Al­lergy rules hard for some to swal­low

Central Leader - - YOUR PAPER, YOUR PLACE - SHABNAM DASTGHEIB

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.

MARK TAY­LOR / FAIR­FAX NZ

Par­ents have been asked not to send their chil­dren to school with cer­tain foods due to a stu­dent’s ‘‘life-threat­en­ing’’ al­ler­gies.

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