Tuesday, January 11, 2011


I'm pretty sure that I'm going to hell....because of mixed nuts.

Let me explain.

Two years ago, our school piloted being a peanut free school. This meant no staff or students were permitted to bring any peanuts, tree nuts, or products with peanuts or tree nuts (like many granola bars) to school. We were told to abstain in order to protect the kids in our building who have allergies to these kinds of nuts. Students who brought items with peanuts (like peanut butter sandwiches) were forced to sit at a separate table away from the other students. All students had (and still have) to clean their hands with cleaning and de-germing wipes. Teaching assistants were turned into searching machines, sniffing out traces of nuts.

After some parent outcry, they lifted the ban last year, and we were "encouraged to abstain" from bringing nuts. We have big yellow signs on every door with notes from our district superintendent encouraging us not to bring these items to school. The kids are still wiping down before they start the day and at lunch, but now it's the allergy kids who sit at their own table (with friends who have sanctioned lunches).
As for me? I've become a nut felon. Most of the time, I try to eat according to a healthy eating plan, and this plan recommends that we eat a thumb sized serving of a healthy fat (like nuts or olives) after each meal. So, deep in the depths of the bottom drawer of my desk, which is inside the tiny office in my classroom, I have a jar of cashews and macadamias.

Although my nuts are hidden, I still feel guilty enough about this to devote a whole blog post to it. Why? I make sure to wipe down my hands after I eat the teensy serving of nuts twice a day, and none of the students that are in my classroom throughout the day are allergic. Most of the students in our school are allergic to peanuts, not tree nuts. And yet, I can't shake this guilty feeling.

Tell me your thoughts. Am I insane for feeling guilty about this? Or do I need a good punch in the face for eating my nuts so cavalierly? I need some outside perspective on this one.

1 comment:

  1. 1As a parent of a child who has life threatening peanut and tree nut allergies I appreciate this post. This is a hard one for me. I don't think the world should change for my son, but I do think there are certain people, professions and situations that should accommodate him. After all these foods can kill him if he doesn't get the help he needs asap.

    In your case, I think it depends on a few things. You don't have an allergic child in you class, so it's not the worst thing. You are not in a nut free school so no policy is broken. You are also aware by making sure you clean you hands.

    However if you interact with an allergic child in other activities such as shared classroom activities, field trips with other classes... I would know who those kids are, and I would refrain from eating nuts. Every food allergy is different for each kid. Some deadly some not.

    Another thing to consider is what example are you setting for the kids? If the kids are not required to avoid eating nuts, but are asked to and do so, then the teacher should too (in the presence of the class anyway).

    If however you did have an allergic child in you class I would be outraged. As an educator, part of of your job is to keep them all safe and set an example.

    The fact that you wrote about this, and how you wrote about it, just shows you are a caring teacher. I do understand the conflict you feel. By keeping yourself aware, educated about the situation, and have good hygiene practices, you are good in this food allergic momma's book.