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Navigating Nut Allergies In The Classroom

OPB | Jan. 27, 2014 12:25 p.m. | Updated: Jan. 27, 2014 1:46 p.m.

Sean Kelly via Flickr, Creative Commons

Grazia Cunningham has asked other parents of children in her son’s first grade classroom not to pack peanut butter — or any other nut products — in their kids’ lunches. She made the request because her seven-year-old son has a severe nut allergy that could be life threatening. If he eats anything containing nuts it could cause him to go into anaphylactic shock.

Cunningham is especially concerned because her son attends the Beverly Cleary School’s Hollyrood campus, where students eat in their classrooms rather than a cafeteria. She says parents and teachers in her son’s class have been accommodating, but she hasn’t gotten the same level of cooperation from the Portland Public School (PPS) district. The district is still serving Uncrustables peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to students in her son’s classroom, despite her requests to find an alternative.

The Nutrition Services Director for PPS says the district has taken appropriate steps to ensure classroom safety for children with severe allergies, and it will continue to serve Uncrustables because the sandwiches are a familiar staple that keep kids from going hungry at lunchtime.

Do you suffer from a severe food allergy? Does your child? How have you handled these issues?

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