Pupil nut allergy: School eases up on restrictions

AP News
Posted: Mar 24, 2011 5:11 PM
Pupil nut allergy: School eases up on restrictions

An elementary school beset by the protests of some parents is scrapping some of the more severe restrictions it had implemented to protect a first-grader with a severe allergy to nuts, such as obliging classmates to rinse their mouths twice daily with water.

Parents were told Wednesday that students at Edgewater Public School, south of Daytona Beach, no longer have to rinse their mouths upon arriving and again after lunch. The school also is easing up on restrictions on classroom snacks and holiday celebrations, though pupils still must wash their hands and faces at school to avoid introducing nut residue into the classrooms.

The measures were put in place recently to protect a first-grader who could develop breathing problems from contact with nuts. Some parents protested outside school two weeks ago, complaining the measures went too far.

"They are trying to work with us. That's what we wanted all along," said Carie Starkey, who had protested with other parents outside the school. Her daughter is in the same class as the pupil with the allergies.

A review of the first-grader's medical plans showed the mouth-rinsing wasn't necessary, school district spokeswoman Nancy Wait said.

A trained dog that can detect peanut residue did a walk-through of the school two weeks ago and found peanut traces in a few desks, books, plastic containers and library furniture. Items that were easy to clean up were taken care of, and school officials are evaluating whether other changes may be needed, according to Wait.