One of our readers asks: “I have never had a problem with peanut allergies with my students, but a friend just ran into it for the first time in a VBS. She used something with peanut butter for a prize, and had an irate mother. What do you do about this problem? Is this something we should think about before using ANYTHING with peanuts/ peanut oil, etc? Or is it the parent’s obligation to notify us of any allergy?”
In most cases, a parent’s obligation to notify the school of such an allergy really doesn’t even come into play. The parents we read about while researching the subject were all very active in making sure that everyone who might come into contact with their child knew of the allergy. A child with the allergy can break out in hives when exposed to peanuts or peanut products, and in the most extreme cases can suffocate and die as their airways collapse. In many schools peanut products are actually banned from the building, and in others they are banned from the classroom of the affected child. Peanut allergies are more common in children. If you are considering using any kind of peanut product in the same building where you teach, take the time to consider the repercussions it may have.
Ask your students and their parents if there are any allergies you should be aware of. We also recommend letting the parents of all the students in your room know about the allergy so they may do their part in keeping peanut products out of the classroom. Many teachers post a notice on the classroom door as a reminder for anyone who might enter the room.
For more information, check out these links:
There are even multiple online forums (many here at Yahoo! Groups) for trading info on peanut allergies.