This Policy, which has been reviewed by leading allergy clinicians, contains advice on the storage and use of allergy medication, bullying in the school setting, what to do in an emergency and much more.
Unfortunately, 1 in 3 children with food allergies have experienced bullying because of their condition demonstrating how dangerously misunderstood allergy is. One parent said “My daughter came home from school today upset because a boy in her class keeps telling her he’s going to bring eggs to school and make her eat them so she dies. I know children joke, but it’s not something to joke about is it?”
Over half of children with food allergies have experienced overt physical acts such as having allergens waved in their face or intentionally thrown at them. For others, it’s more about isolation and exclusion…
My 6 year old was the only child in her class not invited to a birthday party today. She actually said to me “mummy I told you no one likes me because I have allergies!”. I am heartbroken, why does she have to be excluded when simply taking the time to understand how to keep her safe could make the world of difference to us both?
It’s not just students who have been excluded because of their allergies. We have also received messages from staff members who have been isolated because their colleagues do not know how to keep them safe…
“I have been banned from the staff room after suffering an anaphylactic reaction to contaminated cutlery. This means I am also not allowed to attend staff briefings (which are held in this room). I’ve expressed how upset this has made me but have been told I am being sensitive and it’s for my own safety. Am I overreacting?”
Schools have a duty of care to their allergic students. Staff need to be trained and educated on how to spot the signs of anaphylaxis and what to do when faced with an emergency. It would also be beneficial for schools to educate both students and staff on the dangers of not taking allergy seriously.
One parent said “I got a call to collect my four year old today, she was complaining of a tummy ache after eating her lunch. She’s anaphylactic to milk and I was surprised to see that she was not being monitored and none of the staff had been watching for signs of an allergic reaction. The school have said that office staff are fully trained in first aid and anaphylaxis and aware of her allergy plan, but what good is that if no one was watching?”
Please take this document to your school and encourage them to work with you to develop a robust policy for your child, so that you can feel reassured about your child’s safety whilst attending school.