Thursday, July 9, 2009

No-Nonsense No-Nuts policy

A news article was posted today announcing that the Las Virgenes Unified School District board has adopted new policies surrounding peanut allergies that should bring a sigh of relief to many parents of peanut-allergic children in this area west of Los Angeles, California.

According to a local online paper, There were safety standards in place for some schools within the district, and these have now been extended to all of the schools in the area. From the article …

For starters, if a highly allergic student attends an LVUSD school, all parents will be asked not to bring items in a particular food group— say peanuts—to the school.

As well, substitutions will be made in school breakfasts, lunches and other food provided after school or during field trips.

If you don’t live within the area and are concerned about sending your peanut-allergic child to school in September, let me encourage you to start a dialogue with the school administration as early as possible and in a calm manner. Don’t expect to dictate your concerns to them, as this is definitely the wrong way to go about it. We found that offering assistance, as well as being available for questions from staff, is the best approach.

If you want a copy of a letter that Krystyne made that can be distributed to parents, you can download a copy (pdf file) here. It outlines anaphylactic symptoms and alternative choices for peanut-free snack ideas as well. The principal at our boys’ school has asked to include it in their official policies package for this September.


  1. I appreciate your concerns but our school recently started a no nuts policy. I agree with no nuts tables but to ban any type of nut from the entire campus seems unfairly extreme especially in these economic times when peanut butter is an inexpensive protein that many children will actually eat. What are we teaching our children when a policy like that is decided without any input from the parents?

  2. Thank you for your comment.

    I can certainly understand the economic benefits of peanut butter - when I recently took a friend to the food bank she was given 3 jars. And I can sympathize with finicky eaters, but there are alternatives like cheese spreads or cream cheese. Our finicky second child often has these as staples in his lunchbox.

    However, unlike other food allergies - which are triggered through ingestion or contact - there is an airborne component to peanut allergies. Simply being in te same room where peanut butter is being eaten - or even playing with a classmate after they have eaten peanut butter - CAN be enough to send some children into anaphylactic shock. And because the allergy is caused by a protein, it can nit be cleaned off with antibacterial hand sanitizer.

    That said, I do not agree with the school simply pushing through a policy without first alerting the parents and allowing dialogue.