Chuck Kuepfer, Spin Cycle
The days of taking peanut butter sandwiches to school are over.
Of course today’s ban is much larger than that and encompasses all school snacks with nuts.
It’s the new reality within the hallowed halls of learning, a reality parents have grown accustomed to and a reality that has spread to locker rooms, summer camps and Sunday school classes across the nation.
And we understand the deadly implications nut allergies can have for some children.
However, not everyone is onside when lunchtime protocol includes a more concentrated effort to pack a lunch, when a ban on eggs and dairy products is required.
That’s when some of the goodwill wears off.
That’s the situation parents of Kindergartners at a Kitchener school found themselves in this month, due to a student with a severe allergy to eggs and dairy products.
It set off a firestorm of media coverage, with the parents of the child at risk of an anaphylactic reaction to such food products caught in the crossfire.
Unfortunately, the issue veered from safeguarding an innocent child’s life to the headaches of having to accommodate one child’s diet.
And that’s when the knives came out.
And that’s when we heard the outcry of those sick and tired of making somebody else’s issue their problem; yet another example of how their rights are infringed upon in our inclusive society of tolerance and accommodation.
It’s that outcry that underlines the very sense of community that is often found lacking in the places we live.
When the stench of our “me-first” culture seeps into the conversation of how best to ensure the safety of one unfortunate child whose allergies are not of the peanut variety.
Ensuring the participation and safety of others in the normal activity of every day life isn’t always convenient.
Great pains have been taken to make sure people of abilities and backgrounds are reasonably accommodated in our society, and for that the greater good is served.
And sometimes “suffering” should be endured in extreme circumstances for the sake of others, especially in cases of life and death.
That’s a life lesson no standardized curriculum will ever teach a child.