Leave the peanuts at home

By Ashley Weyler
March 9, 2006

I love peanut butter. It is one of my favorite foods. I can’t imagine not being able to eat peanut butter. I can’t imagine that eating peanut butter could kill me. People who suffer from food allergies, more specifically peanut allergies, have to constantly watch what they eat because they fear deadly consequences.

A few months ago, in my local paper, The Daily Times of Delaware County, a woman who called herself “Fuming at Lindwood Elementary,” wrote to the Sound Off section. She was livid over the fact that her child, a kindergarten student at Lindwood Elementary in Boothwyn, Pa., was not able to bring peanut butter snacks to school anymore because a classmate had a peanut allergy.

The woman said, “As a taxpayer and parent of a kindergarten student, nobody has the right to tell me what I can pack in his or her lunch. Lindwood parents need to speak up. We have the right.”

This Sound Off upset my family, especially my Aunt Joanie who’s son, Joey, has a severe peanut allergy. I thought to myself, well my cousin has rights too, lady. He has the right to live. Call me crazy, but I think living beats bringing peanut butter for snack time.

Joey is so severely allergic to peanuts, that while we were vacationing together, someone ate peanut butter crackers in a chair one day. The next day, Joey sat in the chair and instantaneously he developed a rash. At his school, Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Morton, Pa., letters were sent home to the parents of his classmates at the beginning of every school year that says that no peanut butter snacks are permitted in the classroom. There has never been any resistance from any parents. About six years ago, Joey was given a bag of treats for a Christmas party in school. By accident, the teacher included some candy with peanut butter in it. Joey ate it and was rushed to the hospital. The fact is he could die if he comes in contact with peanut butter.

Last November, a 15-year-old Canadian girl died from kissing her boyfriend at 2 a.m., when her boyfriend ate peanut butter on toast nine hours before.

So why is this woman from Boothwyn, Pa. making such a fuss about her child bringing peanut butter to school? Is it a necessity? Is her child going to die if she doesn’t eat it everyday? Because kids like my cousin can die from someone who has consumed peanut butter merely breathing on him. Is it really worth it? I don’t think so and neither did my aunt. She decided to write back to Sound Off.

My aunt wrote, “You tell me what would be more traumatic to your child, not having his Kandycake at snack time or having my son go into anaphylactic shock and die right next to him? Would your child be psychologically damaged by not having his peanut butter and jelly or watching my son swell with hives on the outside, as well on the inside, until he could not breathe? This is just because your child breathed on my son or touched him while playing after he ate, not from actually ingesting the peanut butter. Oh, how your tune would change if this was your child!”

I don’t think that parents of kids with peanut allergies should have to worry about whether or not their child is going to come home from school or not. I think parents that think it is dire for their child to eat peanut butter in school when kids have peanut allergies need to sit back and think what is more important. Should they give their child what they want or let another kid live?

Posted to the web by Shane Evans

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Ashley Weyler

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