually die so no, there is no comparison.”

    I am not a fan of food bans, but I am making the point that picky eaters should NEVER trump children with ACTUAL health problems. There is a difference between a want and a need in life.

  160. Donna January 20, 2014 at 11:05 am #

    Actually, Dolly, psychology tells us the complete opposite of everything you just said. Forcing children to eat foods CREATES food issues and absolutely does not make children more receptive to food.

    But that said my super picky child requires no special treatment whatsoever from anyperson on the planet. She doesn’t impact your life at all. The only person impacted by her choices is her. She doesn’t even get special treatment from me. I cook what I want for dinner and she either eats it or makes herself a PB&J sandwich (the only thing she is allowed as an alternative).

    Letting a perfectly healthy child eat the things that they prefer is NOT SPECIAL TREATMENT. Asking children to give up things that they like and want to eat for your child is special treatment.

  161. lollipoplover January 20, 2014 at 11:11 am #

    “I am not a fan of food bans, but I am making the point that picky eaters should NEVER trump children with ACTUAL health problems. There is a difference between a want and a need in life.”

    This has nothing to do with picky eaters, Dolly! Dairy is a BASIC component of the food pyramid. Recommended Servings of Dairy:
    From ages 1–8, children need 2 cups of milk or its equivalent each day. Children ages 9–18 need 3 cups.

    Kids NEED good nutrition. You know what an ACTUAL health problem is? Osteoporosis. It is impossible to keep dairy away from this child at school even with all out food bans. Humans make mistakes. Parents who already can’t pack PBJ and pack cheese sandwiches, what now? Not all families have the economic means to bend over backwards and meet the never-ending bans on healthy foods and entire food groups.

    And stop with the drama about how your kid will die because of their allergies. It’s extremely rare. Your need for attention because your kids have a “life threatening” allergy is obvious. There is a small group of parents of kids with allergies who crave and need attention for what they have to “go through” keeping their child “safe” and it’s way worse than helicopter parents. Most parents of kids with allergies (many posted on here- thank you) teach their kids to live with dietary restrictions with optimism and a healthy dose of reality. Kids CAN take responsibility for what they eat. It’s the parents that can’t let go of being in control. Wanting to restrict what everyone else eats around you child is controlling and unrealistic.

  162. Donna January 20, 2014 at 11:43 am #

    “I am not a fan of food bans, but I am making the point that picky eaters should NEVER trump children with ACTUAL health problems. There is a difference between a want and a need in life.”

    We also are not comparing wants and needs. We are comparing wants with wants. One child WANTS to go to public school and WANTS to be included in celebratory activities. The other children WANT to eat dairy at lunch. Neither of these things are necessary to survival. Why does the WANT to be included in celebratory activities surpass the WANT to eat dairy? Personally, if I had to pick the superior want, I would go with the want to eat dairy. Celebrations are always inferior to proper health and nutrition, and while this child will be educated either way, many children will not get proper nutrition without eating eggs and dairy.

  163. Aimee January 20, 2014 at 3:09 pm #

    My son was allergic to milk & eggs until he was 9. School made very little accommodation for him, beyond reasonable things like making sure his epi-pen was in the classroom. We packed a home lunch for him every single day until he (luckily) outgrew his allergies. We sent in dairy- & egg-free goodies for when the classroom had special parties, etc. But the school certainly didn’t bend over backwards, and I would never have asked them too. BAN milk and eggs for several hundred kids? Good grief. He wasn’t allergic to the SIGHT of milk. He was allergic to DRINKING it.

  164. Greg January 20, 2014 at 6:04 pm #

    My son has a peanut allergy. That is his issue. He sits at the no nut table. It WILL NOT ruin his self esteem. It is my job as his parent to make sure of this. It is not the job of the parents whose kids don’t have allergies to worry about my son! I think folks whose kids LOVE peanut butter and jelly should file a lawsuit for being deprived of their favorite foods. It’s time to take these fools who are in the minority and teach them a lesson. THE NEEDS OF THE FEW DO NOT OUTWEIGH THE NEEDS OF THE MANY. Just because you breath air doesn’t make your needs any more special than the other folks. I grew up in a different generation with better people and more common sense. They understand majority rules. These fools make it hard to have a young son. I don’t understand the parents of his friends nor most of his teachers. They have zero sense!

  165. SOA January 20, 2014 at 10:52 pm #

    I never said I am okay with food bans. I am not.

    Point still stands that anyone with kids that are so picky they only eat two things have zero right to talk about anyone else’s kids being “special snowflakes” when you know kids that picky win the special snowflake crown for life.

    And just to be fair, I was one of those extremely picky kids and I was a special snowflake and my mother should have done a better job parenting me on that issue.

    I would tell my kids to get the freak over it and learn to eat something else. My kids only eat about 10 meals because they are kinda picky too but I am certainly not going to defend their pickyness and fight for their right to be picky. Screw that. I hate they are picky. I am not going to get mad at someone else for not accommodating their choice to be picky. Like when the moms served something my son did not want to eat at the class party. I just told him “Suck it up and don’t eat it if you don’t want but that is all they have.” And that was my son with autism. I am not going to get mad about it or allow him to get mad about it either.

    Food bans typically are overkill. There are other things you can do to protect the food allergic child without having a food ban. But don’t whine about how your child only eats pb and j and expect anyone to feel sorry for you (maybe barring a kid with food aversions due to special needs).

  166. Donna January 21, 2014 at 12:02 am #

    If you and your children are truly picky then you would indeed know that it is not just a matter of telling your get the freak over it and eat something else. If it was, your children would not be picky because you claim to hate it so much.

  167. Donna January 21, 2014 at 12:20 am #

    “But don’t whine about how your child only eats pb and j and expect anyone to feel sorry for you”

    I don’t expect anyone to feel sorry for me for anything in the world about my child. In fact, I would be highly insulted if you did feel sorry for me about anything involving my child since she is absolutely wonderful exactly as she is.

    I do expect you to keep your nose out of my child’s lunchbox and leave my child’s lunch alone. Big difference.

  168. hineata January 21, 2014 at 2:44 am #

    @Greg – amen!

    @Lea – I have held my sobbing child many times after she’s missed out on attending a birthday party or other social event because she has been sick (highly susceptible to germs, the ‘other’ type of kid ‘allergy doctors’ deal with). I have watched her come totally, comedically last in all sorts of areas. It is certainly not just kids with allergies who ‘suffer’ in life. Guess what? She is now a teen, and has amazing self-esteem, controls her own meds, sticks up for herself, and tries almost every darn thing, because she is so used to failing at things that she figures, ‘what the heck, might as well give it a go’. Along the way, she’s made ample friends with just that attitude, and found a few things she can actually do, and do well.

    Having to sit at a different table for your own safety might make a kid feel bummed out for a while, but is only going to scar you for life if you let it.

  169. SOA January 21, 2014 at 7:37 am #

    My kids are picky and there have been plenty of times they went without eating a darn thing and went hungry. I was like “Oh well, if you are truly hungry, you will eventually eat something even if it is something you hate.” Which is the truth. No single kid on this planet has ever starved themselves to complete death. It is physically impossible. It is human nature that if you are starving you WILL eat eventually. Why do you think people stranded resort to eating each other? Because it is our human nature to eventually eat whatever is available when we have no other choice.

    Just most parents are not willing to let their kids go hungry. I have and will again. I don’t do it regularly but if they had to adjust to a new lunch because soy butter all of a sudden became unavailable to them for whatever reason, they would adjust and figure it out and eventually learn to eat something else.

  170. Warren January 21, 2014 at 10:00 am #

    There is a huge difference between not wanting to eat something because your kid just wants to stick to their favorites, and not wanting to eat something because they actually do hate it, SOA.

    Liver is a universal love it or hate it food. Personally I love it, but the rest my family detest it. They hate the look of it, the smell of it cooking turns their stomach. People have different tastes. Cream of wheat, oatmeal, and most berries are on my ewwww list.

    When it comes to young kids lunches, at school, you typically give them what you know they will eat.

  171. Rainey Daye January 23, 2014 at 4:56 pm #

    Basically I wanna say a huge AMEN to SOA’s posts. As the mama of a peanut allergic I of course worry about his safety whenever food is involved, because he has had reactions even from playing in the evening with cousins who ate peanut butter at breakfast…but of course I am not going to demand that everyone stop eating peanuts/peanut butter (it was a fave of mine before his first anaphylactic reaction). I would definitely want some common sense accommodations in place though to minimize the possibilities of a reaction…such as the ones that SOA suggested. Personally, I think it is silly that people feel the need to feed kids at every opportunity. Obviously kids need lunch during a school day or at camp…but must we always feed kids at every baseball practice, trip to the park, or Sunday School hour? No wonder we are dealing with an obesity epidemic!!

    My nephew is allergic to eggs, wheat, and peanuts and now is showing signs that he may have problems with milk as well…so I can well understand this mom’s frustration with the school’s lack of accommodation and her feeling like this is her last resort. That being said, it really is impossible to cut eggs and dairy out of foods the same way peanuts can be cut out…it is infinitely more problematic as well as expensive…and is not the school’s responsibility. I know my brother and sister-in-law have more to worry about by far than I do and I feel for them for sure!! As worrisome as it can be for me keeping my kiddo safe, their job is a lot harder. But keeping a kid safe can and should be the parent’s job first and foremost. Teaching them to advocate for themselves as soon as they are verbal is very important and keeping them supplied with safe alternatives is definitely a must.

    But really, it would make the lives of allergic children and their parents much easier if other people (particularly parents of children who happily have no food allergies) would be more empathetic and understanding. Imagine what you would go through to keep your own child safe and just try to understand what we live with each and every day.

    Oh, and in regards to those of you sending peanut products to school despite a ban? I really hope your kids never have a life threatening allergy…and I really hope you live nowhere near me and my kids!! That is very irresponsible of you!! I would much rather send my kid off to a school with no ban (and an understanding that they are to never share food) than to a school with a ban and parents like you who nonchalantly disregard the ban. While you may think “no harm, no foul” what sort of example are you setting for your kid who sees you breaking the rules and endangering other people’s lives?

  172. Coug January 24, 2014 at 2:44 pm #

    Why should I have to be responsible for other peoples kids allergies? I have had severe food allergies since childhood(milk, eggs, peanuts) and I was taught that I am responsible for myself. I went to school in the 70′s and 80′s when every other kid brought a peanut butter sandwich to school and I never once had a reaction. I see people wanting to ban this stuff in schools as lazy parents trying to make everyone else responsible for their child. Maybe educating their children would be far better.