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How far should schools go in protecting kids with allergies?

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Culture & Entertainment

How far should schools go in protecting kids with allergies?

Hamilton mom Lynne Glover has filed a complaint with the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario against her daughter’s elementary school. (CBC.ca) She says that the way the school handled her daughter's milk and egg allergies failed to follow their policies or provide a safe environment for her daughter. How to deal with food allergies at school Before tackling the school question, I would like to frame the discussion a bit. I completely feel for families who deal with severe food allergies. Because I have lost a baby, I have dealt with a lot of fear in letting my kids go out into the world even without a serious health issue, and my eldest also had a round of appendicitis that involved a rush transfer and surgery. There is nothing like standing in a hospital hallway realizing that your child has had a close call. The CBC piece states that Glover's daughter, who is six years old, has dealt with 9 bouts of anaphylactic shock. That's a true and serious risk, and it must be difficult for the Glover family to find the line between keeping their young daughter safe, and helping her have a childhood that is also full of joy, learning and all the things we all want for our kids so that they grow up to be happy and independent adults. These are tough situations for these families, and I think we need to support them as much as possible. Although my kids are so far allergy-free, and love nuts, we are rigorous in adhering to our daycare and school policies and also try to provide alternatives at events like playdates and parties. It would be really hard for us to manage milk and egg as well, but if there were a child in one of my kid's classes with those allergies, I hope we would find a way as a community to help get the child to the age where she can be more proactive for herself. In reading comments to this piece on the CBC site, I was struck by how many comments proposed solutions that seemed to me as though they would work better than a complete ban on particular allergens: Separate eating areas, specific tables set up for kids with allergies, and most of all: Adult supervision. How does your school manage food allergies? What do you think of these policies? (Photo: United States Department of Agriculture, uploaded by Rusinow [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons)
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How far should schools go in protecting kids with allergies?

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