Anti Nut Free
Hannah Holliday ’15 – Opinion Editor
A peanut butter and jelly sandwich to most people isn’t just Jif Peanut Butter and Smuckers Strawberry Jam spread out on two pieces of bread and smushed together. Its the staple of childhood memories and has been the messy favorite of the youth in every generation. Or at least it was.
As Powell Middle school becomes the next predicted peanut free school in the district, all of Romeo school’s students could be kissing their convenient and tasty lunch snack goodbye. Which to many high school students is a horror. “My daily lunch consists of something to do with peanuts most of the time,” Jesse Durham (12) said.
When I say peanut free, I don’t just mean it can’t contain peanuts. It can’t contain peanut butter, peanut oil, or any other derivative of a peanut. It can’t contain any traces of nuts or peanuts. And peanuts such as mandelona or new nuts are really just disguised peanuts. The food cannot be processed in factories that also process any form of peanut products.
If a school becomes peanut free, all the snacks provided in the vending machine become peanut free. Snacks sold during lunchtime become peanut free, all the school lunches become peanut free. Even the sporting events can only sell peanut free snacks.
Prioritizing students with peanut allergies sends the wrong message to other kids who have gluten or lactose allergies and aren’t having their allergies banned. ”I understand the importance of meeting a child’s needs but my daughter had a dairy allergy so it was hard to find foods that met her dietary needs that didn’t have peanuts in it,” one anonymous parent said of Hevel Elementary becoming peanut free.
With a school becoming peanut free, there is bound to be someone cutting corners and breaking the rules. There always is. Will there be a certified peanut safety enforcer to check every child before they walk into the building or maybe a scanner that can see where your skin has come in contact with the horrid food. Whether we want to believe it or not young kids do not always understand when something they have is being taken away. Who says that they won’t grab a reese’s before they leave the house on their way to school. There is no fool-proof way to ensure that peanuts won’t enter the school.
Apparently another set of rules ensures that peanut butter won’t contaminate the halls. “We were told that if we ate peanut butter in the morning we had to then brush our teeth and shower right after,” Chloe Holliday, a 7th grader at Powell Middle School said. A huge concern is that if this is even fair, or if it violates our freedoms. Is it now the school’s right to make parents follow rules in their own homes. What will be the punishments, if they’re are any, unfortunately you can’t make parents sit in time out.
What will happen to those kids on specialized diets? Peanut butter is rich in protein, just 2 tablespoons contains about 8 grams of protein. A diet with lots of protein is vital in middleschoolers and elementary students so they can grow strong muscles and bones. Yes, there are many other foods rich in protein but very few are affordable or as accessible as peanut butter. For some kids in the district a peanut butter sandwich may be their only protein for the day.
While we cannot stop our schools from becoming peanut free, trust me parents have already tried, in 4 lawsuits to be exact. The real world cannot cater to everyone’s needs, but the school district just might have too.
“I think RCS could become a Peanut and Tree Nut Alert District because Bloomfield Hills School District already is, as is the entire country of Canada’s schools. With more and more students having these types of allergies, I think it is only a matter of time before our county, state, or nation will need to address this health safety issue,” Romeo High School Superintendent, Dr. Nancy Campbell said.
When their child’s life is in danger, a mother is more than willing to do all that she can to save her child’s life. After all, a mother just wants her child to have the same opportunities and live as normal of a life as possible.
So why should something as simple as a nut stand in the way of that normalcy?
Pro Nut- Free
Alicia Arnold ’14 – Opinion
After 3 years maintaining Hevel Elementary School as peanut free, Romeo is ready to extend its’ policy to Powell Middle School. As the policy did when it was instituted at Hevel, many are frustrated, taking both sides to the argument.
One of the many people for it, is a mother whose children all have a severe peanut allergy.
“Everyday life is different. I have to do a lot of reading. I am constantly reading labels and doing research on new ingredients that show up and I am constantly on the phone making sure that before I take my children to any place that it is peanut and tree nut free,” a mother of a child with a peanut allergy said.
Where is the compassion?
The community will come together during events like charity week for kids suffering from ailments, but when there are children that can die from something that can so easily be prevented, is it really too much of an inconvenience to protect them from the very thing that is fatal to them?
“A mother will do anything to protect her child,” the mother said.
If a mother would truly do anything to protect her child, then why are others criticizing a mother’s actions because she wants to protect her own child? Who are we to judge? We don’t understand the daily hardships that the families undertake.
Times are changing. Peanut and tree nut allergies are a nationwide issue and it is time they are addressed. Whole school districts, like Bloomfield Hills Schools, are becoming peanut free.
And they are getting along just fine.
On top of all of this, this rule has already been challenged in court, by people right in Romeo.
And guess what?
It held up.
Recently, Dr. Nancy Campbell, the superintendent of Romeo Community Schools, spoke about this topic.
“I think Romeo should become a Peanut and Tree Nut Alert District. With more and more students having these types of allergies, I think it is only a matter of time before our county, state or nation will need to address this issue,” Dr. Campbell said.
This issue goes beyond just Romeo.
With all of the controversy about the middle school possibly becoming peanut free, just remember what it would be like if this was your child.