Anaphylaxis is not pretty. It can cause a complete collapse of the respiratory and circulatory systems, leading to death. A student at the regional high school suffered, or nearly suffered, anaphylaxis recently when a fellow student opened a food product containing peanuts in a classroom recently. She did not even touch or ingest the food.
And the awful truth is that I have been giving my son, a senior at the high school, peanut butter sandwiches in his school lunches all year. Drippy , gooey peanut butter that he gets on his hands and then walks into the hall touching doorknobs, desks and books. Never have we been informed that there was a student at the high school that had a severe peanut allergy. By not informing the student body and parents about this, the administration has made us unwitting participants in the potential harm, and even death, that could occur to a student.
Banning food from the halls and classrooms, while well intentioned, will not stop minute particles of food from traveling into the school. There may be a legality that prevents the administration from totally banning a food substance such as peanuts from the school. But in the very least, the students and parents need to be informed about the fact that there is a person in the school with a life-threatening allergy, maybe even who they are, and what to do in a case of anaphylaxis. Many parents would voluntarily see to it that their child never brings the offending food to school.
I for one won’t be sending any more peanut products to the high school. I hope that by the time my younger son reaches the high school in two years, the administration will at least be informing parents if there are any vulnerable students, so that we can do our part to help keep all students safe.