Allergy rules hard for some to swallow
An Auckland primary school is asking parents for tolerance as it brings in new food restrictions to protect an allergic student.
In a letter to parents this week, the school’s deputy principal said that a child with life-threatening allergies had started at the school.
The child has anaphylaxis meaning they are severely allergic to kiwifruit, eggs, dairy products and nuts.
The letter went on to say the condition was very serious and the decision to ask parents not to bring in those foods had taken much consideration.
The school’s principal said he wouldn’t call it a ban but more a need for tolerance and inclusion.
‘‘We are asking for consideration. The parents of anaphylactic children have probably spent many nights in hospital and it is life-threatening.’’
Parents had been asked not to send their children to school with any of the products including nuts, hard-boiled eggs or egg sandwiches.
The principal said two parents had so far come into the school to talk about their options for school lunches.
He had heard other parents were speaking about the subject on Facebook and he asked those parents to also contact the school with their concerns.
A mother of a student at the primary school, who didn’t want to be named, said the proposal was an overreaction and unfair to other children at the school.
‘‘Nuts I can understand ... but no dairy and egg? [That’s] kind of hard to follow - baking, biscuits, and pizza all contain dairy.’’
She said she felt for the student with allergies but it would not be a problem if the child ate their own food and didn’t share that of others.
In general, allergy charity Allergy New Zealand doesn’t recommend banning foods in schools as it doesn’t believe that to be an effective strategy in managing risk for allergic students.
But chief executive Mark Dixon called on the Government to provide more leadership in that area as it was a tough call for schools.
‘‘Most Australian states mandate anaphylaxis education for school and preschool staff, but there is no similar requirement in New Zealand.
‘‘Leaving this complex area to individual schools to sort out is putting New Zealand children at risk.’’
The principal agreed that there needed to be clearer guidelines as it was a complex issue and one that wasn’t going to go away.
Parents have been asked not to send their children to school with certain foods due to a student’s ‘‘life-threatening’’ allergies.