Skip to comments.Kids with allergies ask rights panel for lunch inspections (Nanny state - Ontario)
Posted on 12/10/2007 12:06:40 PM PST by fanfan
TORONTO -- A group of Toronto-area children is asking the Ontario Human Rights Commission to force their school to launch mandatory lunch-bag inspections to screen out foods to which they have severe allergies, a case which could make all Ontario schools do the same.
The six children, ranging in age from six to 11, contend that the local school board discriminated against them when it shut down a voluntary lunch screening program at St. Stephen's Catholic Elementary School, in Woodbridge, Ont., aimed at keeping peanuts, egg products or other potential allergy-inducing foods off school grounds entirely.
Maurice Brenner, a human-rights expert who is helping the children pursue their case, said their allergies are potentially life-threatening and qualify as disabilities under Ontario human rights law. And he said that the school's lunch program, which was ended by the York Catholic District School Board more than a year ago, was necessary for the children's safety.
"Nothing is too much when we're talking about kids' safety," he said. "It's not off the wall by any stretch of the imagination. What if your kids had these allergies: would it be off the wall then? I don't think so."
Mr. Brenner said the voluntary program at the school ran for nearly six years, with parents pinning a note to lunch bags listing the contents and teachers assigned to monitor lunch hour checking that none of the children's lunches contained peanut or egg products, such as mayonnaise. If a banned substance was found in a child's lunch, a note would be sent home with them advising their parents of the fact.
But the board ended the inspection program at the end of the 2005-06 school year, which Mr. Brenner said "created total chaos."
"These kids are frankly frightened -- they're scared to go to school," he said.
Chris Cable, a spokeswoman for the York Catholic District School Board, said the program was ended because it was out of line with practices in the other schools in the region. "It was a question of bringing that school into line with the practices at our other schools," she said. "As a school board we're required to be consistent."
The children, and their parents, are currently in mediation with the board in an attempt to avoid a full hearing before a provincial human rights tribunal, but Mr. Brenner said talks are stalled over lunchbag inspections.
Ms. Cable said if a tribunal were to rule in favour of the children, "it could force every school in the province to do this."
She said St. Stephen's already has a program to keep peanuts and other allergens out of students' lunches and snacks, including reminding parents to leave potentially harmful foods out of lunch boxes and monitoring foods brought in for special celebrations.
"This school is a model for food allergy policies," she said.
Mr. Brenner said the children and their parents are not trying to make the lunch inspection program provincial law, just to get it brought back to their school.
"Every school should be able to come up with its own solution," he said. "If this becomes law, it's because the school board pushed it right to the bitter end."
He said the children's concerns need to be taken seriously. "These are deadly allergies: if these kids come into contact with these substances they can die."
The Woodbridge children are to hold a news conference on Monday, timed to coincide with International Human Rights Day, to promote their case against the school board.
The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology estimates that from two to four per cent of children and one to two per cent of adults have allergic reactions to food, most commonly peanuts, tree nuts, shellfish, fish, milk, egg, wheat, soy and sesame.
So they need to ban:
The screening should be for kids unfit for being in public
"Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached." - Manuel II Palelologus
This is exactly the kind of thinking Huckabee will be bringing to the WH.
When I was growing up (in the 80s) the kids with severe allergies ate in a different lunch area altogether.
Being a parent, why risk it? Just have your kid eat somewhere other than the main cafeteria and you’re good to go.
Yeah its nuts.. and if its starting in Canada, you can bet its coming here soon.
We worry about shootings, and guns in schools.. but who knew Little Johnny would become a deadly threat with a peanut in his pocket.. lol
I’m half amazed kids have not tried to sneak in peanuts into schools these days for whatever reason.
We truly have a situation where the majority has to alter their ways in order to satisfy a tiny minority of the population. At a certain point, I think the public should be able to say:
"Stay home. Homeschool your kids. Make changes in your own life to deal with your own problems. Over here, the rest of us are going to go about our business."
no pork or ham due to muslim kids.
Well, I would have to pull my kids out of school because the only kind of sandwich they WANT to bring is a PB&J.
Seriously, how did we survive all these years without the Allery Police dictating what we can have in our lunchboxes?
Why, that's nothing to sneeze at.
Our 1 year old has a potentially deadly peanut allergy, but this seems way beyond what is necessary. By the time kids are in school, they should be able to know what not to eat if they have one of these allergies.
I have allergic reactions to a number of foods, but the reactions I have are minor.
I have to imagine that despite there being more and more people with such allergies, that those with life threatening allergies are still rare, and among those most would still need to ingest a reasonable amount of the food to which they are allergic before they would have a serious reaction.
Are they worried about some kid who should know better eating some other kid's food and having a reaction? Can someone provide some insight about what exactly they are concerned about?
This leads to the tyranny of the minority. Life does not guarantee a planet free of all risk. Why stop at the school? What about businesses and towns, products in stores, etc. etc.
there should be a new theory called Survival of the Weakest.
I’m not aware of any children harmed during that eight years.
If these children are so brittle they can’t be exposed to normal food products, they should eat in a separate area.
It is preposterous what is taking place these days, with the PC crowd run amuk.
Folks, some people have a light sensitivity. Better find some way to block out the sun quick.
they also need to ban meat because it’s so cruel and causes global warming.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.