A first-grader at Edgewater Elementary School in Florida has such an extreme peanut allergy that if she comes into contact with traces of peanut, she could die. Incredibly, rather than sympathizing with the girl, parents have held a protest to have her removed from the class and home-schooled.
According to My Fox Philly, parents are angry because administrators have implemented these changes:
Students must now wash their hands and rinse out their mouths before they can walk into their classroom.
Desks must be regularly wiped down with Clorox wipes.
All peanut products have been banned.
Snacks are no longer allowed in class.
Even outside food is no longer permitted for holiday parties.
Parent Carrie Starkey told Fox News, "On average, it's probably taking a good 30 minutes out of the day. That's my child's education. Thirty minutes could be a while subject."
School officials say that they're legally obligated to follow these steps because girl's allergy is so severe that it's considered a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Today a school spokeswoman told Reuters,
"That was one of the suggestions that kept coming forward from parents, to have her home schooled. But we're required by federal law to provide accommodations. That's just not even an option for us."
Click to view In this video, David Bailey, the girl's father, tells Fox News, "We've fought very hard to put certain things in place… to keep her alive… in school. She's already a cast-out. She can't do things that most kids can do."
Yet, some parents are still insisting that their children shouldn't be inconvenienced by the girl's allergy. The procedures are definitely annoying, but the girl has a legally-protected disability. Protesting necessary safety procedures is like complaining that a student on crutches holds the class up when they're walking down the hall. Many students have conditions that cause minor disruptions during class, and teachers work around them. Parents should be teaching their kids that it's important to help their classmate, but instead they're sending the message that it's okay to ostracize and harass people with disabilities.
School Peanut Allergy Rules Protested [My Fox Philly]
Amid Protest, Florida School Stands Behind Tough New Peanut Allergy Regulations [Fox News]
Peanut Allergy Issue Stirs Controversy At Florida School [Reuters]
Image via Nikola Bilic/Shutterstock.