Food allergies are estimated to affect roughly 1 in 25 school-aged children and is a common trigger of anaphylaxis, a severe, potentially fatal, systemic allergic reaction. Studies of children with food allergy indicate that 16 percent to 18 percent have had a reaction in school. As part of our Catholic faith, social responsibility, and sense of compassion, we as a community must be aware of the sensitivities children in our classrooms have to foods and other environmental allergens.
St. Cecilia Catholic School is proactive in creating a safe environment for all students, including those with food allergies. All faculty and staff are trained on how to use an Epi pen. Additionally, all teachers, administrators, and cafeteria staff are informed about students with food allergies.
It is likely that at least one child in every classroom has some sort of food allergy. Please ask your teacher before bringing any sort or birthday party snack or holiday food to see if there is a food allergy in the classroom. If so, please show compassion and bring a food that all can safely enjoy. Alternatively, you may bring non-edible treats for celebration. It can be a daunting task for a youngster to navigate what foods are safe, so please be considerate of their needs. It “takes a village” to look out for our most vulnerable students. Additionally, parents of children with food allergies may want to leave a few “safe foods” with the teacher in case there is any uncertainty.
Another way to protect our children is to avoid sharing food in the cafeteria or classroom. Please educate your child to never share food. For example, some granola bars have nuts while others do not. For a student allergic to nuts, that could be the difference between life and death. Most allergic reactions seen in the clinic are due to unsupervised food sharing in the cafeteria. If your child has a food allergy that requires access to Benadryl and Epinephrin, please have Medication Permission Forms filled out by the physician and bring the medications to the clinic. Additionally, a written individualized treatment plan will be created so that a protocol is in place in the unlikely event of an emergency.