6-Year-Old's Allergies Spark Debate Over Peanut Bans In School

Saturday, April 7th 2007, 6:47 pm
By: News On 6

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) A 6-year-old's extreme allergy is pitting concerns about the boy's safety against the right of his schoolmates to enjoy an American classic -- a peanut butter sandwich.

A nationwide increase in peanut allergies is prompting a debate playing out in his small elementary school in Connecticut and across the country, including Oklahoma.

But while some school districts have decided to bar anyone from bringing peanut products to school, others say such rules are unfair to the rest of the students.

An estimated 12 million Americans have food allergies that are potentially life-threatening. More than 3 million are allergic to peanuts or tree nuts.

The number of schools across the country that have banned peanuts doubled from 1997 to 2002.

Earlier this year, an Elementary School in Fayetteville, Arkansas, told parents to not send their children to school with lunches containing peanut butter, and officials removed all foods with peanuts from the cafeteria.

School officials in Ardmore, and in a Nebraska district have taken peanut products off all school menus.