BANGOR, Maine – Bangor High School is going all out to keep peanuts off school property to protect a freshman student with a severe food allergy.
The cafeteria staff is ridding the kitchen and lunchroom of any traces of peanuts, peanut butter or other foods that might trigger a potentially fatal reaction in the unnamed student. School vending machines have been emptied of snacks with nuts, including granola bars and bags of peanuts.
The school last week sent a letter home to parents asking that they refrain from packing peanuts or other nuts or nut products in their children's lunches. The letter also asked parents to make sure their children wash their faces and hands thoroughly before coming to school if they've had contact with nuts in the morning.
"We're taking every precaution we can," Principal Norris Nickerson said.
Student allergies to peanuts and other foods have affected schools in many Maine communities in recent years.
Public schools are required by law to make "reasonable accommodations and adjustments" for all students, according to Murray Shulman, director of pupil services for the city of Bangor.
While some people may question the need to adhere to ban on peanuts, Shulman said, "the vast majority of parents understand that [allergies] are life-threatening circumstances, and they cooperate."