Posted by: comfortjunkie | August 23, 2008

Nuts to Nuts

I don’t even have a kid in grade school but this discussion over at Mommy Wants Vodka is fascinating to me. Should schools be able to completely ban all peanut products from school because one child has a fatal peanut allergy?

For one, I couldn’t see myself, even as a parent of a child with these kind of allergies, expecting an entire school to comply with my desire that no peanut products be brought into school. As many people pointed out in the comments, nut residue can be anywhere, kid’s shoes, clothes, hands, notebooks, pencils. Other than stripping and disinfecting all of the children, their belongings and clothing before school, banning nuts is not going to guarantee safety for the child. Are teachers banned as well? Administrators?

Additionally, this smacks of America’s overblown need to control individual choice and eliminate personal responsibility. America, who used to only try to ‘help’ the poor brown countries for their own good, now has turned this on its own people. Banning trans-fats, telling people that they cannot smoke in their own houses and cars or in public spaces, and thousands of other ‘do-gooder’ laws that take away freedoms “for your own good and the good of others.” If I want to go to a restaurant and order a heaping plate of trans-fats and then sit in my car and chain smoke 37 packs of cigarettes, well then, that’s my personal choice to do so.

In the school’s case, they are only trying to limit liability. It is the school and parent’s responsibility to provide a safe environment for the allergic child. It is NOT the responsibility of the other parents and children. The school has no place telling a parent what they can and cannot feed their children, providing it’s not illegal.

The whole thing is a slippery slope. There is one crackhead in the comments who thinks that peanuts should be banned. Period. No peanut butter on the shelves at the supermarket, no Reese’s peanut butter cups, no shelled salted peanuts, no peanut granola bars. Nada. Honestly, it’s probably only a few years away before the US agrees. Goodbye latex, milk, wheat, shellfish, eggs, chocolate, sesame seeds, tree nuts of all kinds, and fish. And bees. Lots of people are fatally allergic to bee stings, so they must be eradicated too.

I hate to say it, but if my child were really that allergic to nuts, I would probably home school them. The parent writes that they can’t afford to do that, it’s not fair to the child, yadda yadda. Would you rather find a way to make ends meet and completely control the environment of your child during grade school until they are old enough to deal with their allergy in a public school or have a dead child? Would you rather have a child who is somewhat isolated from other children from being home schooled and take the extra steps to ensure that they have some kind of social life in a safe environment or have a dead child? I mean, it’s really no contest. What if the whole school bans nuts and one child brings in a pen that he used the night before to do homework while he was eating a sandwich and the allergic child borrows the pen and dies? then what?

That’s the answer to everything in the US. Ban, restrict, limit, make illegal when it should be about education. Educate the students about nut allergies and washing hands. Educate the parents on what snacks are okay and ASK that they eliminate nut products from classroom snack and shared foods. Create a no nut table for allergic children. The answer is not to make nuts illegal and enforce strict punishments by the nut police.

Frankly I find the whole thing frickin’ nuts.



  1. It is easy to think this way when your child isn’t allergic to anything. But your mindset changes when you worry if you’ll see your child at the end of the day.

    And I agree completely with your last paragraph (although not your paragraph about the homeschooling option – it’s an option for me luckily, but one I choose not to do – other folks really can’t swing it). BUT the problem that parents of allergic kids (like myself) face is the unfortunate fact that other parents will blatantly ignore the request not to give their kids peanut products and will send them along to be spiteful, so their rights aren’t violated. Sad, but true. And you’re right, the whole thing is nuts!

  2. Gabs,

    I wasn’t being sarcastic about the homeschooling paragraph. When my daughter was little, I was very cautious when it came to anything that could be a danger to her. If she had a fatal nut allergy, you can bet I would have home schooled her and personally disinfected every person who walked through my door AND probably taste tested all of her food AND if there had been some sort of nut luminol, I would have been spraying strangers with it. I really would have. BUT, I never would have required that a whole group of people change their lives to accommodate me or my child, for the very reason you pointed out…hostility and resentment.

    Just because a school bans nuts does not mean that parents will comply and even the illusion of messing with a parent’s rights is enough to make them blatantly disregard policy. I also don’t believe it’s the other parent’s responsibility to ensure the safety of my child (mainly because I wouldn’t trust them).

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