Dear Fellow Parent,
I understand your child is in a nut free classroom and will have to forgo snacks that include nuts at school snack time and parties in order to protect children with food allergies like mine. I realize this accommodation may seem extreme to you. Though I am sympathetic, I would like the opportunity to explain why the school has adopted this rule.
In 2007, it was estimated that over 3 million children aged 18 years and under had some kind of food allergy1 and that number has been rising. Though there are many theories as to why this is, no one knows for sure. What we do know is that allergic reactions can range anywhere from mild – with symptoms like redness and itchiness – to anaphylaxis, a life threatening reaction that can include vomiting, difficulty breathing, and in extreme cases, death. To complicate matters, no one can predict with 100% certainty which children are at risk for anaphylaxis, and worse, a child doesn’t need to eat a food they are allergic to to have an anaphylactic reaction; contact with another child or an item that has been exposed to the allergen can sometimes be enough to trigger onset. Because of this our school has epinephrine injectors on-hand, the treatment of choice if the unthinkable should happen, and why foods containing peanuts are prohibited from our children’s classroom.
Some think that children with food allergies should go to private school or be home schooled so as not to inconvenience the parents of “normal” children, but this is discriminatory thinking of days gone by. Thanks to Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, my child has the right to be accommodated any place that receives federal assistance, and that includes our school.2
Let me say thanks in advance for your understanding and compliance with the nut free classroom as I fully understand that your family is making an accommodation to ensure the safety of mine. If you need suggestions for nut free snacks for snack time and class parties, the list linked below is extremely useful. If being in a nut free classroom is really overwhelming for you, please feel free to discuss your concerns with Dr. Garrett.
Thanks again and please feel free to contact me if you have any questions.
P.S.: SnackSafely.com has a list of commonly available snacks that are free of peanuts, tree nuts and eggs – perfect for the next classroom party.