peanut butter sandwichBullying. Just when you thought you'd heard it all, kids go and find yet another horrifying way to torment -- and possibly endanger -- their peers. And as the mom of a kid with food allergies, I find this new "trend" (for lack of a better word) particularly alarming: Apparently schools and parents are reporting a rise in the number of kids bullying other kids with severe food allergies by "plotting to switch a child’s lunch to see if she gets sick, for example, or spitting milk at a child’s face and causing a swift anaphylactic reaction."

It's like the lunchroom version of biological warfare, and it makes me ill to think about.

For so many kids, a bite of the wrong sandwich or sip from the wrong thermos can result in near fatal reactions; my daughter had a friend in kindergarten whose skin would actually blister if a drop of milk spilled on him. I can't even imagine what would've happened to that kid if somebody sprayed a mouthful of milk sprayed in his face! Likewise, I can't bring myself to consider how sick my son could get if he accidentally ate a peanut butter cookie at school ... though knowing there's an Epi-Pen with his name on it in the school nurse's office is a comfort.

How to deal with the consequences of food allergen bullying isn't really the issue, though -- the big issue, in my opinion, is that there are kids out there who seem to think nothing of preying on other kids' extreme vulnerabilities. You can't treat a mean streak with an Epi-Pen.

Does your child have a food allergy? Are you worried about this kind of bullying?


Image via David Rader II/Flickr