At least once a week I have the same nightmare that Cormac is on the school bus and another kid is chasing him with a PB&J sandwich. He's pinned in the corner with no way to escape, and no help because the bus driver doesn't see it or doesn't care. He's not even two yet and I'm having anxiety about this! On Monday night I had this dream again. I wake up the next day to two articles (one from CNN the other from MSMBC ) about about food allergies and bullying.
It's been the talk of the allergy websites, blogs and online support groups, so I won't be surprised if you've read them. I actually posted the CNN article on our Facebook page as soon as I read it yesterday. We had some great sharing going on there. Since Mac is sick, this is the 1st chance I've had to sit down and write about it.
I was in tears off and on all day yesterday. I even called my husband crying because I couldn't believe how bad this really is. It has justified my dreaming fears, and brought them to life. I hate this! With everything these kids will have to go through, they have to fear that other kids will assault them with food! Not a gun or a knife, but with food. It's strange for me to say that food is a real weapon, but it is. What's worse is that there are teachers and school officials out there who tease these kids or don't take these threats seriously. I m not saying all teachers or even the majority are this ignorant. I know some amazing teachers out there who do every thing for there kids. They go above and beyond everyday.
My next question is why do these kids think this is ok? Are they learning this at home, at school or what? Why aren't the adults in their lives more aware, and educated? Little kids may not understand but the older ones know. There needs to be consequences for these acts no matter what the age. Of course they should be age appropriate. You're not going to arrest a 5 year old for assault. But a lesson needs to be learned. The question is how do you teach it and make it real to people who don't know or get it?
Like most food allergy advocates and parents say, we need to star with education. We need to stand up for our children and teach them how to stand up for themselves. We need to teach their peers about the seriousness of this, as well as educate the other parents, and teachers.
I feel really lucky that Cormac already has a group of friends who he will be going to school with, as well as other friends he may not share a school with but will share his life with. They will be growing up together with my son and his allergies. They will be educated and so will their parents. Their parents already take care to make sure he is safe. The more people in your community that understand, the safer our kids are. Don't pass up the opportunity to talk to people. Get involved with your child's school as much as possible. Most important be there for your kids. They may not always be able to handle this no matter how old they are.