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Posted on: Sat, 05/01/1999 - 5:25pm
Sue's picture
Joined: 02/13/1999 - 09:00

Thank you for "speaking up". I get soooo wordy! I cringe when I hear this "false sense of security" stuff.
I really fail to see why banning peanut products in school is so impossible.
Drugs have been banned at school, all the way down to asprin and tums, and these don't kill. What is wrong with saving a childs life?
Maybe we could put the school kids to a vote:
Would you be willing to eat your peanut butter sandwich before and after school to save your friends life?
What if all the adults that are fighting to keep peanut products in the schools are fighting for something that the kids would be willing to give up at school?
Sue in Sunny Arizona

Posted on: Mon, 05/03/1999 - 3:47am
Greg's picture
Joined: 01/16/1999 - 09:00

The thing that bothers me about this discussion is the either/or feelings in regard to a ban. Where is it written that we must make a choice of one and discard the other. As has been mentioned on this site many times before, allergies come in many different degrees of severity and what works for one may not work for another. It bothers me that the first words out of any FAN statement is " A ban gives a false sense of security". Their main job should not be undermining a parents attempts to keep their children safe. While we do not have a ban in our school at present, we do hold that option in reserve if our present plan proves insufficient. Of course when we mention this to anyone in school, their reply is " a ban provides a false sense of security". When we press for an explanation, they have none other than that's what FAN says. If we don't allow a false sense of security to form in our household(my wife and I double check each other on everything) what makes these people think we would let up our guard at school? Granted, there will always be some people who might, but we don't need the very people and organizations who are supposed to be supporting us dismissing an option that could work in some situations. We've got enough people already who dismiss our troubles.

Posted on: Mon, 05/03/1999 - 4:40am
EILEEN's picture
Joined: 04/06/1999 - 09:00

I agree completely. I was realy surprised when I first went to FAN to find that they weren't not even encouraging a ban. Some children may need a ban to be safe (and even then we all know it is merely reducing the risk because something can slip through - the only analogy I can think of
that the without a ban our kids are out on the busy freeway having to look out for all the cars and a ban creates a quiet country road but they still need to watch out for unexpected cars).
Chris is there any way peanutallergy.com could approach FAN and ask the reasons for their position? I'm wondering if FAN is wary of frightening off potential supporters by proposing ban in some cases.

Posted on: Mon, 05/03/1999 - 6:31am
SteveW's picture
Joined: 04/08/1999 - 09:00

The big question is with whom the "false sense of security" lies. The most unlikely place is with a knowledgeable parent aggressively managing the allergy.
Many people on this board have noted and been disappointed with their pediatrician's lack of knowledge regarding peanut allergy. Will the parents who are not fully informed as to the potential severity have a false sense of security with a ban? How about the teachers or caregivers, would they be any less diligent? How about the school nurse? Will a young child with peanut allergy be more likely to exchange food because the food is "safe"?
Are there comments on FAN's rational other than the "false sense of security" issue?

Posted on: Wed, 05/05/1999 - 6:01am
Chris PeanutAllergy Com's picture
Joined: 04/25/2001 - 09:00

Hello everyone,
I am glad you are posting your thoughts and opinions on this, it is an important issue.
I think most of us realize that nothing is ever 100% safe. I would like to have us discuss the "false sense of security" issue in more depth.
Yes, I have talked to Ann Furlong at the Food Allergy Network about FAN's position about banning. I have heard from many others who also have concerns about FAN's positions due to their funding and/or potential for financial support. I have mixed feelings on this.
I would like to hear your opinion on banning and not banning.
I like to use "reduce the risk" or "risk reduction". I do not think the word "ban" comes across correctly. It also gives opponents to risk reduction an opportunity to say "you cannot be sure you are 100% peanut free so therefore we cannot accommodate you".
I have told our school that if there are peanut products near my child to get her away from them and call me so I can take her home.
This let's them know how serious I am about keeping her safe and keeps a "seriousness" around it that they can understand. I don't do it to overreact etc. but we can discuss the children and the attitude we need them to learn in depth at another time.
I would like to see how having less of a dangerous substance around can make it more dangerous. For the politically correct, so we don't get distracted from the real issue: I am not saying that peanuts are a dangerous substance such as a chemical that is classified that way, this statement is just to express a way of thinking about it. I would also like us to discuss the "false sense of security" in more depth so everyone understands both sides of the argument.
Would the parents who let their guard down (or allow their schools to lower their guard) be the ones who are not educated enough about peanut allergy? If they did not know how to stay on their guard when a school banned peanuts, would they have done what is necessary if the school hadn't banned the peanuts? I am not here to blame the parents which the examples are from, this is to help us understand what we are up against and stimulate these discussions. Is it safer for the child who's parents do not understand the allergy yet to have more peanut products in the school than less?
If a school is reducing the risks by trying to keep peanut products out, are they likely to let their guard down while watching for peanut products on a daily basis?
Post your opinions and thoughts (or email them to me if you do not like to post). Explain any reasons you think there may be more or less reactions. I have heard that there have been reactions at schools where there are bans in place. I have heard this used as an example that bans do not work. I often wonder how many reactions there might have been if there was not a ban on peanut products there. I think it has a lot to do with how well a school is addressing peanut allergy. I would like everyone's opinion on the recommended plans from say, the Canadian's, FAN, etc. (please post how someone can view the example's your commenting on, ex. include a link in your post etc.)
I understand that there could be schools that let their guard down because they feel like the problem is under control (falsely) because they have banned peanut products. I don't think these schools will let their guard down if they were really educated about how to keep a peanut allergic child safe. I understand that there may still be accidental exposures no matter how cautious we are, that is why a plan must be in place (and we all carry epinephrine at all times, DON'T WE!!!).
I look forward to discussing this as it will help in our pursuit to make schools safer for the children with peanut allergy. It is good to hear the comments like the ones posted above. This forum allows us to inform each other, as we organize the information so others can access it and add their comments as well. I also would like everyone to realize that we hear from many people who take care of their children, it is not just parents. I used this to speak about everyone who takes care of their children, foster parents, grandparents,...
Talk to you soon.
Stay Safe,

Posted on: Wed, 05/05/1999 - 9:59pm
Christine's picture
Joined: 02/03/1999 - 09:00

Okay, this is how I feel *today* about the statement that a peanut ban causes a "false sense of security."
If a parent relies on the school to become "peanut free" (and many parents will leave it up to the school) then you have an administration in place that is your filter for peanuts. As we all know, the "administration" in most cases is undereducated and lacking real concern for this allergy. So, we have this group of people constantly monitoring the flow of food into the school or daycare center. If a parent was to put their faith in this working, I think that is a disaster. I mean there are many products that do not contain peanuts or do not have the "may contain" statement that I still would not give my son. Somehow, I don't think the school is going to take it that seriously. For me, if a ban is in place I still could not relax and would still have to put my "rules" in place because I don't trust ANYONE enough. Essentially, the ban would not give me comfort. I do think a ban does filter out the real obvious sources of peanuts, and that in itself would allow for some risk reduction. But I think the risks would increase on the other items where peanuts are not so obvious. I think it is better, in the daycare center and grades K-3, to get just a peanut butter ban and then restrict your child's snacks yourself (not giving permission for them to eat school provided snacks).
I also believe that totally banning a particular food causes resentment in the community and that would really go against us. I know many of you compare having peanuts in the class to a having a loaded gun in the class and it is; however, peanut is not the ONLY food that can cause anaphalaxis. We recently had a little girl in our area die at a daycare center because she ingested milk. While this type of stuff is rare (as is the peanut allergy), when you start "banning" for one group, you will have to ban for all groups. I'm afraid that after awhile, there won't be any food permitted in school! So, I think that an all-out ban can cause many problems, although, at times, I think I want it for my son. Tough issue.

Posted on: Wed, 05/12/1999 - 7:50pm
Lizbet's picture
Joined: 05/13/1999 - 09:00

Well i personnally feel that peanuts and other nuts should be banned from schools at least until high school.
I have a 8 year old severly allergic to peanuts and other nuts even the smell of peanuts makes her have a reaction that she must be taken to the hospital and she's had reactions at school before.
Drugs are illegal because they say that they can kill kids and they can but peanuts might kill my daughter a whole lot faster then the drugs will.
So yes in my opinion it should be banned and schools should be more aware and informed about peanut allergies.

Posted on: Wed, 06/16/1999 - 7:13am
EILEEN's picture
Joined: 04/06/1999 - 09:00

Chris, you mentioned that you had discussed this issue with FAN. Can you give us more details of the real reasoning behnid their position? Is the organization aware that many/most/if-not-all parents of peanut-allergic children would want a ban? Do they care? I am concerned that FAN's position on this considered the final word.

Posted on: Thu, 06/17/1999 - 3:57am
Lidia's picture
Joined: 04/25/1999 - 09:00

My son is peanut allergic, so YES I would like a ban at school. That said, what about the kids allergic to milk, etc. Those parents would be up there so fast crying descrimination - and they would be right. What are the stats on anaphylaxis regarding comparisons to peanut and milk. Is there a much larger risk due to peanut exposure than milk or eggs?
I was told my a student advocate, no less, if your son can't touch or smell peanuts than he can't be in the room with the other kids. She said it so coldly. When I questioned her about unlocking the cabinet where the epipens are she said what difference will a few minutes make! I related to her what my allergist told me.. He said there are certain individuals so sensitive that even if they were exposed in an emergency room they still wouldn't make it...So I said minutes DO make a difference when it is your child! I was so depressed after talking to her.
Chris, as for eating in the hallway. I do not want my child eating alone, in fact I want him in the caferteria with all the other 5 yr olds. I am not sure if he will be able to be there. (I have been asking if there is a test for airborne sensitivity?) I think that is part of the school experience. It is when the social aspect of school comes in.
I just don't think a ban is realistic school by school. If it is done by a federal standard then maybe, otherwise our children will be ostracised. If a ban were in place I still would not allow food sharing and I would always have a "treat box" there for special parties. It wouldn't let my guard down with ingestion, but it would make me feel a bit safer regarding cross contamination on desks, etc.

Posted on: Fri, 06/18/1999 - 9:07am
Connie B's picture
Joined: 06/18/1999 - 09:00

I have been fighting with a Coloardo school board for 3 years now. They added peanut butter sandwiches to the menu about then and made my daughers life miserable. They had my daughter sit apart,out of the cafeteria for awhile but we made them put her back in the cafeteria. Her self-estem (even with a friend sitting with her) went into the trash can. She felt she was being punished for something she could not control.
The school board has mentioned FAN's position. I don't care what FANS position is they DO NO respresent me. Who ever runs FAN obviously has never had a child with a peanut allergy. My daughter knows it's not a question of if the next reaction will occur, but rather when it will occur.
I have asked the school board for three changes:
1.stop serving peanut products (cross contamination).
2.enfore peanut free table in each cafeteria.
3. allow a child to carry the EPI pen.
To date they have refused. The struggle to educate goes on.


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