With an eye on the food allergy community as a unique group of consumers since 2008, we're on a quest to find and share ways to continue enjoying the good things in life.

10 November 2008

Should Food Allergic Students be Segregated?

Here is an article from Illinois about another approach to managing food allergies as school. A local school fights food allergies in the classroom discusses the efforts of one elementary school in Illinois where 10 out of the 100 kindergarteners have severe food allergies. According to the WIFR.com article,

"(the) principal says, "The students are grouped into one classroom for two reasons, to do the most accommodations we can in that classroom, the second one is to make it a safer overall by making sure we monitor what comes in and out of that classroom and what they come in contact with daily."

Part of the monitoring process, students bags and lunches are checked several times a day for harmful products, just one of many safety measures."

I can see both positives and negatives to this approach. It's almost a little controversial because of the separation or segregation of the students. What do you think?


Anonymous said...

My daugher had a peanut allergy buddy in her preschool class. The other Mom and I worked together on making the classroom environment safe. The kids on their first day of school both got out their special snacks while everyone else had a shared snack and chatted about their allergies. It made them so happy to not be the only "allergy kid" and they sat next to each other every day. The other Mom and I asked the school nurse if they could be in the same kindergarten classroom next year. She said no way that would be showing favoritism and the district would not do it. Arrhh!

Anonymous said...

I don't think it is a good idea to segregate the children with food allergies!! Both of my boys have life threatening food allergies and they feel different enough as it is!
Their school is not peanut free, but in the lunchroom they have an allergen free table. In the classroom nut containing snacks are not aloud and all elementary schools in our town have food free celebrations. Keeping the children separate in their a classroom of their own is going too far!

Jenny said...

I don't agree with segregating allergic students. I can see the appeal, esp. when you're kids are younger, but it really is not a good idea to make kids feel there is something so wrong with them they need to be set apart from others. My daughter would be devastated if she were sent to a "special" classroom. Separate lunch tables are a "necessary evil" that my child has had to participate in, but entire classrooms? I think most food allergies can be handled by limiting edible party treats and just common sense avoidance of certain things. Also, it's not truly practical. Even though the child may be segregated in class, do they then have a separate playground, restroom, bus, etc? They can pick up allergens in all of these places. Better to teach the children how to keep themselves safe and have the school take reasonable precautions.

Anonymous said...

In my story above - I'm Kris - we wanted the kids in the same room because we could pool resources as far as monitoring snacks and supporting each other. I feel we definately had more leverage with the teacher because there were two of us. It wouldn't be a "food allergy only" class and at their age they would not be told why they were in the same classroom.

Unknown said...

This is a tough subject, isn't it? I think it's somehow different when the school separates the food allergic children than when parents ask for a few food allergic children to be together. Does anyone else think so?

Jenny said...

Yes, we had wanted our daughter to be with her peanut-free buddy and we were given the impression that the allergic kids were separated so that no single teacher would be responsible for more than one at a time.

That made sense to me, but it still was difficult to accept. Of course, now my daughter is one of two nut-allergic kids in her class alone, much less the grade.