The Pros and Cons to Banning Allergens from Schools

The number of peanut allergies in children has doubled in the last several years, according to WebMD. As a result of the increase in allergies among children, schools have banned peanuts and any nut-based foods from classrooms all over America. Some people think banning peanuts and other allergens from the classroom is a good idea and others feel it is a bit excessive.

Why Schools Are Going Peanut/Nut-Free

One of the pros of removing peanuts and nuts from the classroom is having no chance of a child having an allergic reaction. By not being exposed to peanuts in the classroom, parents can have peace of mind knowing their child is safe while at school. Peanut and nut allergies can range from mild to severe and in some instances, a reaction can quickly become life-threatening.

While many parents think banning peanuts and other allergens from the classroom is a great idea, there are several problems with this strategy. Banning peanuts and other nut products can create a false sense of security with parents. It is impossible to entirely remove the chance of peanut or nut cross-contamination from occurring, particularly when children bring in foods from home.

Peanut/Nut-Free Tables in the Cafeteria

Nuts are only one potential allergen out of many others. Banning peanuts and nut products can make a child feel deprived. It is important to offer differing solutions to manage peanut or nut exposure in schools, but it does not mean a child will not sneak a peanut butter and jelly sandwich into their lunch. A child with nut allergies could be singled out and bullied by others, which creates even more issues.

Another option schools are doing is electing to have a peanut and nut-free lunch table. Peanut and nut-free lunch tables are a workable compromise in banning these allergens entirely.

Having peanut and nut-free zones allow children to be physically separated from children with allergies. If there are enough children with peanut and nut allergies, having access to a table with others does not make the child feel singled out.

The con of a peanut and nut-free lunch table is the children sitting there may feel isolated from their peers. As with peanut and nut-free classrooms, children with allergies to soy, wheat, milk or eggs will not be protected in the same way.

Strict Sanitation Measures

Another con of making a classroom or lunch room peanut and nut fee is increased cleaning and hand washing. An increase in hand washing and surface cleaning may help prevent germs from spreading and can eliminate more allergens. However, time spent cleaning up and observing strict handwashing protocols will take time away from the classroom and lessens the time spent learning.

Should It Be a Case-by-Case Judgment?

Many schools are utilizing a case-by-case approach to banning peanuts and nut-based foods in classrooms. The pro of deciding in this manner is because it allows flexibility in designing a safe environment which meets a child’s individual needs. Not all children have a life-threatening peanut or nut allergy, so if there are no allergic children present in a classroom, there is no need to incorporate a ban.

The con of using a case-by-case approach to banning peanuts and nut-based foods is that a separate decision must be made for each child with an allergy and it is very time-consuming. Another con of doing a case-by-case approach is that it could lead to a child feeling as if they are being treated differently, even if it is for their own protection and health.

What Choice Will Work Best?

When weighing the pros and cons of banning peanuts and nut-based foods in schools and classrooms across the country, it is important to consider everything in the situation. If you are a parent and your child has a peanut or nut allergy, it could understandably make sense to you to ban these allergens in the classroom. However, if your child does not have an allergy to peanuts or nuts, going to the extreme of banning these foods from the classroom may not seem fair or could feel like a punishment to your child.

Photo: Pixabay

Latest Community Discussions

Latest Post by Italia38 Wed, 01/15/2020 - 11:03am
Comments: 10
Latest Post by Italia38 Wed, 01/15/2020 - 10:52am
Comments: 2
Latest Post by penelope Tue, 01/14/2020 - 1:03pm
Comments: 1

Peanut Free Store

More Articles

Are you craving cake? Perhaps there's an upcoming birthday...

Those with severe peanut allergies often find that they are unable to enjoy dessert, since there's...

Cakes are a central part of many celebrations, from kids' birthdays to weddings. For those with severe ...

Most elementary school teachers take a mid-morning break to allow their students to refuel with a snack. If it's your turn to bring a snack for...

For those with peanut allergies, baked goods present a serious risk. Many baked goods do not appear to contain peanuts, yet were baked in a...

Do you have a child with peanut allergies and an upcoming birthday? Perhaps you'd like to bake a...

Those who have peanut allergies know to avoid peanut butter cookies, of course – but what about other...

In the United States, there are no lines of ice cream that are dedicated to being nut-free....

Are you craving sweets? Those with peanut allergies must be especially careful when indulging their...

What can you eat if you can't eat peanut butter? Fortunately for people with a peanut allergy, there...

If you’ve recently discovered a peanut allergy in your family, you may be wondering what on earth you are going to replace those peanut butter and...

If you find frequent allergy-related food recalls upsetting you are not alone, but a new federal rule may help reduce the cross-contamination...

Recent UK studies revealing the benefit of giving peanut protein to infants at risk for peanut allergy have left some mothers feeling guilty. The...

Peanuts are classified as legumes, as are chickpeas. Does this mean a child with a peanut allergy needs to avoid eating chickpeas? As with many...

Parents of kids with peanut allergy and adults with a peanut allergy may worry about allergen exposure from surfaces not cleaned after peanut...

A 504 plan* documents food allergy accommodations agreed to by parents and their child’s school. Plans are typically created during a 504 meeting...

It may seem a contradiction when doctors claim reactions owed to airborne peanut protein are rare, yet you read multiple online stories of kids...

Nearly 25 percent of children with a peanut allergy will outgrow it. However, there is a small risk...

If you or your child has a peanut allergy, that unmistakable smell of peanuts wafting through the air...

If you have a peanut allergy, you are probably accustomed to reading labels and scanning for warnings...