I’m saddened that Fairfield-Suisun School District appears to put economic concerns ahead of those for students’ lives. A July 11 Daily Republic article (District to Eye Peanut-Free Classrooms) stated that trustees said a districtwide policy prohibiting peanut products couldn’t be enforced. Also, Fairfield schools served 183,000 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches this year.
As the grandparent of two children with the most severe form of peanut allergy, I empathize with Mr. Bud Nobili, who expressed concerns to the school board about the safety of his 4-year-old grandson when he begins kindergarten in the district. The principal’s recommendation was to have my grandson sit alone in a separate table in the cafeteria. His parents assured the principal that it was not an acceptable solution.
The school nurse provided a letter for the parents of my grandson’s classmates to alert them to his life-threatening condition. The letter asked that children not bring peanut products for lunch or snacks. Parents and classmates were very cooperative. Occasionally a parent and the teacher forgot the request.
At school the Epi-pen is locked away in the principal’s office. The school nurse rotates among schools. Which school staff would train to administer the shot? Precious minutes and life could be lost if a child suffers anaphylactic shock.
How does the school board know that a districtwide peanut-free policy cannot be enforced? Did district staff research the issue? What if a school board member’s child or grandchild were affected by a life-threatening food allergy? Children have died from exposure. I believe the real issue is that 183,000 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches were served in schools. How much money would the school district save as opposed to switching to another food?
Relying on a site-by-site approach is not a viable option. Children’s lives will continue to be at risk without a districtwide policy prohibiting peanut products.