At the beginning of the school year, a note came home with my daughters stating that an unnamed fellow schoolmate with a severe peanut allergy could not be in the same room with peanut products. Wow. That's a serious allergy. And my lunch preparations were seriously cramped.
I struggled at first with the fairness of administration banning every kid in the school from eating peanut butter. It's not like a prohibition on anchovies. Who snacks on anchovy and jelly sandwiches? Or celery sticks with anchovy paste slathered down the middle? A ban on anchovies I could handle. But peanuts? Peanut butter is a staple in our house, as I'm sure it is in many families' homes.
After a few weeks of complaining under my breath as I prepared tuna or egg salad or sliced turkey sandwiches, I started thinking about the issue from the perspective of the mother of the allergic child. She has just as much—if not more—trouble trying to come up with healthy, safe lunches for her allergic son or daughter. And is it really such an awful thing to ask that her baby be allowed to attend school without threat of anaphylactic shock? A child shouldn't have to face death just because another kid likes PB and J. The convenience of sending my girls to school with peanut butter sammies is not worth a stint in the slammer for involuntary manslaughter.
The other day, I read a news article about a parent revolt in Florida. They want the lone child with a severe peanut allergy who attends their kids' school to stay at home and let the rest of the students eat in peace. Now I'm all confused again. It does seem a little crazy to prevent everyone from eating peanut products and to make the teachers supervise an extra 10–20 minutes of hand-washing and mouth-rinsing for the sake of ONE child. On the other hand, it doesn't seem fair to banish a student just because s/he was born with an allergy. What do you think? And then tell me how I should think, 'cause I'm swinging back and forth here.
Dinner last night: spinach salad with steak and steamed potatoes