A new blog post came to my attention yesterday. It’s titled “12 Reasons Why Peanut Free Schools Are Not Okay.” I hesitated to read it because even the title told me I would disagree with the contents of the post. I now hesitate to link to it for the fear that it gives the writer more page views.
However, as the mom of a child with multiple food allergies (including peanuts), I just cannot let this post live without a response. It is unfair to those in the food allergy community to let something so negative stand without someone standing up for them. That said, I won’t respond to each of the points individually, mainly because that would require a post the length of a novel like, say, Moby Dick.
Instead, I would like to point out a few things to the writer of this heinous post.
You refer to adaptation and survival throughout your post. Let me ask you a question: do you think I don’t understand the need to adapt to survive? Do you think your veiled references to the Survival of the Fittest are lost on me—as if I’d never heard that argument about my CHILD before? I have to wonder if, as you continue to refer to the need to adapt to survive, you might be one of those who would agree with Richard Dawkins’ statement that mothers who carry babies with Down Syndrome are morally obligated to abort their babies for the good of society? No? Reprehensible, you say? Perhaps you should take a step back and look at your own post through my eyes. Thank GOD Dawkins had enough moral fiber in his being to apologize for his awful statement.
Your right to nuts ends where my son’s life begins. You talk a lot about your right to feed your child sugar- and calorie-filled peanut butter. And yet you do not for one second in the midst of your tirade consider that sometimes fighting for your rights may make you a hero, but do you want to be a hero to a group of people that cannot understand living in community?
Reading your post reminds me to be so very thankful for my friends. See, where I come from, we do live in a community. We do take responsibility for the other children within our reach. It might be a little old school to you, but if my son needs help or correction from our community, he gets it. We fully believe in accountability. We believe in living in a full, vibrant, welcoming community, not as solitary islands. Life gets lonely when you try to live as an island.
You might want to branch out and see what it’s like to live in a community. It’s lovely. Yes, my son will eventually go out into the world and navigate it on his own. And any one of my friends would be able to tell you he is capable of such a feat. But, just as you likely put little plugs in your outlets when your children were toddlers until they learned not to touch for fear of electric shock, it’s a learning process that slowly earns my son more freedom and responsibility every day.
“Special Needs Kids” need not apply? Your Point #7 is maybe the worst of all:
Not a single other student should be accommodating for another child’s inability to meet basic expectations and requirements of being in a public, social environment.
Let’s go over that again.
No normal, healthy child should ever have to lower their bar of standards to accommodate another child’s inability to meet a ‘basic set bar of expectation.’
No normal, healthy child should ever have to remove from their diet foods that are healthy and beneficial to their growth and well-being simply because another child’s body cannot handle a specific food.
No child (or adult for that matter) should ever have adults in position of leadership and high influence telling them that they may not have or do something that is healthy and beneficial to their growth, learning and well-being because they MUST accommodate for another child’s lack of health and well-being.
This sends a terrible message to normal and healthy children that kids with ‘special’ needs (whatever those needs may be) are more important than they are and that accommodating ‘special’ health needs at the healthy child’s expense is ok.
Let me get this straight. My son isn’t “normal” because he’s covered by Section 504 of the Americans with Disabilities Act? Uh oh. If that’s the case, then you *must* be recommending that we remove all wheelchair ramps, tutoring for kids with learning disabilities, longer test times for those with test-taking anxiety, and Special Education programs.
I’ll clarify with you, my son *isn’t* “normal” and do you know why? Because he’s an incredible human being with a bright brain, a compassionate heart, he’s a tumbling junkie, a national karate champion, and the top popcorn salesman in his Cub Scout Pack two years running. Even if he weren’t all of those things. Even if he wasn’t in accelerated math. Even if he wasn’t reading multiple grade levels above his own. He still wouldn’t be your definition of “normal.” Why do I say that? Because my sense is that your definition of “normal” fits somewhere in the Mean Girls genre.
You and I are not completely at odds. My son has multiple food allergies that are dangers to him every day, so a peanut-free school would not completely solve our problems. But as I mentioned earlier, it’s less about the subject matter and far more about the condescending tone you used in your argument.
Individuals living a life with food allergies are strong survivors. They have learned to adapt. They have learned to work within the environment given. They have learned to be friends to others, extending kindness and compassion to others both “normal” and with challenges. And they have learned that not all people are willing to do the same for them.
I’m sorry that you fall into that last category.