Allergies in School

By Heather Legg

School is at the end of its first week, and boy, do I already have stories to tell!

Last night was open house in older daughter’s class, the one with the tree nut allergy. As the teacher was going over class procedure, homework, curriculum, everything related to school and class, she, of course, brought up allergies. I was touched and thankful she did this, but, wow, you should have seen the reactions from parents.

When the teacher said “tree nuts” everyone’s (well not really everyone’s but quite a few) face wore a question mark. She then said, “Walnuts, pecans, macadamia nuts…” and sort of stopped. Hands went up, which I was glad to see since it meant interest/concern/something. Someone asked about other nuts, someone asked about peanut butter at lunch, the teacher looked at me with “help” on her face, so I asked if she wanted me to step in. She looked relieved so I gave my little blurb that my daughter is allergic to tree nuts, but not so severely as to restrict everyone else. I don’t think too many kids eat tree nut in elementary school, anyway, but there is the shared equipment issue and all of that. I told them that she knows and is pretty self sufficient in this by now. I then told them that peanuts were fine and a look of relief (and surprise) crossed the class. I think one mom was especially glad because her child seems to love peanut butter for lunch. But, ya know what, she was thoughtful enough to ask if she shouldn’t send it in. I think she was happy it was fine with me, but nonetheless, she asked.

My husband and I were talking on the way home, surprised people didn’t know what tree nuts are, the difference between them and peanuts, all of that. Then we laughed at ourselves and remembered before all of this, we had no idea either. So it just goes to show that a little education is a good thing, and I was glad to pass along what I know to help out my daughter and answer any questions others have.

On another note, my younger daughter has a child with a nut allergy in her class for the first time. I’m not sure if it’s peanuts, tree nuts or both. Because my younger one is so used to the tree nut avoidance in our house, she asked me not to send in anything with nuts. And ironically enough, she loves them! We do allow almonds in our house because those don’t effect my daughter, and the younger one loves them for snack, as well as peanut butter. I was proud of her when she asked not to bring those things anymore, she’s only seven but knows to be considerate to someone else’s needs.

Which brings me to another story from this week, but I’m saving that one for next time!

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