Bully Prevention

By Heather Legg

Many schools just finished up weeks devoted to anti bullying and bully prevention. Kids are bullied for all sorts of things, being to small, being to big, sexuality, the clothes they wear, being too smart, the list goes on. But also in the list are allergies. I’m shocked to hear any bullying story, and I have heard them regarding food, even at our own school. It is something that has to stop and those of you working to increase awareness within your schools are in a great place to help.

I remember when a student was harassing another student with a food allergy to seafood. Maybe the little fried shrimps were served that day, and there was some taunting and getting the food to close for comfort. Another story at our own school had to do with peanut allergies and the same thing. I think some sort of dare was involved, too. These things should not happen. That’s the bottom line. Just with any kind of bullying, it should not happen.

Many schools have anti bullying platforms in place, often run by the counselors. It is important for food allergy advocates to get in on this. Even if it’s just a matter of constantly questioning food restrictions, and pointing out differences, it should stop. Some kids want to know more about it and will ask questions, but that’s different than picking on someone because of a medical condition. If kids are aware of the dangers of food allergies and they are aware that it is dangerous and a form of bullying to put a peanut butter cracker on a kid’s try who is allergic, maybe it will stop. And if it continues, consequences need to be enforced.

Working with the counselors on this matter is a smart place to begin. Perhaps you can get handouts and information out to the teachers so they can discuss it with their students. They need to know consequences, too. Not only the danger it can bring to their fellow students, but what can happen to them. School suspension, even assault charges can result. It is no laughing matter.

In a study done last year, results showed that in grades 6 to 10, as many as 50% of kids with allergies had been bullied in some way, from teasing and taunting to intentional contaminating of the food. This can bring about sadness, embarrassment and depression.

If you are considering starting a program in your school, make sure that bullying prevention is an aspect of it.

For more on the above mentioned survey, go to

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