Peanuts and shrimp and allergies, oh my!

Peanuts. Tree Nuts. Walnuts. Coconut. Seafood. Fish. Shrimp. Eggs.

What do these all have in common?  They’ve all been suggestively banned from H’s school.

I have a number of issues with this. Right off the hop though, I will admit that I support the ban on nuts.  I understand how serious of an allergy this can be, how the oils are easily transferred and how deadly the reaction can be.

I do take issue though with the rest.  Specifically egg and fish. Firstly, tuna and eggs are a cost-effective source of lean protein, easily prepared and procured. Our school has a high demographic of low-income families, and the more bans put in place, the more we strip them of healthy options for their children.

Yes. I realise I am arguing convenience against potential health risks.  However, banning is not the answer.  Education is.  

If a child in 2A has a serious egg allergy, then perhaps the students and families of 2A need to learn a little about this allergy, and then perhaps 2A has a ban.  But if no allergies are present in 2C or 3F then why should the ban be in effect there?

It’s unenforceable across the school, and the division does state that the onus is on the parent to ensure their child knows not to eat food not prepared by their parents.

Do we need to acknowledge and respect the severity of the allergy?  Of course.  We also have to know that children are capable of more than we give them credit for.  They know they have an allergy. They know to ask and to be careful.  And if they are in a classroom which is educated and monitored they will fare much better than a loosey goosey rule with a disclaimer attached.

When these kids hit any outside venue, from professional sporting events, to public transportation, to movie theatres, friends houses, malls and more they are potentially going to be exposed. Educating them is going to help them.  Assuming that the rest of the world is going to just stop using products is naive and unacceptable.

That being said, there are also children with gluten and milk allergies, should those items be banned as well?

What about asthmatics? Should gym class be cancelled because they may have an issue, and it’s unfair to let them watch their friends have fun?

The world is a harsh existence, and we are doing our future generations no favours.  The banning of potential allergens is just one avenue.  The lack of personal responsibility and motivation is yet another.

My daughter’s class will not be given homework.  The teacher’s reasonings is that children are so busy with extra curricular activities, it’s unfair to burden them with homework. 

Burden them.

I want my child to be pushed.  To learn. I want her to be taught how to properly study, and how to apply those skills. I want the school to give out assignments that require time management skills.

I want my child to fail if she does poorly.  I don’t want to curriculum re-written to suit her needs. That doesn’t benefit everyone.  When our kids hit the job force and they are unable to do the tasks required of them, their boss is not going to adjust their job description, they’re going to replace them with someone who is capable.

I want my kid to have to work hard to succeed and run the risk of failing along the way. The only thing failing her is our education system.  She is in grade 7 and I have yet to see a benefit to public schooling her versus home schooling aside from the socialization aspect.

Grading by percentages are going by the wayside, and everyone is being coddled and wrapped in chiffon and being sent out to be devoured in the real world.

The expectation seems to be that someone else will take care of it. I get the ‘it takes a village’ mentality, but it also takes personal responsibility and ownership.

The best way to ensure you will be secure, safe and successful is to take it upon yourself.  Do what is best for you, know the situation you are getting into and work for what you want.

I know this started with allergens, but the expectation that everyone else will make sure the environment is safe is ludicrous.  You should be able to rely on your neighbour to help you, but education is where it will be key.

Back to the allergies, I believe the best way to combat it is to inform the parents of the students in class with a child of the severity and to request they refrain from sending food with X ingredients. And then enforce it.  I think a blanket banning is asking for trouble.

I also believe the best way to ensure our children succeed is to find out what motivates them, give them encouragement, and let them fail from time to time.

Please, for the sake of future generations, let’s make them work for it.


About MsBehavior

I’m a vintage loving, suburban living, book collecting, kitchen destroying, thrifting ninja, single mama of a smart, salty, sassy teenager. Unicorn aficionado. Flamingo enthusiast. Love all things sparkly. Connoisseur of foul language. Insufferable do-gooder. Big mouth. Bigger heart. Biggest backside. Begrudging romantic. Will blog and tweet for money. I make things. You can buy those things. Hey man, I’ve got bills. View all posts by MsBehavior

8 responses to “Peanuts and shrimp and allergies, oh my!

  • Carolyn Stewart (@decemberviolet)

    I think a lot of times school do the lunch thing as a blanket version of CYA: Cover Your Ass. That way if anything *does* end up happening allergic reaction wise, they can tell the parents/authorities/etc that they “did their best to prevent any happenings”. A lot of it is bureaucratic.

  • blynnerobson

    Oh don’t even get me started on this one…was just posting about the kid downstairs that can’t eat inside because her mom is too poor to bu lunch meat…

  • Karen

    Working for grades and learning about the real world that is they are going to face is one thing. Some allergies trigger off by their smell which causes the child to stop breathing. Now I do not want to be responsible for the loss of a child cause you want to bring certain food into the school system. Just teaching the grade that has the child with allergies is just maddening as what you are doing is not allowing that child to go further with friendships within the school, now this is wrong. Children are educated when it comes to their allergies and they try to stay away as much as possible. Give these children a break. They do know better what they are asking is to help to make their schools safe so they can roam around the school like any other normal child. We as parents (adults) are responsible for these children until the are 18 years of age which means that the schools have a commitment to keep these children safe.

    • bettiepeg

      Karen, I understand your side of things, but don’t entirely agree.

      What I’ve suggested wouldn’t impede friendships either.

      Where my child attends school, they are confined to their own class as they eat. There is no roaming. There would be no difference.

      And if we were dealing with allergies that sensitive, I may even concede. But we aren’t.

      And sure as adults we need to ensure safety, but we also have a responsibility to prepare and have realistic, attainable expectations

    • blynnerobson

      what about the kid that goes home for lunch and mom makes them pb&j…
      “don’t forget to wash your hands and brush your teeth sweety, you might have to breath on the kid next to you in class”

      have you ever tried to get your kid to brush their teeth?

      Sorry, being flippant…but this is just silly…teach your kids how to use an epi pen…teach the teachers how to use one…

  • Kate W

    @blynnrobson…..I used to think that way to until I gave birth to a child that has a severe peanut allergy. You are one of those ignorant parents who think that it’s not serious. Until you have lived through it please don’t brush if off as no big deal. It is a very big deal

  • Kate W

    I’m happy to hear that!

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