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Apr
22

From the “Weird New Ways to Bully” file: In the news this past week, there have been stories about kids bullying classmates who are allergic to peanut butter. They’re hiding the offending food in lunch boxes or in the lockers of children who are known to have the dreaded allergy. Now, an eighth grader in Kentucky has been charged with a felony for crumbling up peanut butter cookies and putting the potentially lethal substance into the lunch box of a classmate. (Luckily, the classmate did not suffer a reaction.) Believe it or not, for some people even trace amounts of peanut oil can cause a severe reaction or even death: as in the case of the 13-year-old Australian boy who died last month when he came into contact with peanuts at a school camp.

I’d like to hear from from readers out there with kids in the school system. Do you think the arrest of this child is fair? And, if you have a child with peanut allergies, how do you ensure that they’ll be safe at school?

(For more information on peanut allergies, click here.)


     

If you find any comments that are rude or inappropriate, please contact us immediately.

  • Nancy Ailes Says:

    While I do support the right of non-allergic kids to bring and eat peanut butter sandwiches at school, I also feel that they have an obligation to be informed and aware that they need to take precautions with their food. The child who uses peanut butter knowingly to try and harm another child should most definitely be prosecuted. KNowingly crumbling peanut cookies and putting them into an allergic classmates lunchbox is detestable! That child should be prosecuted and suspended from that school system indefinitly.

  • shannon Says:

    Yes the child should be arrested. He may not have thought long term , but he was doing it to be mean. not only should he be arreted he should be evluated to see if he has protential to continue this kind os behavior.

  • mom of 2 Says:

    Of course he should be arrested. It’s not any different than pointing a loaded gun at someone’s head. Eight grade is plenty old enough to understand what could happen – in fact he wouldn’t have done it if he didn’t know there could be consequences.

    Granted I’m very serious on this because I have not one, but two peanut-allergic children. In first grade, a child chased my son around with some peanut butter candy – ok so he was taught that was a problem and why – but kids that age may NOT understand that death is forever and all that. But EIGHTH? that child will be entering high school next year –

    Treating this seriously – as assault or whatever – is appropriate.

  • Margaret Says:

    I have a son, now 12, who has the peanut allergy (very severely) and he has had the experience in a couple of schools now, since we moved to a new state and have been in four different schools, where once the kids find out it is him with the allergy, the bullying kind of kids will threaten him with peanut butter as a way to get him upset. Anything that will upset another kid is used as a weapon. He knows he will die if he is exposed to peanuts, even the smell, and he is not allowed to carry medication on him that will counteract it. If he is blocked from getting to the nurse’s office or the teacher’s desk drawer for even a few minutes, this is a fatal reaction, and it is ‘over.’

    In his present school, there was one student who brought a whole jar of peanut butter for recess and all the kids were putting their fingers in the jar and eating out of it, as their snack, on the playground. The implications of them touching everything after that, including the recess equipment, the door handles, etc. etc. was just about too much for my son to even deal with! Just the thought of it had him in a panic.

    We have not ‘announced’ to this present class who is allergic but it is only since he joined the class that the school nurse had to go in and alert the children to the fact that “someone” in class has this severe reaction to peanuts and to be careful about bringing anything in that might have peanuts in it.

    There are some students who are very caring about this and there are others who honestly WILL try to use it as a weapon. I believe an eighth grader should be suspended and do community service or at least see video or some kind of visual image of what happens to a person with the anaphylactic reaction–that to save their lives they have to have a shot with an epi-pen and then spend 24 hours in a hospital–minimum!! That’s if they LIVE!! and if they get the shot in time, etc.

    This is very serious business, and ultimately, for the safety of all children, I think peanuts will eventually have to be banned from the school lunch rooms. Some parents see this as infringement on their freedoms, but not if they have a child with this allergy, of course… so what to do?

  • Lauren Says:

    Wow, thank you for this article. This is very scary news to me. We just found out the hard way that one of our children has a severely life-threatening allergy to all nuts, and I never considered intentional exposure on anyone’s part. Any offender must be educated at length and with consequences that are impressive to the offender. I like the idea of not letting the class know who is allergic and educating them about the degree of severity involved.

  • Jac Says:

    I don’t have kids with peanut allergies nor do I know anyone who actually has such an allergy. But what that child did shows an intent to harm another person. This was not an innocent prank. He knew the other child had a dangerous allergy, he intended to harm the child by taking advantage of that knowledge, and he took steps toward harming him by actually putting the cookie in the lunchbox.

    To me, it sounds like text-book case of attempted murder and he should absolutely be arrested, charged and prosecuted. The judge can take his age into account in determining whether he had the actual intent to harm, but in general, intent + act = guilty.

  • Liz Says:

    I have a 10 year old son who is not only allergic to peanuts but also tree nuts (which is different from peanut allergy), sesame seeds and fish. This senario of some bully pulling some stunt with a food my son is deathly allergic to has been one of my worst nightmares for years. We have been so lucky so far in that everyone in our neighborhood and school have been so wonderful about Jack’s allergies, however he is still in elementary school which is a very different atmosphere than middle school. I think this kid needs to be suspended at the very least if not charged with assault-kids need to understand that an allergy like this is extremely dangerous and life-threatening and not a joke-someone can die!! This truly an assault!!

    As for banning peanuts in schools-my son sits at a peanut-free table and they really don’t serve any peanuts in his school lunch program, however it is not a peanut-free world and my son needs to learn how to navigate his way through this world and I think the best place for him to start is in his school where people are still looking out for him.

  • Fritz Says:

    Yes the child should be arrested, educated and let go. THIS TIME. Next time the punishment should be much worse.

    This is serious!!! The child needs to learn this in no uncertain terms.

    Signed – astonished that there’s
    even a question

  • Joanna Says:

    I agree that the child should be arrested and I think should be charged with attempted murder. These kids are getting scary with the way they are picking on others with a vulnerablity.

  • Lorraine Hornig Says:

    Yes, I think it was the correct decision to arrest the child. Putting, on a premeditated basis, a potentially harmful substance into the lunchbox of someone with a known allergy is no different than any other physical assault. If the child’s behavior is not addressed now, how will he or she ever learn appropriate behavior when dealing with someone the individual doesn’t like? This behavior was appalling!

  • WH Says:

    There is no difference in this child placing peanuts in that lunchbox than there would some kind of poison. Both had the possiblity that the affected child could die.
    The child was deffinately old enough to know better. He must be held accountable.

  • Jenny Says:

    I believe that we have to send a message to children that bulling of any kind is not okay and that there will be severe punishment for it. Kids are acting more and more viciously towards each other and it has to stop. They are supposed to be going to school to learn. As parents we should not have to worry if we are sending our children off to die when we drop them off at school. There must be more serious punishment for these offenses, because the fact of the matter is, this generation is not afraid of us….

  • Wendy Bedard Says:

    Yes, I do believe this 8th graders should be prosecuted. He puposely did this this knowing it would or could harm the student. I remember being an 8th grader myself, and at that age, kids should know that there are consequences for this type of action. What if this child died from the peanut butter cookies?? Better to teach him a lesson now rather than have him think this kind of behaviour can get swept under a rug. That’s the problem with kids today. THey know that most times nothing will happen to them because they are children.

  • michelle Says:

    My daughter is 6 years old and in 1st grade. We had alot of trouble in kindergarden and made it thru that. We moved to another city and since December of this year she has had 2 children taunt her and put peanut butter in her face and blow peanut breath on her. I have talked to her teacher at least 5 time since December. Snacks in her class come from home and the same two boys always have peanut butter. They do not have peanut free tables at her school or anything like that. Two days ago I went to lunch with her and spoke to the teacher yet again and told her what had happened the day before and she said she would talk to the boys. The very next day the same two boys did it again and pushed her into a door where now she has a bruise and knot on her head. I called the principal that day after school and agian the next morning. They said she was busy and that she would call back. When she did, she was not helpful or even nice. She said she would look in to it. Well I told her I was tired of being told that, so today my daughter was going on feild trip so even though school does have her epi pen and written proof from doctor that she has a severe allergy of peanuts, the boys not only put it in her face but wiped it on her hands. She said she told her teacher and said she needed to go to bathroom and wash it off. Her teacher kept talking to another teacher and did nothing. what should I do now?

  • Elisabeth Wilkins, Editor Says:

    michelle »

    I’m so sorry to hear about what your daughter is going through. No child should feel unsafe at school. I think it’s time to talk to the superintendent of the school district if both the teacher and principal are not giving you any help. (For info on how to talk to the school, check out this article on Empowering Parents: http://www.empoweringparents.com/being-bullied.php) If I were you, I would also start documenting everything that is happening with your daughter. Note the dates and the bullying incidents that have occurred, and also your attempts to speak with your daughter’s teacher and the principal, and their lack of responsiveness. Take this document in to your meeting with the superintendent. If the bullying keeps up even after you speak with the superintendent, you might want to think about contacting the police. These boys are physically threatening your daughter, and that behavior has to stop.

  • Terry Schendel Says:

    This is one of the many reasons that we home school our children.

    The schools seem to be incapable of protecting allergic children from bullies. In fact, the schools, in general, seem to be victims of bullies themselves.

    Childhood should be a time of learning – not a time of being terrorized or put in a life threatening situation.

    Why risk the death of your child when there are few, if any, real consequences to the bully?

  • Sue Kemp Says:

    Of course the child should be arrested! When a person knows another person who has a severe allergy to anything at all and tries to sneak it into contact with them, it should be considered attempted murder.

    This is very serious. My son is a teacher at a school where no peanut products are allowed on school property. They have just expanded that to include some other nuts that students are known to have a problem with. Even a very young child can understand that allergies are indeed very dangerous.

  • Jen Says:

    My 12 year old son is also allergic to peanuts & any tree nuts. In the state of Florida he is allowed to carry his EpiPen with him at all times, and we also have one in every corner of the school: cafeteria, library, PE room, & school office. I have personally trained every teacher & staff member about what to look for in case of accidental injection, using my own research & a DVD our allergist gave to us on how to use the EpiPen. Anyone having trouble getting permission for your child to carry any life-saving medication should check with your school district & state officials to see if that can be changed.
    But even with all these measures we’ve taken, we still don’t feel he is safe. We are taking our kids out of school next year & starting to homeschool for many reasons, some of which are bullies at school and the fear of something like this happening to our son.

  • Crystal Says:

    Wow! I never realized that kids would do this!

    My kindergardner and 1st grader both have peanut allery students in their classes. The do have peanut free tables at lunch and are very specific about snacks that parents bring in. I am glad to see that our school is so aware of this.

    I am going to have a talk with my children just to be sure that they understand how harmful this can be.

    Hats off to all you parents that deal with this everyday!

  • Stephanie McGrath Says:

    Intentional acts like this are serious and if a child does this, one has to wonder what they will do when they get older. It must be dealt with now before something more serious happens. Anyone that will intentionally go out of their way to harm another living being is extremely dangerous and needs serious therapeutic assists. This child should do time in an institution where he can be educated on the seriousness of his actions as well as do community service work to pay off his debt to society.

    My son’s school has been proactive in educating children at the start of their education about bullying, allergies, and just differences in people in general. For the most part, education in these areas has gone a long way to halt bullying, but at the age of 9, my son is now coming home reporting that he is being bullied for various things.

    In addition to education to a student with concerns, we need to train our children with issues how best to react in dangerous situations as they do present themselves whether or not we want to admit it.

    In addition, the educators and administrative staff in schools should be held accountable for their discipline and education choices. I’ve seen way too many things slide through the system and it’s sad that we cannot hold those responsible for educating and enforcing regulations accountable to do their jobs.

    There needs to be much more education and serious learning happening in school than their is and it has to start at the very beginning of a child’s education.

  • Caroline Says:

    In public schools,one basically experiences complete anarchy with regards to common decency;
    nevermind a life threatening condition. I would suggest homeschooling if at all possible and if not I’d consider a Catholic or Christian setting where there is Someone in charge besides the Willy-Nilly anything goes sort of atmosphere we have all grown so tired of. Also, get to know the fellow parents and faculty. Are peanuts or nuts a requirement for educational settings? Don’t thnk so.

  • Jeni Davis/Stiltner Says:

    I agree that the young man should be arrested and proscuited to the fullest!! I have a daughter who is in high school with severe peanu and tree nut allergies. The school has rules and signs up but there are so many that tear the signs down. She is met with harassment everyday and school says that they CANNOT do anything about it. Even under the bulling policy that is so highly coveted. She has a great fear of attending school. Rightly so when a subsitute teacher comes in and eats peanut butter in the class room and tells the kids in the class that he is able to eat it anytime and anywhere, they (the kids) cannot have it. When i spoke with the head adminastrator of her scholl the only thing that he told me was that he dropped the ball. Will I have to bury my child before anything is done to protect our children?

    I have provided education information to the school and have spoken to the powers that be. I am told one thing and the teachers are told something else. WHAT DOES THIS TEACH OUR CHILDREN? That is alright to expose these kids and get a slap on the hand? I hate to say that I am just waiting on the call to tell me that my daughter is in the hospital and “everything possible is being done”. What then? Parents should take a stand and let your voices be heard. Make sure that you have a 504 plan started on your child and contact everyone you can to let them know of the problem in your school. Push to have a policy set so if something does happen that you will have something to stand on in defense of your child!

  • Becky Canard Says:

    This child was obviously aware that this was dangerous, otherwise he would not have done it. The problem with bullies is they do not care if they harm somebody – in fact, this is their intent. I was severely bullied as a child and I have no tolerance for abusive behavior nor do I expend one ounce of respect for parents who idly sit by while their child wreaks devastation on the lives of others. This individual should absolutely be severely punished! I do not believe for a moment that this abusive “child” was ignorant of the fact. Bullies love to torment and hurt other people, they get off on it. Quite honestly, I can even imagine this kid laughing about it while he watches the results of his actions.

    In my opinion, if a person is violent and there is documented incidences of bullying – HE (or she) should be removed from the school. If they incapable of executing a little self-control when it comes to others safety than they should not be allowed to be with others.

    My son has 22 life threatening allergies, about 12 of them are food related and the majority of those are in the nut family. I have spent more than one weekend with him in the hospital after an allergic episode resulting in anaphylactic shock. I don’t believe nuts should be banned altogether though. In regards to allergies, I can’t say that I believe imposing rules on the majority of people for the welfare of a small minority of individuals is the best decision. I would probably opt to home-school him if this was my concern.

    I would not take this situation lightly if I were the parents. I would press charges and do whatever was in my power to encourage the schools and laws to make sure these bullying situations are taken as serious as they are.

  • Roberta Says:

    It’s peanut butter now, what next a gun, knife? This kid has the potential to do some serious damage. I think he should be prosecuted and expelled form school. With the number of children with severe allergies, the schools should consider educational seminars (similar to the ones they show to high schoolers about drunk driving) to show the other children exactly what can happen and the seriousness of the allergies.

  • Nutty Girl Says:

    sigh, sad but so, so true.
    I’m fourteen and I have had serious nut allergies all my life. I have never eaten out, I cannot walk down certian aisles of the grocery store, and my attempts to go to movies with my friends have ended more or less in disaster. and don’t even get me started about vacations!
    so my point is, kids like me have enough to deal with. I have experienced this kind of thing firsthand, and so have my cousins. allergies run in my family. let me tell you, for every kid that speaks out ten keep quiet out of fear. the fear that our classmates will actually kill us! once in the girl’s locker room I bumped into the most popular girl in the school and made her drop the bit of gum she was unwrapping. so pretty much everyone in the room dropped what they were doing, grabbed me and stole my medication, then locked me in the bathroom while they tried to decide where would be best to hide it. I was rather annoyed. the next day they told me that they all had peanut candy bars in their pockets and I’d better not fight back, then locked me in the gym storage closet. I went to the office, and they actualy laughed out loud because I had been so afraid of a candy bar. and those incidents were just the tip of the ice berg. but that was junior high, and now I’m a ninth grader with a hot body (yes, I know I sound vain) an awesome haircut and flattering clothes, not to mention a stylish bag for my medication (my old one was rather hideous) and these same girls want to cuddle up to me!!! ha ha ha, the shoe’s on the other foot now, isn’t it! oh, and things are about to get even better for me. my parents ordered me my own personal bomb sniffing dog, so now I can eat out!!! you know, I think these dogs are the answer, I really do. seeing as kids like me are, ok, I’m going to say it even though it embarrasses me, legally disabled. and who would be mean to a girl with a service dog? no one! so, like, why is it ok when I don’t have one?
    I found this article when I was gathering info for this presentation I’m going to do for the high school on my first day with my dog, so they all “get it.” I think I’m going to be getting a lot more respect after this!!! so anyway, allergy kids, there is light at the end of the tunnel, at least there was for me. and adults, please take us seriously, ok? I’m not a psychopath, just a teenager with some out-of-the-ordinary problems.

  • lola Says:

    knowingly, willingly putting a substance known to be lethal to another human could and should be treated at the minimum as harassment. Although I think it should be noted that if the child died, it may very well be viewed as far worse.

    This is a new and serious problem we face: Unexpected allergies to substances not supposed to be a danger to us.

    It’s an issue on the rise, and I can promise you that one day everyone who is “inconvenienced” by having to change their eating habits will be affected.

    On a morale, note: If I think my child has the right to bring a pet rattlesnake, or a loaded gun, why can’t he? He wants to do that, and it’s the only way he can eat lunch, by having a loaded gun and a rattlesnake there with him. So, why can’t he bring them to the cafeteria with him since this is how he eats all his snacks and foods at home?

    We all know why that isn’t acceptable. I would ask all parents who hate having to not send peanut products into school to put themselves into the shoes of those who live with this horrible “allergy” every single day.

    My own daughter almost died from one bite peanuts. We had no idea she had an allergy at the time. We do not live in a bubble, and have found that most people, once they really understand what severe anaphylaxis is, are more understanding about food allergies.

    Open a mind. Our world is changing. The changes you fight today you may have to make yourself tomorrow.

    Louise

  • lola Says:

    Ps. I want to add that any child who tries to kill another child EVEN AS A JOKE has a far more serious condition than a food allergy.

  • Karyn Says:

    I have had to change my pre-schoolers entire eating
    regimen as he LOVES peanut butter and cannot eat
    it at school because one or a few children have
    peanut allergies. Instead of having a “peanut
    free” table, they have virtually banned peanut
    products.
    I would NEVER want to intentionally harm any child…
    I don’t want to hurt them at all.
    I do not think that my son should have to take
    something to school he does not want to eat, because
    of someone else’s allergies, however.
    There are many things I have an aversion to that
    I wish would go away, but that is no reality.
    Reality is that I have to change my own
    habits to keep myself safe from harm.
    Children with such allergies need to be taught the
    same thing.

    I changed my son’s food…but he wants some sort of
    peanut butter and jelly sandwich, so I have
    changed to Nutella, for the time being. It is
    more expensive than peanut butter, but I am
    willing to do whatever I can to protect another
    child. I do not, however, think that this
    is the fair or best way to handle the situation.

  • Ryara Says:

    BANNING PEANUTS IN SCHOOLS MAY NOT SEEM FAIR BUT HOW FAIR IS IT FOR A CHILD – NO MATTER HOW OLD TO HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT BEING KILLED BECAUSE SOMEONE DIDN’T CLEAN THE TABLE OR DOOR KNOB OR EVEN THEIR HANDS. SOME PEOPLE CAN’T EVEN BE IN THE SAME ROOM WITHOUT IT KILLING THEM. PEOPLE WITH ALLERGIES FIGHT EVERYDAY TO LIVE. PARENTS DO TEACH THEIR CHILDREN WHO HAVE ALLERGIES AND THEY ARE THE ONES THAT WATCH OUT FOR THEMSELVES BUT ITS NOT THE KIDS THAT HAVE ALLERGIES THAT CAUSE THE PROBLEM, IT’S THE OTHER KIDS AND THEIR FAMILIES THAT DON’T REALIZE OR DON’T CARE ENOUGH ABOUT OTHERS TO HELP PROTECT THE OTHER CHILDREN. YOU WOULD EXPECT ANYBODY TO WATCH FOR A CHILD THAT RUNS OUT INTO THE STREET, HELP IN ANY WAY YOU COULD TO KEEP THEM FROM GETTING HIT. THEN WHY IS LOOKING OUT FOR THE KIDS THAT HAVE ALLERGIES ANY DIFFERENT? NO IT’S NOT!!!!!

    PARENTS PAY MORE MONEY TO FEED THEIR CHILDREN WHEN THEY HAVE ALLERGIES. ALLERGIES CAN KILL IN A MATTER OF MINUTES. 30 SECONDS TO 1 MIN IS ALL IT TAKES. MY OWN SON CAN’T HAVE A BABYSITTER OR GO TO DAY CARE BECAUSE OF HIS ALLERGIES. HE’S ALLERGIC TO EGG, PEANUT, SOY, WHEAT, FISH, DAIRY, STRAWBERRY, SHELLFISH, PEAS, RYE, YEAST, SESAME SEED AND TREE NUTS. I AS A PARENT FIGHT EVERYDAY TO KEEP MY CHILDREN SAFE AND I WOULD EXPECT OTHER PARENTS AND CHILDREN TO WATCH OUT TOO. YOU MAY NOT HAVE AN ALLERGY ALL YOUR LIFE AND DEVELOP ONE LATER ON AND HAVE IT NEARLY KILL YOU. MY OWN CHILD WHOM WILL HAVE TO BRING LUNCHES HIS ENTIRE LIFE, NEVER HAVING WHAT EVERYONE ELSE IS EATING OR EVEN BEING ABLE TO FULLY PARTICIPATE IN CLASS, BECAUSE OF PAINT AND CLAY PLAYDOH, ACTIVITIES THAT HAVE CANDY OR FOOD IN THEM SNACK TIME OR BIRTHDAY PARTIES, GOING TO THE MOVIES AND HAVING THEATER POPCORN BECAUSE IT COULD KILL HIM. DO I THINK THE CHILD SHOULD BE PROSECUTED? YES. I ALSO BELIEVE THAT THE PARENT SHOULD BE FINED FOR NOT TAKING THE TIME TO TEACH THEIR CHILD THAT TAUNTING OR PURPOSELY PUTTING SOMETHING THAT SOME ONE IS ALLERGIC TO IN THE ALLERGIC PERSON’S LUNCH COULD KILL THEM. BY NOT TEACHING THEM THAT ALLERGIES ARE A SERIOUS THING THEY LET IT HAPPEN.

    I BELIEVE THAT ALL SCHOOLS SHOULD BE NUT FREE, TO INCLUDE PEANUT. NUT ALLERGIES ARE NOT AS UNCOMMON AS ONCE BELIEVED AND IF SOMEONE LIKES PEANUT BUTTER OR NUTS THEN EAT THEM AT HOME. IF A CHILD IS AFRAID TO GO TO SCHOOL TO BE TAUGHT BY PEOPLE THAT HAVE LEARNED HOW TO TEACH THEN IT’S NOT A FAIR ENVIRONMENT FOR THEM. NOT ALL PARENTS ARE ABLE TO HOMESCHOOL. FAVORITE FOOD OR NOT IF SOMEONE IN THE SCHOOL NO MATTER WHAT AGE OR GRADE THEN NUTS SHOULD BE BANNED AND IF SOMEONE IS CAUGHT BRINGING IN THE OFFENDING ITEM THEY SHOULD BE EXPELLED. IF THEY DO SOMETHING TO PURPOSELY HURT THAT PERSON AND ARE OLD ENOUGH TO UNDERSTAND THE CONSEQUENCES THEN THEY SHOULD BE PROSECUTED.

  • happiness1535 Says:

    One thing Ryara said is wrong when it comes to anything besides bullying incidents.
    “BUT ITS NOT THE KIDS THAT HAVE ALLERGIES THAT CAUSE THE PROBLEM, IT’S THE OTHER KIDS AND THEIR FAMILIES THAT DON’T REALIZE OR DON’T CARE ENOUGH ABOUT OTHERS TO HELP PROTECT THE OTHER CHILDREN”

    When a child (at least an older one) touches a surface and touches his/her face without washing, then he/she is morally responsible for the reaction, not anyone else. Allowing peanut bans legitimizes the idea that the normal children are responsible, exposing other parents to a liability risk. That is yet another reason to oppose the bans.

    The loaded gun analogy often used here is inappropriate. Guns (and secondhand smoke) harm NORMAL children. Normal children only children only benefit from nuts. Plus,there is no reason except violence for guns in school. There is an excellent reason for nuts. Peanut butter is the cheapest option. Especially demanding avoidance of traces of nuts imposes a grossly unfair level of expense on others.The basic problem here is demanding that the world adapt to the allergic child and not the allergic child to the world.

    Example:
    Schools generally require children with fevers over 100 degrees to stay out of school. But, that is not good enough for an immuno-compromised child. Few would argue for changing the threshold and causing major disruption for the whole school for one child. Some immuno-compromised children,as well as nut-allergic ones, must be homeschooled. But, most can manage with precautions.

    The bullying argument for banning nuts would have to be logically applied to milk, egg, wheat, and fish allergies. Those can all be contact allergies. Spreading derivatives on the belongings (and particularly the allergic person himself/herself) of allergic people can cause fatal reactions.

    The other argument is the airborne issue. Those with airborne allergies to nuts should not be eating in the cafeteria. They should eat separately (perhaps with compassionate children who bring a nut-free lunches and sit with them) They should be wearing a fine particulate mask in many settings and gloves.

    My arguments apply much less to nut-free classrooms. That, combined with glove and mask precautions, should protect virtually all children very well. If not, they should not be out in public at all.

  • Eyewideopen Says:

    The charges fit the crime. Kids early on know what can hurt themselves and others. Nothing can be more deliberate than the peanut butter tainting in light of how this person acted. It was sneaky and unconscionable. Hopefully this child is getting therapy, per the lack of disregard for life is disturbing, to say the very least. School should be a place of good things, not a war zone. Hopefully the community is stepping in where the family really needs help.

  • Umbrellen Says:

    I think we as a nation need to look at peanuts in a whole new way… Not only as weapons that children may use against eachother but parents who may be looking to kill their children, siblings using peanut butter to kill their siblings… We must look, as forensic specialists, at peanut butter allergy related deaths closer, a second time, with some suspicion that it may not be an innocent peanut-allergy-mistake death. Investigate each case fully until we can rule murder using peanut traces as a weapon out.

  • Fifth Generation Says:

    Our kids have not suffered from peanut allergies, but ARE allergic to perfumes and similiar chemicals.

    While in Middle school, our oldest son was deliberately trapped by three other boys and perfume dumped on him. Fortunately, it was seen by the VP, who was aware of the problem. Our son was sent IMMEDIATELY to the showers. Not the kids showers, but the Coach’s shower!!

    I got the call from the VP right after it happened. I don’t drive, have to depend upon public transit, but, for whatever reason, I had just time enough to grab what I needed for our son and scamper out to the bus. I stepped on as it was about to go by.

    I was at the school within ten minutes with our son’s clean clothes and a garbage bag in which to put the wet/dirty ones.

    Because he’d showered right away, the damage was minimal, but no one ‘in the know’ was surprised that he was home, the next day.

    The boy who had brought the perfume was suspended from school. He had admitted to (boasted, at first) bringing it for the purpose. His accomplices were on in-school suspension for a week. All three were told about the ‘might have beens’, had the situation been even a little bit different.

    The school kept a close eye on things, after that. Sadly, that was fifteen years ago. These days, class rooms, schools and administration are held hostage by the ignorant and the bullies. Even to scold a misbehaving student brings the threat of a lawsuit.

    That has to stop, too. Bullying has got to be removed from out schools. Not just the lip-service of a so-called ‘zero-tolerance’ policy, but the genuine diligence such a policy requires. Civility, too, needs to be restored to our schools. This requires educating the PARENTS. It all starts with the parents. Some parents are diligent, are appalled by this behavior. Too many, though, ‘reward’ Jonny/Jenny ‘because teacher is a meany’, without understanding the consequences to the students in that class room, in that school.

  • Elisabeth Wilkins, EP Editor Says:

    Fifth Generation: Thank you so much for sharing this story. I’m glad it worked out for your son and that the school was helpful to you. I so agree with you that civility needs to be restored in schools — and in general! A zero-tolerance policy for bullying makes good sense. Unfortunately, cyberbullying makes it easy for kids to bully without consequences. They don’t even have to see the expression of the person they are picking on when they do it. I think we really need to educate our kids about online bullying as well — and soon.