I was happy to see this new law that allows schools to stock epinephrine autoinjectors and administer them to students having an allergic reaction. The law will protect students who don't have their own, such as students who are undiagnosed and students who for whatever reason, don't have an auto-injector at their disposal.
Despite this law, though, I'm still troubled because an epinephrine autoinjector isn't a guarantee of reversing a reaction once it starts. For a severely allergic person, an allergic reaction is like a runaway train. No one knows how fast it will move or how far it will go. What I'd like to see is more proactivity with regard to preventing allergic reactions in schools.
That means less food in the classroom, less food-focused events and less push back from parents who demand that cupcakes in the classroom are a more important than anything.
Every student has a right to an education, to their health and to a safe school environment. Yes, epinephrine in schools is a huge help and this law will save lives. Many adults now develop allergies later in life, so even teachers or other school staff may personally benefit from access to epinephrine. But life-saving medication only one piece of the puzzle. Let's stop the allergic reactions from happening in the first place.
It's relatively easy to do. But lately I'm hearing about so much push back, push back, push back. I'm sorry you feel your child will "suffer" without frequent cupcake consumption in the classroom or restaurant food for parties. But these items are not part of the curriculum and frankly, it's gone way too far. I have little memory of constant food being pushed my way when I was in school. When did we decide that kids need to eat every 15 minutes or they will "suffer"?
With back-to-school time headed our way (and many across the country already in school) I've heard so many stories of schools pushing back with regard to making classrooms safer. And I'm talking reasonable requests like limiting the number and type of snacks in the classroom and making parties less about food and more about activities. I'm talking schools refusing to supply an allergic student with a safer lunch table that will allow them to have a meal without threat of allergic reaction. No peanut bans, no food bans, just safe areas to eat and learn. That's what will prevent a reaction. And yet, schools don't want to do it. Why?
It's time for schools to stop letting peanut butter, milk or any food become more important that education or kids' health. Teachers have enough to worry about and school nurses have never been in such short supply. Let's make it easier on everyone by limiting food in the classroom and focusing on learning. School should be about learning and not eating outside of meal times. Let's try prevention first, treatment with epinephrine, second.