School Ban on Peanut Butter Brings Out the Crazy in Selfish Parents

Rant 211

peanut butter sandwichWow, people are passionate about peanut butter and jelly. What started as one Arkansas boy's sandwich has now turned into an international debate with people vehemently raging both for and against the right to eat peanut butter in schools.

It started when Jenkins Clifton-Jones took a PB&J to school one day. Apparently his mom didn't know about the six-year ban his school had in place against peanut products to protect students with allergies. According to Area Wide News, when a teacher saw him about to take a bite, she confiscated the sandwich, helped the boy get a new lunch, and sent a note home explaining the school's policy.

Sounds simple enough, right? Not even close.

Instead, his mom, Denise Clifton-Jones, took to Facebook to express her anger over the policy, and eventually started the page "School Nut Ban Discussion." Since then hundreds of people have chimed in with their very adamant opinions on either side; there's even a warning to people to stop with the profanity and name calling because it's gotten so heated. Comments like this from one woman pretty well sum up the side that's irate about the confiscation:

I joined this discussion because I am so sick of hearing about nut allergies. Many children and adults have allergies that they need to learn to deal with. Don't penalize 99.9% of the school for 1 child's allergy.

I'm flat out appalled that people could be so selfish. It seems like such a non-issue. When so many children suffer from peanut allergies (some reports say it may be as high as 1 in 25) and children can DIE if exposed to them, then I don't think asking people not to bring peanut products to school is such a big deal. It's one meal a day, and no one is going to die if they don't get their favorite sandwich.

Is it somewhat inconvenient? Sure. I always have peanut butter in my cupboard, and when I haven't been to the market in awhile, I know I can always rely on it. If I couldn't, it would be a pain, but not nearly as big as the one parents of children with food allergies face every day, worrying that some speck of food might kill their kid.

It's the epitome of laziness and self-centeredness to try and fight for the right to send your child to school with a food that could seriously harm another child. No, we can't ban every food that every child is allergic to, but nuts are a big one, so why not help these families out? I bet if those parents who are so passionate about sending peanut butter had to walk in the shoes of a parent who lives in fear of the product for even one day, they'd change their minds in a Jif (pun totally intended).

Do you think schools should ban peanut products to protect children with allergies?


Image via {N}Duran/Flickr

in the news, kid health, kids nutrition, school lunch

211 Comments

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bills... billsfan1104

I have never understood parents that send their kids to school with a nut allergy so bad that they will die from sniffing it. I would homeschool my kids, because I would never ever be able to trust people to keep my kids safe.

UgtaB... UgtaBkdnMe

If your child will die if she/he smells a peanut keep them in a bubble. There are peanuts everywhere not just schools. However, I do repsect the nuts ban at our school.

yayhe... yayheadstart

Of course I would respect the ban- I don't want anything bad to happen to a child because of a sandwich! Our school does not have one however. Not a single allergic child, at least, in the 4 years my oldest has been going there. Seems strange that food allergies are so prevalent elsewhere...wonder what my neighborhood is doing right.

tbruc... tbrucemom

If your child has a nut allergy you need to prepare your child to deal with it not expect the rest of society to change their ways. 

geeky... geekychick

My kid is a picky eater with some allergies and I send him with a PBJ a lot of the time because Its one of the few things I know without a doubt he will eat. He also knows though not to share food and to clean up after himself because of his own allergies.

MomoLS MomoLS

Good argument, and I completely agree. I'd risk a bit of my convenience just to help out another family. It's the right thing to do.

yayhe... yayheadstart

I didn't mean that last sentence to sound sanctimonious, btw. Simply wondering if there is a correlation.

nonmember avatar Ncmomx3

For most allergic kids, it's not sniffing it that is the problem. It's when kids eat peanut butter & rub their oily grubby hands all over tables/water fountains/playground equipment/etc. Peanut butter is easy to spread around. 1 in 25 American kids have nut allergies, should they all be denied an education? Home schooling isn't reasonable for everyone.

nonmember avatar Lilac

If you child is so allergic that another child with peanut butter on there hands touches them they will die then they need to be home schooled until they can be taught to use an epipen. Otherwise you are just forcing all the parents and kids in the school to baby your child. A child that will get a big shock when they grow up in the adult world people eat peanut butter around them. Teach your child to protect themselves not expect the world to cater to them. The needs or the many out way the needs of the few.

nonmember avatar Selfish Mom

I know people whose kids have nut allergies to varying degrees, and I have a lot of sympathy for what that must be like to deal with. And while there are people who will die if they eat peanuts - or even smell them - this is a whole lot rarer than the media would lead us to believe. If there was a child in that school who had that kind of sensitivity, then sure. A ban makes sense (and I have no idea if there was).

But the fact is, once kids get to the age where they know about their allergy, all they have to do is not eat some other kid's sandwich. If the parents' worry is that the kids won't follow the rules and will eat the sandwich anyway, that's something they have to deal with at ground zero - their kid. Because there will be many many opportunities for that kid to sneak peanuts outside of school.

Not to mention the fact that many researchers theorize that the rise in nut bans are helping to cause the rise in nut allergies - kids don't come in contact with nuts anymore with the frequency they used to, and don't build any kind of immunity to them.

This is not about parents being selfish or lazy, on either side. It's about schools taking the easiest possible route to avoid lawsuits and trouble, and that's what I have the most problem with. Just another zero-tolerance cop-out.

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