A six-year-old Florida girl whose peanut allergy qualifies her for protection under the American with Disabilities Act is causing quite a stir in her first grade classroom due to precautions the school must take for her safety, and the parents of her classmates aren’t happy. They’ve asked that the girl be removed and home schooled because of the inconvenience to them and their children.
Life Threatening Allergy
The unidentified student has a life-threatening allergy to peanuts and the school is required by law to accommodate her needs, which includes having her classmates wash their hands before entering the room in the morning and again after lunch. The children are also instructed to rinse their mouths after lunch and a peanut-sniffing dog was employed to check the classroom during the recent spring break.
District Obligations Vs. Disgruntled Parents
Nancy Walt, a spokesperson for the Volusia County School District, plans to meet with the concerned parents this week to discuss the precautions, the district’s obligations under the law and to dispel rumors.
But parent Charlie Burr is not happy. His wife has protested at the school’s campus and he feels that the girl’s parents should not expect other parents to go through the frustrations of accommodating another child’s disability.
What Do You Think?
As a former teacher, I am aware that accommodating children with special needs sometimes impacts other kids in the classroom, but in the real world, we are often called upon to make adjustments in our lives for co-workers, neighbors, friends and family, so why should school be any different? In fact, shouldn’t one of the functions of school be to teach children to get along with others even when it’s inconvenient?
And is ensuring the physical safety of someone else’s child really an inconvenience? The child in question is at risk of a life-threatening reaction and is it really that difficult to make a few adjustments for the well-being of another person’s child? Or have we reached a point in our society where the welfare of others must take a back seat when we are asked to step up and sacrifice even the smallest amount?
Photo credit: Nut Free Zone by AndWat