Allergy Taunting

By Heather Legg

As I wrote last week, the new school year has begun. Along with tears over new routines and exhaustion, the excitement over new friends and teachers, the homework, the school supplies, we have the allergy factor to contend with.

I did the necessary things for my daughter (even got a little from her teacher for sending in the allergy safe treats so promptly – and who still doesn’t love a little teacher praise?).  So she is taken care of, I’ll say my prayers and be off on another school year. She has one other student in her class with an allergy – a shellfish allergy. I know his mom and she is pretty laid back about it. She says it’s an easy one to stay away from, they take the necessary precautions, he’s aware of it, and she sends his emergency medication to school.

I think school food is pretty safe, except there are ‘shrimp poppers’ on the menu – you know, fried popcorn shrimp. On those days, he’s allowed to sit at the guest table with a non shrimp popper eating friend. Seems pretty cut and dry, huh. Well every class has one, a mean kid. Maybe that’s not politically correct to say, but every class has that child   who will try to push the limits, test everyone, that kind of thing. This class has one, too.

My daughter came home on maybe the third day of school to tell me this story. The one girl in her class who she was a little worried about because of her behavior, apparently had shrimp for lunch, she had brought it from home. Somehow, she knew of this boy’s allergy, whether he told her that day or she knew beforehand (now I doubt her parents knew as it was before open house when the teacher talked about class allergies). Anyway, who knows how much harm she really meant, but she did eat her shrimp with her fingers and deliberately touched the boy with allergies. He was fine, but did go to the clinic but get checked out.

Those are t he details I know. And I’m glad he’s fine and figured he probably was from the story, but the bottom line, this girl used his allergy as a bullying tool. She didn’t know how severe or non-severe his allergy is. She probably isn’t aware of the real ramifications of a serious allergy. If nothing else, his school day was interrupted, worse case could have been a trip to the hospital. Now she didn’t shove it in his mouth or face, he didn’t ingest anything, but she deliberately touched him with an allergen. Not good.

I don’t know if she had a consequence within the school or home, I sure hope she did. And I hope she doesn’t show up with cashews in her lunchbox and sit next to my daughter!

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