Saturday, August 22, 2009

No Nuts Policy

Our elementary school just instituted a "no nuts" policy which means that no child can bring anything with nuts in it of any kind. No peanut butter sandwiches, no granola bars with nuts, no Reeses, no nutty buddy bars, nada, zip, zero.

I understand the concern that has caused this knee-jerk reaction but am upset by this decision for three reasons:

1. Parents were not informed of this new policy until a few weeks before school began. It is as though they tried to slip it under the wire when our backs were turned and they didn't think anyone was looking. It was never brought up for discussion at all. If parents agreed, I'd feel more compliant.

2. It is not scientifically sound. Sometimes I wonder if the people making educational decision are really educated. There have been articles on this topic in Time Magazine http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1869095,00.html, New York Times http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/12/15/are-nut-bans-promoting-hysteria/ and in a British Medical Journal http://christakis.med.harvard.edu/pdfs/BMJ_081213_Nuts.pdf.

3. What is it teaching our children? Do we as Americans bend to every special interest group or do we believe in freedom and personal responsibility? If we stop bringing nuts to schools, do we then stop selling them in stores? What about fish and eggs, both more common allergies than nuts? What about bee stings which cause more fatalities still? Do we get rid of all the bees? Where do we stop?

I don't know the answer, but I'm definitely making a few calls on Tuesday and sending a number of emails.

3 comments:

ChrissyMcGee said...

They tried this at my daughters' school and were nut free for a couple of years because of one child's allergies. Finally, last year, they made one table at lunch the "nut free" table and my children were free to bring peanut butter and jelly for lunch - which is just about the only thing they'll eat. I understand their concern, but think the original rule was a bit over the top.

Shauna said...

Had some correspondence with the PTO heads and our principal, he emailed me back rather quickly. Forwarded you the response. I am sure he is just flooded right now.

Anonymous said...

Maybe you would rethink a child's right to eat peanutbutter when standing beside a little girl's grave.