Parents protest school peanut ban in Kentucky - Peanut Allergy Information

Parents protest school peanut ban in Kentucky

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-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Posted on Fri, Aug. 20, 2004


Ashland city school bans all peanut products Allergies prompt peanut restriction; some parents protest rule By Cassondra Kirby HERALD-LEADER STAFF WRITER

A ban on peanuts and peanut products at one Kentucky school has some parents feeling like their rights have been violated.

Hager Elementary, in Boyd County, sent letters home notifying parents of its recent decision to ban all peanut products from the school -- including cafeteria shelves, snack machines and packed lunches -- for the safety of students who have a life-threatening allergy associated with peanuts.

Parent Larry Hamlin said he thinks the ban is "Nazi-like" and doesn't take the needs of other students into consideration.

"That's what really aggravates me: They don't check the other 99 children in the group that may be vegetarians and rely on peanut butter for protein, like my son does," said Hamlin, who has two children attending the school.

When he took his complaint to school officials, however, Hamlin said he was told to replace his son's peanut butter sandwich with a jelly or cheese one.

Hamlin said his son-shouldn't have to make this switch and that the ban is violating his rights.

Ashland Independent Superintendent Phil Eason said he doesn't agree with that. "When you compare putting some people at an inconvenience to threatening the life of another, there's no contest," he said.

Eason held a meeting last night to explain the importance of providing a safe environment for students to parents who may not understand the need for the ban.

Eason and school board member Patricia Hall said the decision to ban these products were made after consulting several area pediatricians and an allergy specialist. According to Eason, the medical professionals said that without a complete school ban, there would be at least one child who could not attend because of the severity of a peanut allergy.

Beth Miller, director of asthma, allergy and sinus clinics at the University of Kentucky, said a severe peanut allergy needs to be taken seriously because it can be fatal.

She said some people are so sensitive, they can have a reaction after touching another person who has eaten peanuts. Others feel sick after they eat or, in rare cases, breathe the vapor of a peanut product.

Eason said children with severe allergic reactions have epinephrine, a drug to treat the reaction, to be used if a child comes in contact with peanut products.

Eason, who said there are several who have the allergy, said if a child wants to attend school in his district, it's his job to make sure the child is safe.

Because peanut products, such as peanut oil, are found mixed in many foods, parent Gene Lebrun thinks the ban will be impossible to police.

"There is no way to enforce this unless he (the superintendent) plans to have a chemist set up to check lunches," Lebrun said. The ban "is not going to stop me from any habits that we have."

Eason said if someone intentionally violates the ban, action will be taken, but he didn't give specifics.

Although Hager Elementary isn't the first school in Kentucky to ban peanut products, it might be the only one that has created such an uproar.

Officials in the Russell Independent school district, which adjoins Hager Elementary, said they have had only one complaint since their ban was implemented several years ago.

"I don't know why there's a problem in Ashland," said Dennis Chambers, food-services director for the district. "I don't know what could be more important than trying to keep a child safe."

Hope Kelley, the mother of a peanut-allergic child at Russell Primary, said when her daughter was 2 years old, she gave her peanut butter. Her allergic reaction included swelling and hives. Some doctors told the mother that her daughter's next exposure could kill her. She said the peanut product ban eases her worries some.

"I don't think people understand how serious this can be, and my child is not the only one out there with this allergy," she said.

Some Fayette County schools also have similar peanut bans and restrictions, said Rachel Jones, Fayette County School food-services director.

Jones said Ashland Elementary in Lexington is under a complete peanut-product ban, while other schools have accommodations, such as a separate eating table for allergic students.

Jones said her office hasn't received any complaints.

Brad Hughes, spokesman for the Kentucky School Board Association, said he doesn't know why anyone would be against a peanut-product ban.

"It's not like they want to ban Nike sneakers in the school," he said. "They are doing it to protect the child's health, and that is hard to argue with."

Still, the problem remains that some Hager Elementary parents think a ban is too unreasonable and that other precautions would solve the problem.

Miller would not say whether she thinks the ban is really necessary, but she did say another option for a child with severe peanut allergies is for parents to pack a lunch and for teachers to make sure the child eats only what is packed, rather than monitoring what everyone in the school is bringing and eating for lunch.

On Aug 20, 2004

I wish that these idiotic people would list their phone numbers when they make public statements like this!

On Aug 21, 2004

Warning: I am highly irritated by this ranting might follow... Here we go with the vegetarian vs. peanut allergy bit again. Why do people confuse vegetarian with peanutarian? Vegetarians have many choices. It's not like our PA kids are allergic to EVERYTHING a vegetarian can have. It's just ONE STUPID LEGUME. Beth Miller sounds extremely informed, yes? (sarcasm). Those parents sound like real winners too... how proud they must be to be exposed to the nation via the newspaper as the bad***es who won't have their rights to peanut butter violated, by God, even if it kills a little kid. What small people! ok -- /rant !!

[This message has been edited by StaceyK (edited August 21, 2004).]

On Aug 21, 2004

momma2boys ~ not to be a stalker ~ but people are actually pretty easy to find if you look on google or, if they are listed. This is probably the Beth Miller mentioned: [url=""][/url] And, I checked the other people in the story, just to test it. They are listed in Ashland, KY, including phone numbers. **I would never call them, or recommend that to anyone, but - these people can be easily found.** I remember being upset and unhappy when I figured out that in my area a lot of mortgage and real estate details were availabe on line for all to view. In some cases they even post pictures and layouts of houses!

[This message has been edited by StaceyK (edited August 21, 2004).]

On Aug 21, 2004

Let's vote on it.

which "coined" term do ya'll prefer?

"peanemia" or "centrarachidecephalo dependency"?

all rights reserved. [img][/img] [img][/img] [img][/img]

On Aug 21, 2004

As far as finding people on the internet - I had another member here do a test for me. The member was not even on the same continent as I was. The person knew my first and last name (which everyone here does) and checked out one website. I was found within five minutes!

To me, all I really read was "My child can/will only eat peanut butter" but vegetarianism was added in there as though that was a sufficient reason.

In the Safe Snack and Lunch List, there are many sources of protein shown as alternatives to pb and I know, without even checking the list, that not all of them, if any, were meat products. So the vegetarian aspect was a crock of you know what as far as I'm concerned.

Also, as I've posted here, although we are meat eaters, I've always considered myself more like a vegetarian than a *regular* person - for example, I'd rather have pasta sauce without meat than have it with meat (I don't know if that's like saying someone is "a bit pregnant" or not).

And there are members here who are vegetarians.

So, that argument doesn't wash with me at all.

The only people I could hear that argument from and maybe perhaps place some weight to it are people whose traditional cuisines do have a lot of peanuts in them and you know what? Aside from Thai, I don't know if there are any around.

Best wishes! [img][/img]

On Aug 21, 2004

The following foods have approximately the same amount of protein as 2 tablespoons of peanut butter (1 serving of Meat & Alternatives):

1 oz. meat 1 oz. cheddar cheese 1 cup yogurt 1 cup Raisin Bran (Post) 1 cup milk

In fact, one slice of cheese pizza has almost two times the protein as 2 tablespoons of peanut butter.

(from the Safe Snack and Lunch List posted under Snacks, Recipes and also Schools - so that vegetarian argument for protein really doesn't fly, unless they are also avoiding milk products, which some vegetarians do, don't they?)

However, I do see much discussion re the same thing under Schools and I think I best just stay in this thread. [img][/img]

Best wishes! [img][/img]

On Aug 22, 2004

Alternative to Mainstream,

It is Vegans that avoid milk. They avoid all animal products so that would include dairy (and eggs). It was a vegan gentleman that gave me the idea to add corn syrup to my recipes instead of eggs as my son has an egg allergy [img][/img] It works quite well when used half and half with my starch egg replacer.

As for the parents' reactions, I am too stunned to comment. We had two children leave our school when the peanut ban came into effect because they had the "right" to PB sandwiches. It is unreal.

On Aug 22, 2004

smartalyk, thank-you. [img][/img]

I knew that there were some vegetarians that avoided eggs and milk but I wasn't sure what they were called anymore (I used to know but my brain has turned to mush lately).

So, out of the list that I posted above, a vegan child would only be able to substitute raisin bran for the appropriate amount of protein provided by pb.

Okay, is a vegan able to sub pb with sunbutter and soy butter like a lot of people on this site do?

To me, as long as there are substitutes for pb, like sunbutter and soy butter (and is there a tree nut ban as well or are they are to sub cashew butter or almond butter - I wouldn't be comfie with this in a "peanut free" classroom but that's just me). Do sunbutter, soy butter and the other tree nut butters provide an equivalent amount of protein?

Personally, I would think that vegans would have a very hard time, a very restricted diet, but then who I am to say right now when I couldn't even remember what they were called? [img][/img]

However, still, I do think that this gentleman could find ONE thing to replace his child's protein with for his lunch. To me, it still goes back to the argument of "but my child will only eat pb" with vegetarianism added.

Best wishes! [img][/img]

On Aug 24, 2004

Some of the other legume and seed butters provide more protein, but they tend to require sugar in order to be palatable. Some children can't have that extra sugar.

I'm vegetarian and allergic to peanuts and soy. I use sunflower butter (the soy-free one, of course), but my hypoglycemic husband must use other butters that don't have sugar added. He uses macadamia nut butter, cashew butter, or almond butter. Sunflower seed butter is too bitter and acrid when it's not sweetened.

Vegetarians don't eat meat or things made from meat. This includes gelatin, broth, fish (they're animals), seafood, etc. Many of us avoid cheeses made with rennet, also.

Some of us won't buy from companies which don't use sustainable farming practices. Some of us prefer to buy from local organic farmers.

Lacto-vegetarians will consume dairy products. Ovo-vegetarians will consume eggs. Lacto-ovo vegetarians will consume both. Vegans do not consume any animal products and generally do not use leather, wool, or products tested on animals. Some don't use honey, either.

Some vegetarians won't use certain brands of refined sugar since it is bleached using bone char. About one-quarter of the sugar in the US is refined with bone char.

I'm not strict about sugar since the bone char is *supposed* to come from animals which died of natural causes in third world countries. I do tend to only buy organic unbleached sugar, however. About half of the white sugar sold in the US is cane and half is beet. Only cane sugar is refined with bone chair and only about half of the white cane sugar sold in the US uses bone char in its processing. There are other methods which can be used.

I react to soy on contact. It's not allowed in our home at all.


By Taureaulee on Oct 22, 2010

I disagree with peanut-ban in any school.. I agree with banning in preschool and baby areas. This is a word with all kinds of dangers for our children and adults. What can we do as parents??? shall we place our kids in a bubble and prevent them from going places and letting them go to school? or do we as parents, teachers, educate our children to better prepare and protect our children. It would seem to me it is impossible to ban peanut completely.. like the other blogger said, the school would have to hire a chemist to verify all the food children bring in. Most of us adults grew up on peanut and banana sandwiches. I never met a person who was allergic to anything until I was an adult. I

By dennisccook on May 10, 2011


Thanks for your comment. As a parent of a boy who is highly allergic to peanuts, I have researched and learned the following things:

1) We cannot leave the safety of our children up to the school administration. We tried that and our son was sent to the ER due to a school project with peanut butter though the proper documentation was provided about his allergy.

2) Most of us adults did in fact grow up on pb sandwiches. But, today, as this video states ( there is no rhyme or reason for the overwhelming amount of children who are allergic. But the fact remains, they are. Just touching the oil from a peanut can kill a child. That alone should increase talks about protecting these children.

Pair the allergy with my son's asthma and excema, it is severely heightened to make the attacks quicker and more severe.

By HookwormIsHope on May 10, 2011

They need to look into the eye's of the children they are protesting against before they decide that we don't deserve a safe place to get an education.