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To Ban or Not To Ban...That is the Question

Posted Jan 14 2009 8:46pm
Want to start a fight among parents? Mention a peanut ban. Boy, do some people get animated about this discussion!

We are only navigating the scary waters of a nut-free preschool this year but I know many of you are dealing with older children. The subject of the peanut ban has been all over the Internet in the last few weeks. More schools are passing them and more and more people are angry.

Why all the upset? The reason is rather obvious: a lack of education and understanding. I admit (in a little embarrassed way) that I had no idea how life-threatening food allergies could be a few years ago. I remember about ten years ago when I heard that some airlines were discontinuing peanuts due to allergies. I couldn't understand why these people couldn't just eat something else. I mean, really, how picky can you be?

When I hear of parents in an uproar over a peanut ban, I remind myself they were like me not too many years ago. I would never be as hateful as some of these people can be. But, I was certainly uneducated in the food allergy arena.

When I hear of someone that is upset over these things, I try to remind myself how lucky they are. Yep, it's hard when they are saying things that scare me to my core for my PA kid. Yet, they have never had to live with EpiPens, ER visits, countless allergy tests, and a fear that never, ever goes away.

I'm not sure how I feel about peanut bans. Well, if I had my way, I would ban peanuts from the planet. But, do I want Tyler singled out for a policy that angers so many parents? And ultimately the kids he goes to school with everyday?

Really, those minor issues don't matter. His safety does. But so does his emotional well-being.

You might be surprised to know that The Food Allergy & Anaphylactic Network doesn't support bans. They advocate teaching children to protect themselves, just like they will in the "real world." I get that logic.

But, if pressed, I'm gonna have to say I'm for these bans. Children being unable to eat PB&J is OK with me. Sure, I ate them. But I'm pretty sure my mom did a good enough job raising me that, if I had not been allowed to eat an occasional PB&J, I'd still be the same emotionally adjusted (with a few neurotic moments thrown in for good measure) that I am now.

I'm curious what those of you out there think. I'm sure most of you support the bans. But, will you let your child attend a school without one? Will you push for one? Will it greatly increase your anxiety?
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