New frontiers in disability accommodation: classmate mouth-rinsing

by Walter Olson on March 23, 2011

Florida: “To protect the [6-year-old] girl [with a severe peanut allergy], students in her class at Edgewater Elementary School are required to wash their hands before entering the classroom in the morning and after lunch, and rinse out their mouths, [Volusia County school spokeswoman Nancy] Wait said, and a peanut-sniffing dog checked out the school during last week’s spring break.” [Reuters]

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Found a Peanut, Found a Peanut….. | Raised On Hoecakes
04.13.11 at 6:34 pm

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1 Allan 03.23.11 at 8:46 am

The parents of the other children are in a pickle.

They can comply…

Or they can protest by not complying. For example, sending their kids with peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to school. But then the little girl dies.

This is a tough one.

2 Dirk D 03.23.11 at 9:04 am

“But then the little girl dies.”

Or, more likely, the little girl lives a long life

3 Bumper 03.23.11 at 9:49 am

But there is a new and seemingly successful treatment for peanut allergies, so are the parents of the afflicted negligent for not seeking treatment. Allergies to peanuts are every bit as life threatening as cancer and in those cases the courts have stepped in and said give the child the treatment, even if the outcome is unknown.

4 MJS 03.23.11 at 9:52 am

Take a Benadryl-problem solved!

I had to carry an epi-pen around with me for a time due to severe allergies. I would not think of inconveniencing an entire institution.

5 KDP 03.23.11 at 10:08 am

I wonder how it would play out if all other students were kept at home, leaving the lone little girl rattling around in the school? No students, no peanut “residue”. Little girl is safe.

6 Ed 03.23.11 at 10:14 am

What happens when this girl and her family go to the grocery store? Do they remove all peanut products prior to them entering? What about the mall, Disneyland, airport, or even the street? If her allergy is so severe that others must rinse their mouths to be in her presence, then she is safe nowhere.

7 Mark Biggar 03.23.11 at 10:16 am

Looks like another case of “unreasonable” accommodation. Put the girl in a spacesuit, why should all the other students be unreasonably burdened.

8 E-Bell 03.23.11 at 10:19 am

My brother had a severe (life-threatening) peanut allergy as a child. I’ve never heard of one this extreme. Seriously, washing out their mouths?

9 Squirrels 03.23.11 at 11:12 am

If the parents care at all about the social development of their child, they’ll find some other solution, such as homeschooling or epi-pens, instead of forcing her classmates to radically alter their behavior. Unfortunately for the girl, there’s no ADA mandate that says she can’t be shunned by the other children (or their parents).

10 Mark 03.23.11 at 2:15 pm

Can one force a child to have a fluid (non-medical) put in his or her mouth on a daily basis as a condition of attending school? Some parents would find this unreasonable for a variety of reasons (opposition to forced intake of a non-medical substance, concerns about harm to their children — who is double checking that the mouthwash is exactly that? — opposition to forced intake of a sugary substance, etc). Just curious.

11 DensityDuck 03.23.11 at 2:57 pm

I do kind of agree with the people in the comments who are asking what she’s doing out in public if her allergies are severe to that degree.

12 Smart Dude 03.23.11 at 10:30 pm

This appears to be a case of Munchausen by Proxy, manifesting in an educational setting.

Does every human livng in Volusia County, Florida have to regularly be de-peanut-ified? Do “peanut sniffing dogs” regularly patrol the neigborhood?

Or do this girl’s alleged hyper-allergies only appear in the school setting?

13 Frank 03.24.11 at 8:34 am

“This appears to be a case of Munchausen by Proxy”

How so?

14 Gunnutmegger 03.24.11 at 9:24 am

I’ll give up my peanut butter sandwich when you pry it from my cold, dead hands.

15 Smart Dude 03.24.11 at 4:42 pm

Educational Munchausen by Proxy (my opinion and my definition):

The parent or caregiver misleads the school authorities exaggerating, fabricating, or induce symptoms of an illness in the child. As a result, the school makes extreme and bizarre accommodations, which cause great distress in staff and other students.

The parent perpetrators feel satisfied by gaining the attention and sympathy of all who come into contact with themserlves and their child. The parents gain satisfaction from being able to deceive individuals that they consider to be more important and powerful than themselves.

16 KipEsquire 03.26.11 at 10:06 am

There’s also the pesky fact that “inhalation-induced analphylaxis” is a fiction; there is only “ingestion-induced analphylaxis.”

http://www.allergysafecommunities.ca/assets/common_beliefs_faan_2003.pdf

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