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.

23 October 2020

Food Allergies in School in the United States - Musings

EverythingSuperMario, CC BY-SA 4.0
via Wikimedia Commons

One thing that has struck me during this pandemic is how different the 50 states really are in these United States. We are all witness to how different states have different ways of dealing with disease and public health. It's abundantly clear now too that different states have different ways of managing public education during public health crises. It's even different from one town to another town, in some cases.

Of course I believe the national food allergy organizations in the United States should seek to lead and advocate for food allergy safety and better food allergy management in schools, but it seems it is a bit misguided to put much emphasis and effort on a national level. Perhaps regional branches of national food allergy organizations or even state chapters--where they exist--should take a greater role in promoting food allergy safety in schools and improved management of food allergies in schools. 

It is not very helpful to receive guidance about food allergy management in schools from someone with little to no familiarity with schools in your own state. The same goes for many other things in school. For example, as a special education teacher, I find that although special education is protected by Federal Law and funded by the Federal government, there are differences in how special education services are provided and documented from state to state. Special education practices in Massachusetts, where I live and teach, are quite different than what you might find in Georgia or Indiana. Similarly, food allergy management in Massachusetts schools is a world apart from food allergy management in schools in other states.

In addition, it's been my experience that the best information about food allergy management in schools--in Massachusetts--usually is available from the school nurses. This may not be the case in other states. 

These are just a few of my recent musings about advocacy and leadership on the topic of food allergies in schools in these United States, which I typed into my laptop during the summer. Not much seems to make sense these days and no one seems to agree with anyone else either. Maybe we are all lost! And yet, the food allergy organizations are still pumping out the same old info. What's that old saying? "The more things change, the more they stay the same..."

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