Can I legally enforce a nut free school? My daughter's school is wanting to change her 504 and eliminate the modification that children should wash their hands after eating peanut butter in the cafeteria. I don't want to play hard ball, but I want to be prepared just in case. Thank you for any support you can give.
By PeanutAllergy.com on Sep 3, 2016
Question of the Week: Answered!Every week, PeanutAllergy.com answers one of the questions posted in our community.Our Answer:
Thank you for reaching out to the community with your question. We are so sorry to hear that your daughter’s school is trying to change her 504 plan. This document, as we all know, can be life-saving for a child with food allergies, and it is so important that school staff and parents work together to create the best and safest learning environment for a child.
That said, the issue of a nut-free school has been considered controversial, to say the least. Some believe it creates a false sense of security for a child, which will make adjusting in the “real world” more difficult. Others say that alternative solutions, such as peanut-free lunch tables should suffice for those students with allergies. And the issue is a hot-button topic for parents of allergic and nonallergic children alike; in fact, the news is full of terrible stories where parents, protesting accommodations for allergic students, call those children to be removed from campus.
However, this has not stopped many schools from implementing the peanut ban. And these bans seem to stick! For example, when a parent filed a lawsuit against her child’s school in 2013, asking them to end the nut ban, a Michigan Court of Appeals upheld the ban, saying that “[F]ederal civil rights law required it to implement the ban to ensure the allergic student was able to attend school and receive an education.”
Because people with allergies are protected under the ADA, you do have a right to pursue further action. And according to Ellie Goldberg, M.Ed, an educational advocate and consultant, “Section 504 gives you the right to go up the chain of command if the school resists or refuses to cooperate." Reach out to the The U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights if you cannot reach a compromise with your daughter’s school.
Also, we posed your question to our Facebook community and this is what they had to say.
We hope this information is helpful! Take care!