Parents of students at an Edgewater, Fla., elementary school are protesting what they say are burdensome precautions placed on their children to avoid exposing a fellow student to peanuts, to which the 6-year-old girl is severely allergic.
The girl is reportedly among the small percentage of people whose allergic reaction to peanuts, or even to tiny traces of peanut residue, is potentially fatal. According to news reports, her physician recommended her school take steps to reduce her risk of exposure. Those precautions include having children wash their hands before entering the classroom in the morning and after lunch and to rinse their mouths after eating.
Parents who oppose the policy argue that the routine takes too much time out of the school day, among other complaints. They also say their children’s experience is being hampered by not being allowed to bring potentially allergic foods to holiday celebrations at school.
There was also an inaccurate rumor that school had used disinfectant wipes to wash children’s mouths -- a school representative said the wipes were used to clean desks, not students.
Some parents have suggested that the child be home-schooled, as accommodating her medical condition places too great a burden on other students and their families. And some experts say there are less cumbersome ways to manage peanut allergies.
Where do you stand on this? Are there limits to how far families of kids attending a public school should be required to go to accommodate another child’s medical condition? And do extra hand-washings and mouth-rinsings seem all that burdensome to you?