A Whole New Way to Bully: Peanut Butter as a Weapon

Posted April 22, 2008 by

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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.)


Elisabeth Wilkins is the editor of Empowering Parents and the mother of an 10-year-old son. Her work has appeared in national and international publications, including Mothering, Motherhood (Singapore), Hausfrau, The Bad Mother Chronicles, and The Japan Times. Elisabeth holds a Masters in Fine Arts in Creative Writing from the University of Southern Maine.

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