New Jersey School District Implements Total Ban on Peanuts

nutsThe Lyndhurst school district in New
Jersey voted in a special meeting 7 to 2 in favor of a policy
banning students in Kindergarten through 8th grade from
bringing any peanuts or peanut-containing foods onto school
grounds. High school students are now allowed to eat peanuts only
in the cafeteria. The district already had a restrictive peanut
policy, allowing the consumption of food containing peanut only in
designated classrooms by students in 4th through
8th grade, which came about  The anti-peanut policy
was first implemented after one child had an “apparent reaction.”
The parent of that child is a member of the school board. The local
Observer reports:

BOE member Jim Hooper told The Observer last week that
it was one of his sons who was stricken at the time. He elaborated:
“I have two sons who have peanut allergies. We don’t have
cafeterias in our elementary schools and sometime during the
2004-2005 school year, one of them who was attending Roosevelt
School where, at the time, the kids ate lunch in the gym, had a
reaction to something while he was in his gym class.”

The boy was taken to an area hospital and recovered, Hooper

“If we had a new middle school and new cafeteria – which we’ve
tried to get [through a public referendum that failed] – where we
could come up with something that would allow non-allergic kids to
eat peanuts, then maybe we could control things better,” Hooper
said. “But we don’t. Some kids can go into anaphylactic shock from
being exposed to peanuts. So, it’s a safety issue. “I’m not
normally a guy who restricts things,” Hooper said, “but we’re
trying to protect the kids.”

The policy change came about after a “concerned parent” thought
the peanut policy wasn’t strict enough, says the school
superintendent. In a letter to parents she warned:

“Nut allergies can be life threatening. It takes only
the slightest smell, touch, or ingestion of peanuts, peanut butter,
peanut oil, a product that may contain trace amounts of peanuts or
a product that has been processed in a plant that also manufactures
peanut products, to cause a potential anaphylactic

A few
years ago
, a Harvard professor of medical sociology, Nicholas
Christakis, suggested that the increased worry over peanut
allergies resembled mass psychogenic illness, better known as
epidemic hysteria. Only about 150 people a year die from all food
allergies combined, he noted, similar to the number of people who
die from lightning strikes and earthquakes combined.

from Hit & Run

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