Health Desk
11:52 am
Thu March 6, 2014

Student Food Allergies Change Classroom Policies

Credit flickr/stevendepolo

About one-third of teachers are keeping food out of their classrooms to avoid problems with students who suffer from allergies and other health issues.  

Horace Mann, a Springfield based insurance company,  conducted a nationwide survey of educators that includes questions about food policies. 

The survey shows in an average elementary school classroom with about 24 students, teachers say they have 1 to 2 students with food allergies.

"The numbers aren't huge of students with allergies in a classroom , but those few kids, you don't want to leave them out when it comes to snack time, birthday parties or rewards," said Michelle Eccles, a Horace Mann spokesperson.  

For some students, the allergies are so severe it can be a life and death situation.

"Someone can bring a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. They get it out for lunch and you have one of those airborne peanut allergies. You didn't have anything to do with that. As a teacher, you didn't know that child brought that. But then that becomes a problem," she said. 

The survey also found teachers often don't know a child has allergies beforehand.  They encourage parents to be more forthcoming and make teachers aware.

For disclosure purposes, Michelle Eccles is the sister of WUIS General Manager Randy Eccles.

More details on food allergies from the CDC.

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