Monday, March 28, 2011

Precisely Why We Need to Raise Awareness

everett washing handsImage by cafemama via FlickrBy now you’ve probably heard about the Florida school district where parents are protesting against measures to keep a food-allergic child safe. As the case becomes even more high profile, I was struck by this Today Show video, aptly titled Child’s Peanut Allergy Drives Some Parents Nuts.

One parent on the video who explains why the students shouldn’t be required to wash hands in the classroom, is asked by the reporter, “What happens if you push too hard for the rights of the many, and the little girl is exposed?”

Her response? “I really can’t answer that question because I don’t really know…” and she goes on to stress that they DO want the child to be safe.

And therein lies the problem…

Complaining that their children shouldn’t have to wash hands to keep one food-allergic child safe is akin to complaining that the wheelchair ramp for the one child in a wheelchair should be taken down because it takes longer for the rest of the kids to get into school.

No parent would complain about the wheelchair ramp because they understand that the disabled child has no other option to get into school. They can see it. But food allergies are not as visible, making it harder for those who haven’t witnessed a serious allergic reaction to understand.

It’s all about acceptance, and tolerance, and yes – sometimes it means that we will have to give up something to keep others safe.


Kim said...

Very well said. Education is so important here... I believe that if these parents and children knew more, they'd be 100% on board in making the accomodations to keep the other children safe. I'm dealing with my own school issues right now and recently did an interview on 3/2/11 that aired 3/13. The comments others left is a perfect example of why education is so needed.

News story:

My note on Facebook that prompted the interview:

Colette said...

Kim, thanks for sharing the news story!

Allergy Mum said...

This whole situtaion just makes me sad.