A school in Edgewater, Florida is under fire after a group of parents protested, complete with picket signs, the very strict peanut policy the school had to adopt due to a student with a severe peanut allergy.
The first grade girl's condition is so severe that she could actually die if exposed to even the smallest amount of peanut dust, says WKMG. Her condition affects only 2 percent of the population. Her mother, Tracey Bailey, explains it:
We're not talking about she will break out in a rash. We are talking about she will die, stop breathing.
In fact, the situation is so dire that the little girl's classmates are required to wash their hands and rinse out their mouths to avoid bringing peanut particles into the classroom. And the parents have had enough.
Parents say their children are missing out on the learning process, missing out on the fun of having outside food brought in on birthdays and generally missing out period. All of this is because of one student's severe allergy. Mother Carrie Starkey said:
I don't think my child should have to rinse her mouth out three times a day. Nine times out of 10, peanut butter is not coming out of her mouth. They shouldn't have to lose out on what they should be able to experience at school. On average, it's probably a good 30 minutes taken out of the day. That's my child's education. Thirty minutes could be a whole subject.
Parents stood outside the school the little girl attends with signs protesting the policy and, inadvertently, her attendance at the school.
Look, I get it. I'm a parent, too and there is a little girl in my daughter's class with a peanut allergy. Sure, it's a bummer that I can't bring cupcakes to school or pack either of my children peanut butter crackers or a PB&J for their lunch, but you know what? I suck it up. That's life. That's parenthood. And I would rather the 4-year-old in my daughter's class have a happy and healthy life than my daughter have her natural peanut butter. To those parents, I say: Grow up!
Life is going to be full of slightly unfair situations that we make the best of because we all share the world together. Instead, these parents are teaching their children that a child with a disability (which is essentially what this is) is somehow less worthy than their desire for cupcakes. It makes me ill and is sort of funny that Starkey is so concerned about her daughter's 30 minutes a day of education. What she SHOULD be worried about is what selfish, repugnant values she herself is imparting to her child.
If she is so against the policy, she ought to send her child to a private school. There, she can pay tuition to be able to run the school exactly as she sees fit. But as long as she is at a public school where all of our tax dollars are pooled to provide education for all of us, then she -- and all the other protesting parents with their signs -- needs to learn to suck it up. Life isn't always fair, but kindness and the willingness to help others are always lessons that every child should learn.
Does this story make you as mad as it makes me?
Image via ° d i + m a r s °/Flickr