Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Considering Homeschooling Your Kid With Food Allergies? Yes, Please Do!

If you have ever wondered what it would be like to send your peanut-allergic child to government school, click here to find out and be sure to read the comments.

This is a pretty typical piece about a school-wide peanut ban or restriction, including the commentary from the readers. Some people are nice and understanding, some people have kids with food allergies and are angry and/or desperate to make people understand, some people say the most downright awful things.

Some of my favorite comments are below and I've taken the trouble to arrange them by category. Some comments are from the same posters, but ALL are typical of this kind of "debate."

The Slippery Slope (Or, What About BEES on the Playground?)

  • They will have to ban milk, eggs, and anything else ANY child is allergic too. Next thing you know, they will allow be able to eat grass.
  • will the schools ban milk too if one or more kids are lactose-intolerant and those kids were not taught by their parents what to or not to take/eat ? will they ban cheese if there is one kid who is allergic to cheese ? how about lead, will the schools ban pencils then ?

The Needs of the Many Outweigh the Needs of the Few or the One (Or, "Rights")

  • These parents want everyone to suffer because they wont take of their own child.
  • this is about taking the rights of the many to appease the one
  • Only in America, will a school board put the good of one before the good of the many...
  • What ever happened to majority rules?
  • sometimes you have to sacrifice a little personal comfort for the good of the whole. (this from the pro-ban side)
  • In my eyes this is a violation of freedom and if no one steps up, we all will have no will start with what my kid eats and will end up with what he wears, what he says, then how he has to act and so one...

Your Child is Too Dumb to have Peanut Allergy (Or, I'm an Adult and I Handle My Allergies Just Fine, Don't Ya Know?)

  • My child has enough common sense to know not to eat stuff that makes her sick. So she does not each chicken. Therein is the problem, some people have kids dumber than a box of rocks that will eat anything they are given, even when they know that they are allergic.
  • I am a sufferer from allergies and would not expect my school, place of work, resturant, anywhere to change for me. Does that mean my life isnt as important as his? I carry a epi-pen with me and have another in every vehicle i own...I dont expect people to change for me...why should this parent?
  • Now as to your most 5 or 6 year olds do not have the comprehension, that is a load of garbage. You do disservice to dumb down the intelligence of a child.

But My Kid Will ONLY Eat Peanut Butter (Or, What Will the Poor Families Do?)

  • are you saying those kids with only the WIC peanut butter in their home should just go hungry?
  • You complain about the insensitivity of people for not being aware of your child's food allergies (0.5% of the population have this allergy) and yet you are insensitive to the needs of the poor kids who live in hunger (4.3% of the population according to the US Census). . . It is better for 0.5% of the population to be trained to stay away from food that is dangerous only to them than it is for 4.3% of the population to go without food to keep your precious Timmy safe!

The Pseudo-Scientific

  • this is from a doctor who specializes in allergies, and he says it is a myth!!!!

The Funny

  • As for your little "what would Jesus do", Kiwi, it would not be "stop eating peanut butter around him". It would be heal him. So your analogy is poor.
  • Banning peanut butter because of one persons allergies is dumbfounded

The Just Plain Mean (There's Usually At Least One Comment Like This One)

  • Just euthanize everyone who is allergic to peanuts. Problem solved.

You Really Should be Homeschooling (and this I really agree with):

  • Home school this student....If his life means anything to his parents...

SO much more education is needed, as evidenced by these intellectual giants. Particularly surrounding issues of cross-contamination and the risk of skin and airborne exposures. (Shameless plug coming up....if you are interested in helping out our fundraising team, there is a link at the top of this blog!)

I can find the funny in this now. The first time I read a comment that advocated a solution for the peanut allergy problem that involved serving PB&Js, I was so upset. I think I was pregnant at the time, so that might have had something to do with my reaction! The only category missing from this particular set of comments was the Why Is This Happening? category. I'm sure there were comments in there, but just didn't find them.

We made our homeschooling decision BEFORE the Big Peanut Kaboom. But I will say it again--the Big Peanut Kaboom would have made that homeschooling decision for us. Homeschooling is not for everyone, or feasible, I get that. BUT, parents with food allergic kids--especially those with anaphylactic milk allergies, IMO--should really really investigate the environment that their child will be in for hours and hours a week. I know most parents do that--I know some parents who take a remarkably casual approach to this--literally--life or death situation.


Monica said...

"What Will the Poor Families Do?"

Believe it or not, this argument comes straight from Bill O'Reilly / Fox News. A couple of years ago I heard him on a rant about poor families and that all they can afford is peanut butter. And I just love the "lactose intolerance = anaphylactic shock" argument.

People are idiots, what can you say...

Rational Jenn said...

Wow. No idea O'Reilly felt that way!

The lactose intolerance people drive me nuts (no pun intended). I can't imagine how much crazier it would make me if my kid had a casein allergy. Sadly, many people seem to think that FA people are just attention-seeking Munchausen types and they always always always use the "lactose intolerance" angle to make their point. Just take a pill and get over yourself!

It really is amazing to me--and I have this "luxury" to be amazed because we are not putting our kids in school--how riled up and freaked out this gets people. For that reason, I'm not sure I would EVER feel totally comfortable putting Ryan in a classroom least not until he was more like 10 or 11. I've heard of people hiding peanut butter in their kids' sandwiches and telling their kids not to tell the teacher, just to make a point that Child X survived the day in Kindergarten with peanut butter!

As you say, people are idiots. I did think the "dumbfounded" comment was pretty funny, and the WWJD one.

Tomorrow I have a post that shows some similar comments from a news story in the UK, with a twist--national health care. You think people in America are riled up?

Kim said...

i’ve never had to deal with the allergies, mine is more of a asthma deal. i could be feeling good one day, then horrible the next, espically during the summer heat!

Rational Jenn said...

Asthma must be terrible. Ryan is quite lucky not to be asthmatic (as am I, as many environmental allergies as I have). I hear that sometimes kids outgrow it and don't have problems as adults. Hopefully, that's the case with you!