I am writing in response to Betsy Harvey’s recent letter in which she wrote Carmel Clay Schools Supt. Jeff Swensson’s food policies are too restrictive at school parties and events.
She describes she has yet to hear of any remarkable nut allergy reactions and the parents have been able to throw parties without killing any kids. I wonder if she heard about the young teenager at a gifted school in the Chicago area that died at her school Christmas party. I wonder if she heard about the first grader who died in Virginia last month after sharing a single peanut on the playground. I wonder if sheheard about the Iowa second grader last week whose life was saved by a revolutionary use ofextracorporeal membrane oxygenation (essentially a heart-lung bypass machine) after the child ate one single bite of another child’s granola bar during a classroom party.
I share Ms. Harvey’s ideology the food police should not be invading every aspect of our lives. I agree with her parents are highly capable of creating healthy food choices for their children. However, unless you have witnessed your own child struggle to breathe and fight for life because of ingesting a small amount of food protein, it is very difficult to understand the absolute dread and fear of sending a highly food-allergic young child into a school party.
I will soon send a severely food-allergic child to kindergarten in Carmel schools. I am extremely grateful for Dr. Swennson’s food policy that seems to consider how vulnerable an increasing number of children are to facing a very possible sudden death. I am sorry if homemade treats are necessary for “classroom party fun,” but I know I am not alone in that I never imagined my son wouldn’t be able to breathe after just one bite of food.