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


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right... rightside

I'm all for making reasonable accomodations that make exposure less likely.  A ban on all peanut products is not a reasonable accomodation. 

First, it's difficult to enforce, between parents who aren't aware/don't care about the ban and will send in PB without a second thought,  and products that 'may have been processed in a plant that also processes peanuts' - peanuts are going to come into the school. 

Second, it's a major disservice to these kids - giving them reason to believe they are in a "safe" zone, and therefore less diligent about cleaning their hands after touching common surfaces, avoiding foods offered by others, etc.

Third, to echo other commenters sentiments, if a child is so highly allergic to peanuts that simply smelling it can cause a reaction, they shouldn't be in the school in the first place.  If a parent doesn't care enough about their own child's well-being to keep them out of harm's way and make drastic changes/accomodations (homeschooling, tutors, etc), they have no right to expect other parents to do it for them.  And yes, the notion of the kid dying vs. another kid not being able to eat PB isn't really apples to apples, but the sentiment is the same - if you can't make a sacrifice to keep your kid safe, don't expect other people to make a sacrifice to keep your kid safe.

MomoLS MomoLS

Lol with Iris0409 here, but without the harsh tone.  She's right about there being a difference between protecting young children and teenagers on-wards.  I don't see the big deal of the slight inconvenience of having to find alternative food sources.  People act like it's peanut butter or bust.  Is it that big of a deal to choose to just make someone else's life a little bit easier?  Especially since the cost is just to not bring PB to scool?

the4m... the4mutts

Yes, because waiting till they're TEENAGERS to teach them how to avoid allergens is the right way to go!

If you expect everyone to cator to "your" child, then the first time someone isn't there to shelter them, then they're DEAD. They need to learn now, so they don't die as teens/young adults.

That's how that works.

You can't expect resturaunts *even for toddlers* to skip using nuts in their entire kitchen, you can't know if their playdate ate pb toast for breakfast, and forgot to wash their hands.

Its not society's job to protect "your" kid, its YOUR job.

AniAngel AniAngel

I'm good with elementary nut bans, I know that my elementary age child is not responsible enough to eat a messy sandwich then touch nothing before he thoroughly washes his hands. Kids are not capable of being trusted with a life or death responsibility at that age. As you move on to middle school and high school then children with allergies should be allowed to carry the meds they need and learn to care for themselves in "real world" situations. Public schools must take every child of age regardless and so they must protect those children the best they can. I'm sure if these parents could afford to homeschool they would, the endless time spent worrying that your baby could die from some other kids sandwich has to be terrible.

MomoLS MomoLS

Actually, I do think it's society's job to protect our children.  Of course parent's are mainly culpable, but I like to think that I'd care enough about someone else's child to not allow him or her be harmed if I could help it.  But maybe I'm tolerant.

AniAngel AniAngel

As a society we no longer have a resposiblity to help one and other? You can't accept that it might be your resposiblity to teach your child that others are so allergic to nuts that it could kill them? I'll stick with teaching my kids how to be good citizens, even if that means a small inconvienience.

jrphelps jrphelps

What ever happened to the attitude of, "It takes a village to raise a child?"  Does no one believe this anymore.  Or you only believe it if it doesn't cause you some kind of inconveience?  Children this young can not be responsible for their own allergies with out the help from adults.  If that means keeping certain foods out of children's hands at this young of age in school, then so be it. 

nonmember avatar Sam

If there is a known child/adult within the school with a deadly allergy, I completely respect the decision to ban those products i.e. nuts. When I was in elementary school there was a ban on peanuts but it wasn't just limited to peanuts we would also get our food taken away (and not replaced with anything else - because apparently a 6yr old should starve because of their parents mistake)if the packaging said "may contain traces of nuts". So if our parents forgot to check the labeling and one of the lunch moniters caught you with a chocolate chip granola bar that might contain traces... they'd take it away. I feel like that is a little bit overboard.

the4m... the4mutts

It takes a village doesn't apply to a school of HUNDREDS of children. A neighbor? A friend? Sure. Expect people who are close to you to be respectful, and helpful of your kid. But to expect hundreds of families to change their entire lifestyle for one child is selfish as hell, and being intolerant of everyone BUT your single child.

What about breakfast, huh? What good will a nut ban do if some kid eats pb toast for breakfast, and doesn't wash their hands? Or gets it on their clothing? Your precious nut ban won't help you then. Or like someone else said, chips made in peanut oil. You can't control the world. Only your house, your kid, and your habits.

nonmember avatar Sarah.S.

If you are incapable of packing a lunch that doesn't include nuts then you are lacking in imagination and intelligence. You are also a selfish jerk who shouldn't have children. If yoy can't think about anyone else besides yourself and your own child then you are probably also raising a child who will be just as self absorbed and just as useless to society.

I worked in a peanut free preschool and you would be surprised at how many selfish parent snuck in peanut product, especially granola bars. Especially pathetic since there are peanut free varieties available. The worst part is these parents would leave wrappers in the coat room, right where an allergic child could get their hands on it.

There are many great and healthy foods that don't include peanuts/nuts...get off your butt and find them.

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