Peanut allergy stirs controversy at Florida school

ORLANDO, Florida Tue Mar 22, 2011 5:34pm EDT

Related Topics

ORLANDO, Florida (Reuters) - Some public school parents in Edgewater, Florida, want a first-grade girl with life-threatening peanut allergies removed from the classroom and home-schooled, rather than deal with special rules to protect her health, a school official said.

"That was one of the suggestions that kept coming forward from parents, to have her home-schooled. But we're required by federal law to provide accommodations. That's just not even an option for us," said Nancy Wait, spokeswoman for the Volusia County School District.

Wait said the 6-year-old's peanut allergy is so severe it is considered a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

To protect the girl, students in her class at Edgewater Elementary School are required to wash their hands before entering the classroom in the morning and after lunch, and rinse out their mouths, Wait said, and a peanut-sniffing dog checked out the school during last week's spring break.

Wait said school leaders will meet this week with parents to address concerns and try to halt inaccurate rumors that children's mouths were being wiped with disinfectant.

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.

Attempts to teach the girl's parents for comment on Monday were unsuccessful.

FILED UNDER:
We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/
Comments (27)
DBolin wrote:
I can’t believe that a parent of another child feels like this is too much to ask to help someone who has an allergy that they have no control over. They should consider themselves lucky to have healthy children. Maybe they should home school their own children since they want to teach them that no one else matters except for themselves. This has to be one of the most selfish acts of parents to try to deprive this child of the companionship of other kids because of a disability. I am deeply disturbed that parents would even suggest this, what is wrong with people? To the parents of the child with the allergy, please don’t give up the fight for your child, she has rights too.

Mar 22, 2011 9:48pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
bepa wrote:
These children are learning how important it is to wash your hands and how important food can be….This little girl with an allergy is benefitting her class mates in ways some of the parents are unable to realize, because they are selfish and insensitive.

What have the children learned from the insensitive parents? If you have a problem you face it alone…because we don’t want to upset our lives for you…

If someone in my family were in that classroom. Our family would be talking about how important it is to help others…and to care for one another.

Mar 23, 2011 11:20am EDT  --  Report as abuse
bepa wrote:
These children are learning how important it is to wash your hands and how important food can be….This little girl with an allergy is benefitting her class mates in ways some of the parents are unable to realize, because they are selfish and insensitive.

What have the children learned from the insensitive parents? If you have a problem you face it alone…because we don’t want to upset our lives for you…

If someone in my family were in that classroom. Our family would be talking about how important it is to help others…and to care for one another.

Mar 23, 2011 11:20am EDT  --  Report as abuse
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.