Should This Be Banned In Schools?

This morning, I had a hot date with my treadmill. We spent a glorious 38 minutes together, completing this sweaty walking workout while I simultaneously read through all of your comments from last night’s Lunchbox Dinner post.

I’ve got to tell ya…all of your comments really got me thinking about a few different things. First of all, there are a lot of classic lunchbox snacks that I had either totally forgotten about, or were super excited to see that you enjoyed them too. Some of the “super processed” favorites:

  • Dunkaroos
  • Gushers
  • Nutty Bars
  • Zebra cakes
  • Cosmic brownies
  • Oatmeal cream pies
  • Lunchables (<—a conversation about these actually occurred in Philly this weekend with Gabriela and Julie)
  • Cheetos (puffy or crunchy)
  • Dipsy Doodles
  • Crackers & cheese with the red spreading stick
  • Ssips juice boxes

What else am I missing?

*****

But more so than just the snacks, there was something else I noticed as I read through all of your comments; a common theme amongst almost all of you:

Peanut butter sandwiches are a lunchbox favorite.

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So this got me thinking even more…

Should peanut butter be banned in schools?

It’s no secret that nut allergies seem to be on the rise, and many schools have begun adopting a “nut free zone” within their buildings.

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In the last school that I worked in, ALL peanut products were banned. This meant (obviously) no peanut butter, no home baked goods, and no processed snacks that could be made in a facility that used nuts were allowed. Students were provided with a “nut free” snack list, which provided a number of choices that students could bring that were deemed “safe.”

source

On the flip side, I also used to work in another school, which went about the nut allergy issue a little differently. Their policy was that, if a student brought in a lunch that contained peanut butter, they had to send in a note along with it. Those students that had peanut butter were then all seated together at the same table at lunch, so that the peanut butter could be confined to one specific area within the cafeteria.

So…where do you stand?

Should the nutritious, former lunchbox staple be banned from schools for the sake of those with nut allergies?

Should students be allowed to bring in peanut products as long as they are kept confined to a small area?

I’ll be curious to see what you all think!

*****

Personally, I’m somewhat on the fence, but I definitely lean more towards allowing peanut butter. Because boy, I’ll tell ya, it was hard not being able to eat my beloved PB in the mornings! Plus, I wouldn’t have been able to enjoy a delicious breakfast like the one I made today…

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Banana Bread Buckwheat Bowl anyone? Smile

Last week before I left for HLS, I made a killer loaf of banana bread for hubby to enjoy while I was away. When I returned on Sunday, would you believe that the loaf was still sitting on the counter, wrapped up exactly how I had left it and completely untouched?!

Last time I make him baked goods with love before I leave. Winking smile

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Hey, no big deal. That meant more for me to use today.

Banana Bread Buckwheat Bowl

Toppings:

  • 2 tbsp PB2
  • 1/2 piece crumbled banana bread

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Thoroughly enjoyed with a hot mug of coffee.

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Deeeelish.

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Okay, I think I’ve already talked your ear off enough this morning, so I’ll just end by saying to be sure you chceck back this afternoon because there mayyyy be a fun little giveaway happening.

Just sayin’. Winking smile

Question for the Morning:

WOULD YOU RATHER (going with the theme)…

Have peanut butter banned in schools -OR- have peanut butter allowed in schools?

Comments

  1. says

    I think if a child has a dangerous allergy to peanuts, the only safe option is a ban.

    Is it just me or are a lot of American kids allergic to peanuts? I had never really heard of it before until I worked at an American summer camp (I’m Irish), where there was a ‘peanut butter table’.
    Aine @ Something to Chew Over recently posted..Brownie Cake

  2. Brigid says

    I have three school aged children and believe peanut butter should NOT be banned in schools nor should those who eat it be isolated. The preschool my children went to made kids with peanut butter sit at a separate table and then walk to the bathroom with their hands in the air to scrub after eating. I felt they were treated like they had the plague. Their elementary school has peanut-free tables at lunch in which kids with allergies sit with anyone else with peanut-free lunches. This seems to work well. All the classrooms are peanut free and therefore snacks eaten in the classroom must be as well. I’m fine with that.
    When I grew up, no one was allergic to peanuts. Now it’s so common. I think we should be looking at why this is the case.

    • Paige says

      I was thinking the same thing! I’m 24 and I don’t remember EVER meeting anyone with a peanut allergy…where are all these allergies coming from?

      • says

        Right? It’s so strange to me to hear all of these kids with peanut allergies, it’s become an epidemic. I’m 29 – when I was in school I did not know a single person with a nut allergy.

        Now, it’s so commonplace that we have to have discussions like this one. I find it strange and disturbing.
        Samantha @ Running and Cupcakes recently posted..Monday Love (Day 26)

  3. says

    Peanut Butter in Schools. In the two schools I have worked in – there have been different policies, Currently.. there is NO policy about peanut butter. Last year I had one student allergic – but it was ingestion .. so I just had to make sure he didn’t eat them!

    In the first school I worked in – in grades where there were peanut allergy – there was a peanut allergy table in the cafe. So – students who had the allergy had to sit at a special table. They could choose one friend each day. I kind of felt like the students with the allergy were being ostracized for something that was really beyond their control.

    Mama Pea just did a post about SSB – and how it is a great alternative to use if you want your child to have nut butter in a peanut free school.

    I don’t think PB should be banned – but there needs to be a better way of dealing with the allergy – aka not segregating those with the allergy!

  4. says

    I’m just imagining this post-apocalyptic society where all the PB eaters are quarantined from the PB-Allergic folks and forced to wear different color clothing and sit at different tables. And that just breaks my heart.

    I vote it is NOT banned, and also not segregated. I know that folks can be allergic but… I don’t know, there’s something about that idea that is making me feel very sad for future generations of non-nut butter eaters.
    Jordan @ food, sweat, and beers recently posted..Airports: The Great Equalizers

  5. says

    Definitely NOT have peanut butter banned in schools. Think about all the poor little kiddos that aren’t allergic to nuts who can’t have their PB&J everyday! Peanut butter is too great of a thing to be banned. Plus, it eliminates an easy, staple food for kids. To have them isolated is completely understandable because I recognize so many kids are allergic to nuts these days. (I wonder why so many are allergic now, by the way? Interesting…)
    Ashley@MyFoodNFitnessDiaries recently posted..To Be A Kid Again…

  6. says

    Ohhh processed foods. This is a topic I have way too much knowledge about! haha. Poptarst? Ho hos? Twinkies? Shark Bites? I could go on and on.

    I’m torn with this one…I was actually thinking about it the other day and now I can’t remember why. I’m an over-cautious person, especially when it comes to children. Peanut allergies are very serious, and can cause death. I don’t think there’s a point in risking it, so I don’t see the harm in banning peanut butter. Children could still have it after school – it’s not like they wouldn’t have it their lives…
    Jamie aka “Sometimes Healthy” Girl recently posted..Cheesesteaks Don’t Need Steak: Lessons Learned at HLS

  7. says

    If there is a chance that a child could die because they have come in contact with peanut butter then yes, it absolutely should be banned.

    No one’s love of peanut butter should outweigh the life of a child.

  8. says

    This is a tough one. I am not a parent, so I do to know what it is like to worry about your kiddos and their allergen safety. I would go with no peanut butter. School is only until roughly 3:30 pm and after that point, or in the morning before school peanut butter can be consumed. I would just be so sad to see some little kid have an allergic reaction and be sick…because I know what that is like, not fun!
    Claire recently posted..Who Does Murphy Think He Is? What A Terrible Law!

  9. says

    I saw allow pb.. tough decision but I think the majority of the kids do not have an allergy and those who do are aware of it and will avoid it. Most children have an allergy to something and banning pb would be like banning gluten.. If your child has a specific or dangerous allergy I say prepare their own lunch to take. That way you don’t have to worry about the school lunch containing the ingredient/s that are harmful to your child.. and your prepared lunch is most likely healthier anyhoo.
    Candice recently posted..The final countdown

  10. says

    I don’t think it should be banned at all …there are more people who are NOT allergic to pb than people who are. I like the idea that the kids bring a note with them and then sit together. I ate and still do eat pb all the time! And I honestly think that a pb and j sandwich can be so much healthier than processed lunch meat, lunchables, or even the cafeteria food!
    Lindsay@ In Sweetness and In Health recently posted..Morning Hunger

  11. says

    As a huge PB lover my response may be bias…
    I do not think it should be banned ever. Here is my thought the majority of people do not have a deadly allergy to peanut butter and a little care and attention on everyone’s behalf will make sure everyone wins. Make sure the school, teacher, classmates and their parents know of the child’s allergy and take necessary steps to allow the child with the allergy not to be in danger – wash hands and desks, don’t share/swap lunches etc. Maybe on class treats days PB treats are avoided. All those little things add up.
    In the case a child is deathly allergic I still do not think banning PB is the right response. Their whole life they will always have to deal with this allergy and society will not cater to them – they will still be in many public areas where their may be nuts – food courts, potlucks, special events, restaurants etc, and you do not see restaurants banning PB. I think it would be up to the parent to make the choice on how to handle a extreme allergy like this – does the child come home for lunch? or is home schooling the answer? Educate the child as well, make sure they know the severity.
    Only my thoughts. But again it may be bias and since I do not have any allergies I do not know what it is like.
    Lindsey recently posted..It’s A Hot One!

    • says

      You bring up great points Lindsey, and I agree with you.

      I don’t think your opinion is bias at all – all of your examples really drive your point home, there is really no avoiding it short of keeping your child home all the time, and we all know that’s not the proper way to handle it.
      Samantha @ Running and Cupcakes recently posted..Monday Love (Day 26)

  12. says

    Your breakfast looks delicious! I like the idea of sending a note with the student who brings a PB sammie if they attend a nut free school. I cannot imagine not being able to send my kids (if/when we have them:P) to school without a classic fave though! My, how times have changed.
    Kimberly recently posted..Vacations Begin & End With Cocktails

  13. says

    I dont think peanut butter should be banned. It’s a few kids who have the allergy, so they should do something to make those kids safer, that doesn’t affect the rest of the kids. No baked goods or anything that could have touched nuts? That is extreme. There aren’t pb bans anywhere else, so allergic kids need to learn how to deal with their allergy! That’s what school is for :)
    Girl in the pink recently posted..In a Funk

  14. says

    What I am always curious about is: where were these raging peanut allergies in the 90s? I don’t recall ever having a friend or classmate with a severe peanut allergy, I don’t recall there ever being an incident of allergic reaction in the lunchroom…why all of a sudden is there some enormous population of children deathly allergic to peanuts and all these regulations going along with that?

    As a former camp counselor (in the recent past), I am pro-peanut butter in kids’ environments – as long as those in charge are aware of all allergies and how to handle them, the kids don’t need to be quarantined. Long live PB!
    Diana recently posted..Seeing the single digits

  15. Amara says

    I do not think PB should be banned. Do those parents refrain from taking their children to the mall, stores, fairs/festivals, amusement parks? In all those places, there is a chance that someone somewhere could be eating peanut butter. “Don’t play on the slide – someone may have eaten a PB&J then went down the slide!” It’s impossible to avoid it 100%.

    My nephew has a severe/deadly peanut allergy. We all know we cannot kiss him on the cheek after eating PB and we always wash our hands.

    Put the kids who are allergic at their own table and make every student wash their hands (which they should anyway!).

  16. says

    I have two kids, separated by five school grades, neither with food allergies. The elementary schools have “nut-free” zones and classrooms, meaning if a child has a nut allergy, their classroom is automatically nut-free for everyone, but at the cafeteria there is a special area where kids with nut allergies sit. Since there seem to be so many kids with nut allergies these days, the group is large and there is no stigma with regard to sitting there.

    My older daughter is in high school, and as far as I’ve seen there is no special rule or treatment there (hey, just like the real world). I think the separation in elementary school is to prevent accidental ingestion, not to quarantine. As most parents know, many kids won’t think twice about trading snacks. But by high school kids either outgrow the allergy or have learned to live with it.

    I like the “be careful” approach, to be honest. When kids with nut allergies react, it’s more often than not a very bad reaction (hospitalization or at least outpatient treatment) since the reaction happens fast and there’s no fast-acting remedy for it. An outright ban is overkill, in my opinion. Peanut butter (the real stuff, anyway) is highly nutritious. I’d rather see the items listed at the top of the post banned, for general health reasons.

    Like others have mentioned, I think it’s prudent to look into the cause for the allergy. I went through all of my schooling not knowing that such an allergy even existed. It must be a result of “food product engineering” (chemically enhanced foods, like baby formula for example) or be some kind of sharp spike in human evolution. But it’s definitely worth the study. My neighbors’ kids are allergic to many, many food types (nuts, seafood, some raw yeasts which rules out most berries and all unwashed/unpeeled fruits, have lactose intolerance, and have other ‘traditional’ allergies). It’s kind of sad to see them out of school so often and be unable to partake in some of the things my kids do (even a backyard snack).

  17. Sarah says

    I would like to share my recent experiences with life-threatening food allergies and how banning products might not be necessary.

    I am the health director at a summer day camp. The last two weeks of our summer season we had a camper with life-threatening allergies to: dairy, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, gluten, shellfish, chicken and turkey. It should also be noted that her allergies are all contact allergies as well as ingestion. We deal with the typical nut allergy all summer but this was almost overwhelming at first. After a long conversation with the mom of this camper, I felt much more at ease. This mom is bound and determined to let her daughter live a normal life. At school she sits at the same lunch table as all of her friends, no matter what they are eating. Her mom wanted her to have the same exact “normal” experience at camp, which includes spending the night for one night of the week. Spending the night means three extra meals away from home. While the camper did not eat the food provided by the camp, her mom packed almost the exact same meal that the campers were eating with her allergen safe foods. Her food was cooked on the same fire as the rest of the food. We didn’t have a single problem with her allergy the two weeks she was at camp. She absolutely loved her camp experience and was even able to eat a snack provided by the camp, something she has never done in her life.

    All of the campers in the camp were still packing all of the products she was allergic to in their lunches. Simple hand-washing after meals kept the camp as allergen free as possible for this camper. We did not need to ban any products.

    • Courtney says

      I love hearing that the mom was more interested in allowing her daughter to have as normal of an experience as possible. That’s great that she was able to enjoy the entire time without any problems :)

  18. says

    This is so silly but I get nervous thinking about what if I have a child who is allergic of peanuts because my husband and I are addicted and go thru a jar a week! I am not sure how I feel about peanut free schools because I am sure I would be all for it if my child had a severe allergy. Ahh!
    Ruthie Hart recently posted..Livin’ Life LA part 2

  19. says

    You know what I do and we advise schools to evaluate their needs on a case by case basis. If a school building has a LOT of kids with actual allergies, then perhaps it warrants the banning of peanuts, if it’s just a few children then other accommodations can be made.

    I do think the key to keeping the kids with actual allergies safe is communication and education. Communicate the needs of the child and the abilities of the school and educate kids not to share their lunches and why it’s important not to expose kids, but also educate the kids with allergies to advocate for themselves.

    I’ll stop now, but I’m generally against banning it from schools.
    Cute~Ella recently posted..Sassy and Salty Chocolate Chip Cookies

  20. says

    i was just having a conversation abot this over the weekend. This was such a staple in my life as a kid. There are a lot of bans in school due to nut allergies. It is understandable due to the severity but crazy for those of us who grew up on obj. How is pb2 I want to try it!
    Hannah recently posted..gettin’ back into it.

    • Courtney says

      I love PB2 as a topping, but it’s not my favorite to have in a sandwich. Either way, I still think it’s definitely worth trying!

  21. says

    This is a tricky situation because peanut allergies can be so severe. I’m leaning towards saying pb shouldn’t be banned in schools. Peanut allergies can be unlike other allergies though, in the sense that sometimes kids can’t even be in the same room as peanuts or can not be touched by someone who came into contact with peanuts earlier and didn’t wash their hands. Peanut allergies can be fatal or cause severe airway constriction. Which is quite different from most allergies where a person can get sick from ingesting. I’m sure we all would feel a lot different if we had a child with a peanut allergy.
    And I do think it’s quite interesting topic about the number of allergies in children these days. Growing up, I didn’t know anyone with a peanut allergy, gluten intolerance, or other crazy allergies. As I gotten older, I have met more people with allergies (gluten, peels of certain fruits, caseins, and others) but I think the number of children with these allergies is increasing at an alarming rate. I also grew up in a more rural area and feel like there still is a smaller percentage of people there with food allergies than in larger urban areas. *I have no idea if this is an accurate observation or not, but I thought it was interesting.* I think all these food allergies have something to do with all the chemicals entering our body these days.
    Alyssa N recently posted..My Almost Puppy and His Haircut

  22. says

    PB should not be banned from schools. I understand that precautions must be taken with the younger kids but it’s a little over the top to completely ban PB. It’s not banned from other public places they’ll visit (restaurants, parks, the zoo, a friends house, etc.), many of which do not have the same level of supervision as a school. Like others have commented, I don’t recall ever encountering kids with peanut allergies growing up. So if the allergy is increasing in our children I want to know why!?!
    Kelly @ Not So Rocky Road recently posted..Strange Happenings

    • Chris says

      I see many people comparing banning pb from schools to banning it from other public areas. I have two friends who both have a child with severe nut allergies. They are anaphilatically allergic – they cannot breath the same air as nuts. In many cases, my friends choose not to go to public areas because of these allergies. Unless you choose to homeschool, you cannot choose not to go to school (think that was a triple negative – does that make it a positive now?). In most cases the children are more than aware of their allergies and are super cautious. They know what having to jab an epi pen full of adrenaline into their leg muscle feels like and try to avoid that at all costs. I kind of look at it the same way I look at banning smoking. If it is polluting the air so that a child cannot be in the lunchroom with the rest of the kids, then a ban is what is necessary. Yes, allergies are on the rise – who knows why. However, we would install a ramp for a child in a wheelchair so why would we not accommodate a child’s allergy requirements for the 8 hours a day they are at school – even if it means banning peanut butter. If you are still on the fence, google what happens to a kid going into anaphylatic shock and think how you would feel if it were your child.

  23. says

    As a mom with a kid without allergies you would think I would be pro having pb an option…but I’m not. I think it is safer for all involved to have an allergy free zone. Plus there are SO many options out there. If only they could have more control over other options for kids because its amazing the stuff that passes off as food for kids on an everyday basis.
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  24. says

    I, myself, have a pretty severe allergy to peanuts/peanut butter. If I eat them, my throat will close up and an epi pen will have to be administered. With that said, I am not one of those people who can’t be in the same room or smell peanuts. These people truly have it bad! I think that the administration should speak with the parents of the kids who have allergies; if they think the allergy is severe enough that even close contact with peanuts would be dangerous, the only way to go is to ban them completely. Peanut allergies are a serious thing! Reactions are totally preventable…so why not prevent them?
    Mallory @ It’s Only Life recently posted..Awesome Almonds Giveaway

  25. says

    I agree that it is odd that there is such an increase in peanut allergies. There’s something weird about that!

    I think that children with peanut allergies should be handled just as a child with any other severe allergy. For instance, the child who is extremely allergic to bee stings. We don’t ban all children from going outside because the one child could get stung…we protect that child as much as possible and we make sure he has an epi-pen or whatever else he needs in case the worst should happen.

    I think a special table for the children with allergies is the most sensible option. It’s unfortunate for the kids who have the allergy, but life’s not fair, man. Worse things could happen than having to sit at the peanut table at lunch.
    angie recently posted..“It must be nice.”

  26. says

    As for learning to “deal” with the allergy, as someone mentioned a few comments ago,… it shouldn’t be a 4th grader’s burden to have to feel uncomfortable, anxious, and have to leave a room because he/she thinks they might have an allergic reaction. I think it is a lot easier to “deal” with packing a turkey sandwich instead of a peanut butter sandwich for a kid’s lunch than having to ”deal” with a possible life-threatening event. I am not saying this out of bias, because I can actually be in the same room and still be fine, I just think that “learn to deal” is a pretty harsh way of looking at this, especially from a young child’s perspective, who is going to school to learn and make friends, not to feel threatened by possible dangers.
    Mallory @ It’s Only Life recently posted..Awesome Almonds Giveaway

    • says

      I’m not sure how having a peanut-free table would make a child feel uncomfortable, or how it’s harsh to expect those with the allergies to work around it instead of expecting the entire school to work around them. I assume they have to deal with the allergy outside of school as well…? And the whole word isn’t likely to go peanut-free. Know what I mean?
      angie recently posted..Children: the ultimate slave labor

  27. says

    I couldn’t imagine going to school without my PB. I understand where parents are coming from, but some things just seem to go too far. I like the idea of having kids with PB anything take a note with them, but the segregation part seems a bit much. School shouldn’t be this tough until high school! ;)
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  28. says

    as a kiddo who had a pb sandwich in my lunchbox every day (even in high school.. I didn’t stray), it would be hard for me to imagine school lunches with NO peanut butter.

    however, I work at an independent school where nut allergies are well-monitored, and kids aren’t even allowed to bring their lunches. in our cafeteria, peanut butter is provided, but in little to-go snacky portions (kinda like you would see at a hotel buffet). my guess is it keeps it more “contained” that way?

    moral of the story, I’m also on the fence. I see how it could be a serious threat to others.. but I can’t imagine my childhood without it!
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  29. says

    I’m pro ban on PB. A peanut allergy is super severe. Hospitalizations, death, etc. The fear of these things in a kid with the allergy is huge let alone having to be exposed to it every day. Banning them from schools isn’t saying a kid (who’s not allergic) can’t have it at home but you need to be safe for the kids who could die. It’s just too risky. There are so many other options now.
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  30. says

    Why do so many kids have allergies (and severe allergies) these days? We definitely didn’t have any peanut bans or even separate tables when I was in grade school in the 90’s. I’m pretty sure they even served peanut butter and jelly as part of hot lunch.
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  31. says

    I am a teacher and for the past 2 years have had students with touch sensitive peanut allergies. Meaning if you ate peanut butter, touched the desk, and then they touched the desk, they can go into anaphylactic shock. Pretty scary stuff. But our school did not ban peanut products. I just had a lot of training with epi pens and carried wipes with me basically everywhere to wipe down surfaces for them. They ate at peanut free tables in lunch. It was scary, but with proper precautions it all worked out so that other students can enjoy peanut butter and other products to their liking.
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  32. says

    Dipsy Doodles – what the heck?! I’ve never heard of that!

    I understand that peanut allergies should be taken seriously, but I can’t imagine banning peanuts from the entire school. It’s one of those issues that I see the pros for both sides of the issues. Such an interesting topic!
    Courtney @ The Granola Chronicles recently posted..Raw Food + Meat

  33. Jess says

    I’m on the fence, too. Nut allergies are serious, so having parents and students feel safe about going to school is important. But, in my case, I ONLY ate PB&J for lunch as a kid – I didn’t like lunchmeat or school lunches – so then what would I have done? I don’t think there’s a right or wrong answer to this, but I would lean more toward your first experience where peanut butter items were contained in the lunchroom to a specific area.

  34. Nicole says

    Oh man, all of those awesome lunch snacks! I forgot all about them. Dunkaroos were def my fave… is it weird that I had a huge craving for them recently? I didn’t even know if they still made them or not, but apparently they do :) Oh, and the cheese and crackers with the red stick? Those were awesome too. Thanks for the great memories!! :)

  35. says

    This is a really hard topic. I mean, honestly I cannot see myself not being able to have a pb & j sandwich at school- that is an elementary (& middle school & high school..at least for me growing up ;) ) school STAPLE! I honestly feel bad for the kids that are in a ‘nut free zone.’ I had no idea there was such a thing as a ‘nut free zone’ until I started reading about it on your blog a year or so ago. I was like ‘huh?! What the heck is a nut free zone?’ I think I even made a comment one time on your blog asking about it.
    I worked in a high school about 2 years ago, and there was no such thing. It was just eat whatever you want (which some of the lunches were rather scary- seeing what kids choose to eat is a bit frightful!) , no ‘nut free zones.’
    I guess nut allergies are more severe if you are younger..I’m not too sure. I don’t know anyone that has a nut allergy. I know that might be weird, as it is so common now adays. That’s the other thing- WHY are these allergies becoming the norm?! I swear I feel like everyone I know how some kind of allergy (besides nut- how strange) of some sort. Either to lactose, or to gluten, etc. I feel like our bodies are just changing so much..and it’s kind of sad. I swear it’s all of the processed foods!
    Ok, getting off of my soap box now..haha! :) Thanks for a great brain racking post- you always have some awesome ones!
    Holly recently posted..Chia Banana Bread

  36. says

    Personally, I think that peanut butter and jelly sandwiches should be allowed. If they want all kids to feel good about themselves and not be self-conscious that there is something wrong with them for having a food allergy, then by all means, go ahead. As a future teacher, I for one do not want to have my students being bullied over such an issue. By all means, let everyone bring PB&J for lunch, but weed out the kids who do have the allergy so severely and tell them ‘so and so brought PB&J today, you might want to sit at the other end of the table.’ If anything, placing kids in the same teacher’s class towards the end of the table will help them relate to one another and by doing this, you’re fostering friendships over a common hardship: food allergies.
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  37. says

    This is something I think about a lot actually having allergies (not to food items though) myself. I travel a lot for work and often times on planes, they will ban peanuts from being served if 1 person has an allergy. The thing that drives me crazy about this though, is they let dogs and cats on planes! I have severe cat allergies and have been seated next to someone with a cat on board before. How is that any different than peanuts?
    I don’t think banning peanuts on planes or in a classroom is necessary as long as precautions are taken (I like the letter idea) and people are given options. If you’re not going to serve peanuts on a plane b/c of one person’s allergies, you should give everyone else the option to not sit next to animals for the same safety precautions.
    Gina @ Running to the Kitchen recently posted..2 ingredient parmesan crisps

    • Chris says

      Gina,

      Peanut free flights are generally at the request of a passenger. Next time you fly, let the airline know you are extremely allergic to cats and they will have an animal free flight for you. The confines and recycled air of an aircraft are extremely dangerous for allergy sufferers which is why the airlines make these kinds of accommodations.

  38. says

    Having PB banned from school would have been awful for me. I took a pb and j every single day I packed my lunch. I hated the way cheese and lunch meat tasted after sitting in my lunchbox all morning.

    I think the big question is why are so many kids allergic to peanuts today? It’s scary!

    Definitely remember the Lunchables convo. :)
    Brittany recently posted..7 Things – Healthy Living Summit Style

  39. says

    i think it should be on a case by case and class by class basis…meaning if you have a child in a class who can’t ingest it, then there is no ban BUT if you happen to have that rare (maybe not so rare in the future??) child who can’t even touch something that someone who has had pnut butter on their hands then it should be banned in that classroom. the love of pnut butter isn’t worth any child dying over!

    when my 7 yr old was in preschool, there was a little boy in their class who was severely diabetic. and because they had to monitor him closely and constantly, they asked the parents to only send in snacks that were carb free or low in carbs. at first it seemed hard, like, we can’t send cupcakes in for our child’s birthday?? but when you stopped to think about it, taking the time and making the effort to make someone else feel like they fit in was a much better lesson for our children to learn than complaining about the extra creativity it took for us to provide snacks and treats that they all could enjoy.
    colleen @ thegiftofmondays recently posted..it doesn’t matter what the world says about you

  40. says

    I’m a teacher and think that peanut butter should be allowed in schools. Yes, some children do have very severe nut allergies and don’t need to be exposed to nuts. However, if we educate our students about food safety, and being sensitive to the needs of others, a lot of issues can be resolved. My school is smart about it. If I have a child with a nut allergy, I don’t sit him next to the child who brings a PBJ for lunch. I also encourage students to wash hands thoroughly. It seems that schools these days are bending over backwards to accommodate all needs, and it’s just getting too difficult. If we could all be patient and understanding with each other, we could ensure that all students are safe in their learning environment.
    Molly Carter recently posted..Body After Baby

  41. says

    I don’t think that peanut butter should be banned from schools, as it is a healthy and vegetarian alternative for kids that don’t eat sandwiches with meat. In general, I believe that the kids with the allergies should sit at a separate table. However, if a child in a classroom has a life-threatening allergy and can have a reaction just by touching it, I can understand banning it.

  42. says

    I didn’t even know schools could ban something like that! It seems a bit odd to me because I think you should be able to pack a lunch for your own child with whatever you think is good for them. But on the other hand, you wouldn’t want someone else’s child to get sick because of sharing or being exposed to the nuts. That’s a tough decision to make. I think I’d lean more towards allowing it though.
    Sarah @ Simply Dove recently posted..Fit Challenge: Week 3

  43. says

    I completely understand that some children (and adults) have severe allergies to PB. Should it be banned? Absolutely not. Where do we draw the line? Do we start banning everything that people are allergic to?

    There are ways to deal with sever allergies. I had a camper once that was severely allergic to gluten. Was gluten banned at the summer camp? No, but they made plans and choices to deal with it within that environment. She had no problems, and has been a camper for 4 years since then.

    Allergies (even nut allergies) don’t affect the majority of people. When schools start trying to accommodate every need it gets way too complicated. When we put our thinking caps on and make informed, well thought out decisions I’m sure schools could find effective ways to deal with severe allergies.
    Jillian recently posted..Baseball with a Side of Breakfast

  44. says

    School lunches and cafeteria food is a subject I could talk ALL day on–mostly because of the hideous things schools feed kids, but I know that’s not the exact topic here :)

    I think that each classroom should have its own rules about snacks and treats brought into that specific room, according to the allergies/needs of that room’s students.
    In terms of the cafeteria I think that students should be able to bring peanut butter for lunch…maybe there should be rules about children not sharing/swapping lunch items to avoid getting children with allergies exposed directly to foods they shouldn’t be?
    Danica recently posted..Summer 2011 Recap

  45. says

    While I understand how bad this allergy can be, I don’t think eliminating it entirely from schools is the way to deal with it. It just seems like it would easily become a slippery slope in the future. Maybe the kids need better rules about sharing their meals and made more aware of the situation so that they can also help keep each other safe?

    Having a kid at home, PB&J sandwiches are a staple because they’re easy to make, nutritious, and my stepson loves them, so they often make it into his lunch bags because of all that.
    Rosa – Fitness, Food, Fulfilled recently posted..Ugh, Another “Fat Day” Surfaces

  46. says

    Omgosh dunkaroos!! Shane and I were just talking about Squeeze It’s last night too. Hello grade school!
    Another coincidence- my client and I were just discussing the peanut butter in schools debate. Great mind’s think alike, right? ;)
    It’s a tough one – I see both sides. I think I’d be worried if my child had a severe allergy to peanuts and went to a school where the only designated peanut-free tables .
    Paige recently posted..Weekend Theme Song

  47. says

    It doesn’t sound like the popular opinion, but I’d be all for banning peanut butter all together. It does sound harsh and definitely makes it a little more difficult for parents. But the alternative is to ostracize and segregate a group of children from their classmates, a that can’t be good for anyone.
    Evan Thomas recently posted..Chocolate Peanut Butter Swirl Brownies

  48. says

    I agree with all the “do not ban it” folks. It’s hard to say whether or not these children should be placed at a separate table or not though. My thought is it’s going to make the child feel awkward, singled out, self conscious. What if there’s only one child during that lunch period that has a nut allergy? Does he/she have to sit alone? That’s horrifying for a young child.

    I think education is key – teaching your child at a very early age what he/she can/cannot eat/touch/etc., to avoid allergy attacks. Also, if the allergy is something that can be treated with an epi-pen (as someone mentioned above) I believe that the school nurse should be provided with one, just in case there is an allergy attack. Prevention is key, but treatment is also important because you can’t prevent everything.
    Samantha @ Running and Cupcakes recently posted..Monday Love (Day 26)

  49. jj says

    Hi, Courtney,
    Speaking of school, will you go back to teaching? I love reading your blog and the multiple posts a day, so I selfishly hope you continue blogging!

  50. says

    I would rather pb be allowed in schools…obviously! I am yet to meet someone who is allergic to peanuts and get affected by merely being in the same room as it. As a society, we have become more neurotic and aware of diseases and tend to be overly precautious! Allergies aren’t a new phenomena, only our approach is! It looks like I’m pro Pb…always and forever (this may change when I have kids of my own)
    Ps Loveeee lunchables!
    Pps- your husband is ‘nuts’ for not digging into your loaf!!
    Khushboo recently posted..Best of all worlds

  51. says

    i’ve only recently heard about this peanut butter ban from a co-worker. i thought it sounded crazy (as things like this was not even an issue back when i was in elementary school,) i guess i’m on the fence. you want to protect the kids w/the allergy, but you dont want to limit the other kids…especially the picky eaters….oh man. who knew peanut butter could be a controversial topic!
    Erica recently posted..death of a ribbon bouquet…

  52. says

    I understand it’s healthy..but there’s no way I would want my kid to go to a school where there was nuts if they had peanut allergies. Some allergies are so intense that even the particles of nuts in the air can flare it up (I went to school where that was the case with one girl insanely allergic to rubber…). So, if it puts a child’s life at risk, then ban the PB.
    Mary @ Bites and Bliss recently posted..Savoring the rush

  53. Rebecca says

    One of the reasons that the peanut (and other such) allergy has had such a drastic spike (and I’m going to oversimplify this drastically in the interest of time and not writing too much) is that we have underexposed children to various foods and over sanitized the majority of our spaces (homes, schools etc.).

    My personal feeling is that it’s absolutely inappropriate to ban peanut butter from schools. All it takes is ONE student with an allergy and the rest of the students have to be lenient. I’m 100% for tolerance, but I feel that it should be the other way around. If a student’s allergy is so debilitating that they cannot be safe in a typical school environment, then perhaps it’s not the right place for them. I don’t even agree with sanctioning a certain area for peanut butter consumption. When I have children, I will certainly be packing them nut butters in their lunch and will stand by them when they eat it in the general area, because it’s only fair.

    (I realize this comment may seem harsh haha. It’s all meant in a nice tone–what can I say, I love my peanut butter! :D.)

      • Kelly says

        I have been a reader for a long time and have never commented, but now I must! I am a school administrator and have a nut and peanut allergy. What many commenters fail to understand is that schools have to enact these all or nothing policies not only to protect students but to protect themselves. Lunch times are largely unsupervised, so relying on notes indicating the presence of peanut butter or hopin that kids will flow no sharing policies is not safe enough. It only takes one mistake for the unthinkable to occur which would be devastating. We cannot ask kindergartners to be their own advocates, they are not developmentally capable. All commentors would want their children to be safe and treated well. Schools cannot segregate students based on a disabling condition (and yes, a life threatening allergy is a disability). Asking that these students be home schooled is not an option. One cannot compare the situation to what occurs at fairs and restaurants as parents are responsible in these settings. Schools have the responsibility to safely educate ALL students! School is a part of childhood; peanut butter, not so much.

        • heather says

          i, personally, am honestly sorry about your allergy. i can’t imagine how a food allergy affects a life. however, the fact is–schools *do* segregate based on disabilities. i would assume a school administrator is aware of special needs classes. food allergies aren’t nearly the same thing, but the reality is that some measurements of segregation do and will occur in schools based on children’s needs, especially when their own or the safety of others is at subject–during mealtimes or otherwise.

  54. heather says

    i work for a pre-school that is completely peanut and tree-nut free as well. if a kid has a food with nuts he/she either *cant* eat it…or has to eat it in the director’s office(parents complain either way). there’s no right or happy answer–parents need to remember to pack safe lunches on one hand, regardless of picky eaters; but the fourteen or so kids with deathly allergies should eat in a nut-free classroom where nothing is exposed to food at all. it’s not isolating any more than being banished for eating something someone else can’t eat is.

  55. says

    Let the peanut butter stay! It’s one of the few nutritious choices kids tend to enjoy at lunch, and you can’t isolate all of the allergens…next thing you know they’ll have a Gluten table, a Milk/Dairy table, etc and so on…that’s seriously ridiculous.
    Faith @ For the Health of It recently posted..A Good Place to Be

  56. Kathryn says

    When I was in elementary school, I had a classmate who was allergic to peanuts. She was aware of it, the class was aware of it, and the school was aware of it. She knew not to eat peanuts and the rest of the class knew to stay away from her when we had peanuts. She learned how to live with her allergy, as I think all kids need to do. If they ban it, then how are the kids to ever learn how to live with it? Thus far, neither of my kids exhibit any food allergies, but if they do, I’ll make sure they aren’t treated as babies. They’ll learn, just like the now-adults have learned.

  57. says

    As someone who ate peanut butter sandwiches all throughout high school every. single. day. This makes me sad! I can’t imagine enjoying anything else half as much as I did eating PB sammiches. My brother can’t eat peanuts, though it’s not a deadly allergy, but I never realized till recently how big of a problem it has become. I say no to a ban (as I scarf down a handful of honey roasted peanuts)! But I do expect better education, support and compassion from educators and students for those who have allergies.
    Amy recently posted..It’s Jerzday: Twinning!

  58. Molly says

    I think that for elementary school students, the issue of banning peanut butter or separating those with allergies should be looked at on a case by case basis. As others have said, younger children might not think twice about trading food with another kid, and there can be traces of peanuts in processed foods that used the same equipment as nuts.

    Some kids have it worse than others, but an allergic reaction to peanuts can be deadly if not dealt with immediately. If you try to think about it from the viewpoint a parent of a kid with peanut allergies (I’m not one, I’m just trying to see both sides here), it might be upsetting to see school administration/teachers/parents go on an active campaign to keep peanut butter in the school just because they think other kids shouldn’t be deprived of it. Peanut butter is amazing, but I have a feeling that children would somehow find a way to cope if they couldn’t eat it at lunch everyday. There was an issue in the news a few months ago about a school that wanted the child with peanut allergies to LEAVE the school completely, so they wouldn’t have to worry about it, which is just ridiculous and sad.

    However, it is interesting that more people seem to have peanut allergies these days, and there has to be a reason for it. I’m only 23, but I never had a classmate with that problem when I was young.

  59. says

    this topic really isn’t black and white, but im more on the side thinking it shouldn’t be banned, since there are alot of foods which can cause severe allergic reactions, and if we ban one, why not ban them all ?
    amy recently posted..Dinner

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