Thursday, March 24, 2011

Now it's personal.......

I started this blog to discuss education, parenting, and the Montessori method. Today I have to go off topic slightly. It still has to deal with parenting but it also has to deal with a topic near and dear to my heart, food allergies. My 5 year old is anaphylactic to tree nuts and yes, we did find out the hard way. After eating walnuts she became lethargic and "zoned out". Her whole body turned red. The worst part was the coughing and wheezing, that is a sound that will be burned in my brain for the rest of my life. She was 3 when this happened. She is now in Kindergarten and she is thriving. She is in a nut free room. This means that tree nuts of any kind are not allowed in the room. The teachers make sure that all the students wash their hands or use hand sanitizer. At lunch she sits with friends that buy lunch because the school food is nut free. Some days she brings her own lunch and somedays she buys lunch. She knows that she can't buy the school treats since they may contain coconut. When there are class parties she has her own safe treats to enjoy. This is how, together with the school, we keep her safe.
In Florida, right now, there is a first grade girl with a severe peanut allergy. The school has the children in her class, wash their hands, wipe their mouths and keep nut products out of the class. This has led to protests. Protests over hygiene and keeping a child safe. The protestors want her out of the school, they want her to be homeschooled because they feel that their children are missing out on instruction time because of the handwashing. This child is protected by law, she is entitled to have an education.
I wonder how these parents would feel if it was their child? If their child had to endure painful tests, how would they feel? If their child was never able to go to a bakery or enjoy the same food that every other child could have at the endless class parties, how would they feel? If they had to spend hours at the grocery store every week to read labels, how would they feel? If they had to call company after company to make sure that there was no cross contamination issues because just the slightest amount of a nut could kill their kid, how would they feel?
I have a group of friends/family that "get it", they would go to the end of the universe and back to keep my daughter safe. Her teachers go above and beyond to keep her safe and included. I can not even begin to imagine what I would do without this support. I hope that the allergic child's family in Florida does not feel alone, I hope they know that they have the support of many allergic/nonallergic families.
I also wonder about these protesters. How do they put signs in their child's hands? That boggles my mind. What about taking this opportunity to teach their children about compassion, kindness, and differences? A wonderful teaching opportunity lost.
My last point (I'm sure you are glad about that), what if we weren't talking about allergies? What if this little girl had asthma, cancer, diabetes, autism, or dyslexia? Would there be protests? What if there was a child in a wheelchair? Would parents protest because a ramp needed to be put in?
Well, there's my 2 cents...........I still really do not understand what these parents are protesting, I guess I'll never understand. I hope that the parents stop protesting soon and I hope that their children are always in good health.


  1. Wow, I must have missed some of the links to the article. Are you kidding me?! That's absolutely insane!! How could any rational parent protest handwashing? From a completely selfish perspective, does it not help them prevent the spread of sickness among the students if they wash their hands? Does this not equate more in-class instruction time for their children? Now the mouth washing doesn't make sense to me, but maybe you can shed light on that for us...

    This poor child has a right protected by law to receive an education in a public institution. How in the world can other parents demand where another child be placed if they are non-violent and pose no threat to anyone else? If good hygiene is so offensive to them, then I shudder to think what their practices are in their own homes. Maybe this child's parents should demand that DSS check the safety and sanitation of the other children's homes. It could be scary...

  2. I believe that the child has a more sever allergy, maybe airborne. The mouth washing is to rinse out residue if they had peanuts at home/school. I'm not going to get into whether I think that is affective or not since I am not a Dr.
    Yes, they are protesting hygiene. Amazing.

  3. Great post! There is a short article with information directly from the school here: