I teach Comprehensive School Health at the U of C. It is based on the premise of health promotion & prevention for the good of all students.
One of the things we talk about is the Peanut Allergy Rule of Thumb.
The philosphy is simple...hear me out.
Staff need to know if a child has a diagnosed peanut allergy & take the preventive steps of not feeding them peanuts, knowing where their epi pen is, & how to use it.
The child needs to know to do their best to not eat peanuts, know where their epi pen is & how to use it. /2
Hand washing of course helps too.
Some schools take it a step further & request no peanuts at all in the school as the strongest act of prevention. But not all schools need that. It depends on number of allergies & severity. /3
Those are the foundations. Teachers & staff don't have to diagnose peanut allergies or know all about the pathogen & anaphylactic processes associated with peanut allergies (unless they love learning that stuff). Just keep peanuts away from the child & help them when needed. /4
Does every child have a peanut allergy? No. Could they develop one? Maybe.
People generally accept allergies & typically don't mock or bully the child with an allergy. It's a factual health issue that needs preventive measures. That's it. /5
If 100% of students were at risk of peanut allergies in schools, you can bet there would be 100% adherence to basic prevention measures. No peanuts. Epi pen station. Staff trained how to use them.
No questions asked. Might be a bit of grumbling to not eat a pb&j for lunch./6
But overall, people don't make a big deal put of it. They don't politicize it or shout about it on social media. They just say "My child can't have peanuts."
So let's apply the Peanut Allergy Rule of Thumb to another health concern that requires preventive measures./7
Let's imagine a health issue that could impact any child at any time, that could ravage their lungs, heart, & brain.
Let's imagine this pathogen has a known entry point of nose & mouth.
Let's imagine there is no Epi pen for the systemic reaction to the pathogen. /8
Unlike the peanut allergy which is scary but alleviated quickly with treatment, let's imagine this pathogen has no known cure, no known course of treatment, no end in sight, & can potentially affect everyone in the school. /9
Let's imagine the most simple thing to prevent the pathogen from entering the body in the first place was a covering over the entry points.
100% effective? Maybe not. But it's a simple starting point. A PREVENTIVE MEASURE. /10
Would the Minister of Education mandate all children to eat peanuts? Would she mandate the removal of all Epi pens from schools?
Then why the hell is she treating peanut allergies with more respect than simple preventive measures for life threatening airborne viruses? /11
We have children with diagnosed autoimmune issues at high risk on schools.
ALL children, yes I said ALL, are at risk of developing long term issues from airborne illnesses. That can be EASILY PREVENTED.
Yet the MOE has now mandated ZERO preventive measures in schools. /12
The MOE has removed simple, logical, protective measures in schools, essentially saying, "Here. Have a peanut."
And when a child goes into anaphylactic shock or dies, she will shrug her shoulders, "These things happen." /13
If only everyone understood the parentl fear of something happening to their child that could have been prevented.
Of course we can't bubble wrap kids forever. Of course things are going to happen. But we have a civic RESPONSIBILITY to do the best we can to keep kids safe./14
This is irresponsible negligence, government overreach, & an appalling ignorance of public health.
Our kids, parents, & teachers require so much better. /end