Nut Your Average Story


Tess Fargo

Tess Fargo, Staff Reporter

Everybody knows about the no peanuts rule on campus, but what they don’t know is how it negatively affects kids with other allergies. This rule was made to protect students with life-threatening allergies but in doing so, inadvertently caused other issues.

In regards to tree nut allergic students specifically, this rule makes it much more dangerous for them. Since students aren’t allowed to bring peanuts to school, they turn to alternatives such as almonds, pistachios, cashews, walnuts, almond butter, etc. This poses a significant issue for tree nut allergic students in particular because it increases the amount of life-threatening allergens around them at school.

The students that are now bringing tree nuts instead of peanuts are protecting those that are peanut allergic but are in turn endangering those that have tree nut allergies.

Almost two percent of students at the upper school have peanut allergies and 1.5 percent have tree nut allergies. They are so close to each other that the question of where we draw the line becomes an issue

All of this isn’t to say that peanut allergies are less important; they can be just as severe as others and are equally dangerous and should be treated with the same amount of caution.

“We do have 11 students on campus who have peanut allergies, so that makes up 1.9 percent of our student populations (the students on this [upper school] campus). Some are more severe than others and some are anaphylactic while some they consider to be mild, but I think it’s necessary in order to protect these kids as some of them do have anaphylactic reactions,” said Nurse Emily Totre.

There are so many other students with less common, but equally as deadly allergies who aren’t protected by this rule.

Some are allergic to seafood and some are allergic to specific fruits or vegetables. Just because they are less common than peanut allergies doesn’t mean they should get less attention and awareness. This does raise the question, though, of where the line should be drawn in regards to what we should or should not ban on campus.

“Where do we we draw the line on what’s important to cut out and be free from on a campus and what effects so few students that we wouldn’t make an exception,” said Totre.

The school helps students with allergies accommodate by allowing them to carry medication with them if they choose to.

“We do allow them to carry an EpiPen in their backpack or they can leave one in the clinic or both. They can also carry it in their sports bag which is an exception that the Board of Health allows you to make since it is considered an emergency medication because for the most part students are not allowed to carry medication on them,” said Totre.

Another thing the school checks to further protect students with allergies is they make sure none of the catered lunch options could be harmful to any one student.

“The food that is catered for our lunches are all peanut free. We ensure that those coming from outside are peanut free as well. So if you are a person who has a peanut allergy you are still able to purchase lunches without having to worry about risking having a reaction,” said Totre.

In this case, peanut allergic kids are protected by being offered safe lunch options but the same cannot be said for tree nut, seafood or any other type of allergy a student may have at the school. 

Other allergies are not being completely disregarded, the school takes extra precautions and care when considering how to handle these allergies. They really do look at what the best approach is to help those students appreciate  safe learning environment.

All in all, what’s most important is that all students are protected.

“The safety of all students is number one, most important to me,” said Totre.