Peanut allergy issue stirs controversy at Florida school

ORLANDO, Florida Wed Mar 23, 2011 4:00pm EDT

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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 reach the girl's parents for comment on Monday were unsuccessful.

(Reporting by Barbara Liston; Editing by Jerry Norton)

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Comments (12)
drmorocco wrote:
Ban Peanut Butter and Peanut Products from being sold in Florida. Make the other children shower and put on new cloths prior to entering the classroom after lunch. Spray them with a disinfectant. Train the peanut sniffing dog to bite any kids for violations.

Has all common sense disappeared?

Mar 24, 2011 1:15pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
drmorocco wrote:
Ban Peanut Butter and Peanut Products from being sold in Florida. Make the other children shower and put on new cloths prior to entering the classroom after lunch. Spray them with a disinfectant. Train the peanut sniffing dog to bite any kids for violations.

Has all common sense disappeared?

Mar 24, 2011 1:15pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
ZhenC wrote:
This is just so sad… would these kids be outside holding misspelled picket signs if it were not for their parents? “…happy median”? What? So sad that young ones are being taught to waste their energy on hate and fear fostered by their own parent’s actions and “guidance”.

What would be so wrong with sharing a peanut-free lunch with her on occasion…don’t isolate her, fear her, hate, her. Regardless of time loss at school, federal/state laws, school mandates, etc… this is a little person being isolated, feared and rejected.

My only hope is one day those kids outside picking will come to feel some sort of clarity on how unnecessary it was to target another peer…for whatever reason (race, disability, sex, religion, disease).

Mar 24, 2011 1:53pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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