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Sharon Kennedy Wynne, Tracey Henry and Suzannah DiMarzio

Parents think school goes too far for peanut allergy



peanut.jpgA little girl near Daytona Beach can die if exposed to peanuts, so her school put in elaborate cleansing rules that require each child in the first-grade classroom to wash their hands and rinse out their mouths before entering the class to keep the girl safe. In addition, her classmates have strict rules on what they can bring for lunch and can’t have class parties with any outside food.

Upset parents are protesting outside the school and suggesting the child be home schooled to save them the time and trouble this is taking in the classroom. Chris Burr, a father of two older students at the school whose wife has protested at the campus, said a lot of small accommodations have added up to frustration for many parents.  "If I had a daughter who had a problem, I would not ask everyone else to change their lives to fit my life," said Burr.

Faced with the protests, the school has eased some some of the restrictions, such as mandatory mouth rinsing, but the school is required by federal law to work with a child who has a disability. The girl's father, David Bailey, apologized for the inconvenience, but said, "We've fought very hard to put certain things in place to keep her alive in school. ... She's already a cast-out. She can't do things that most kids can do."

As the mother of a child who practically lives on peanut butter sandwiches, these are certainly tough precautions and a royal pain, I am sure. But I'm surprised that other parents can't support this family. While I would sure hate the class time lost each day for this, I would hate to think my child's lunch sickened another child -- or worse caused a death.

I also think it's not a bad thing to teach kids that we sometimes have to sacrifice for the good of others. And I would try to remember that one day it could be my son who needs some special treatment for his health or safety.

--Sharon Kennedy Wynne

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[Last modified: Thursday, March 24, 2011 6:16pm]


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