While school violence is down, bullying is on the rise as are food allergies. The two dovetail in the creative and wicked minds of school bullies.
Hard For Some To Believe Allergies Can Be Fatal
There is necessarily a lot of attention given to children with food allergies. Unfortunately, it is hard for some people to get their minds around the fact that for some, severe allergies are lethal. Many times the additional attention is resented and students will “test” the allergy to see if the student is really serious or an attention seeker.
Bullies Can Pretend To Be Ignorant
For Sarah VanEssendelft of Mastic, NY, a boy who inadvertently opened a peanut butter candy triggered an allergic reaction that put her in the hospital for four days. Upon returning to school, a group of girls found the episode hard to believe and thought Sarah was vying for attention. The group decided to bring peanut butter sandwiches to school and surround her at lunch. If it wasn’t for the warning given by one of the girls, Sarah could have ended up back in the hospital, or worse.
While Sarah’s school, like many others, have restrictions and laws that protect affected children, no disciplinary action could be taken in this case. The best defense in this case and others is to create a wide circle of friends who will protect you.
Friends Can Protect You
“Whenever we talk to kids with food allergies in schools, their friends are a huge influence and can keep them safe,” said Anne Munoz-Furlong, founder and CEO of the Food Allergy and Anaphylactic Network. “We have very often had teenager tell us that their friends are their bodyguards, their friends are their eyes and ears.