Bullying...with Food Allergies

Hard to believe, sad to believe but apparently this is happening.  From the NY Times (bold mine):

Any difference can set schoolchildren apart from their peers and potentially make them a target for bullying. But a severe food allergy is a unique vulnerability: It takes only one lunch or cupcake birthday party for other children to know which classmates cannot eat nuts, eggs, milk or even a trace of wheat. It can take longer for them to grasp how frightening it is to live with a life-threatening allergy.

Surprisingly, classmates may prey on this vulnerability, plotting to switch a child’s lunch to see if she gets sick, for example, or spitting milk at a child’s face and causing a swift anaphylactic reaction.

In a recent survey of 251 sets of parents and children with food allergies, published in Pediatrics in January, roughly a third of the children reported being bullied for their allergies. Parents knew about the threatening behavior only half the time.

Food Allergy Research & Education PSA on the issue.


Heidi said…
Thank you for bringing more attention to this increasingly important issue. There are 5.9 million kids in the U.S. with food allergies, and this number is growing every year. That's at least 1 in 13 children!
Anonymous said…
I am sure the bullying happens, but my experience has been having my kid request that the treats I send in be gluten-free or whatever other allergy applies in her classroom. She said many of the kids want to bring treats that accommodate everyone.
Anonymous said…
We had a parent bullying incident over this, with one parent deliberately sending in unusable treats after being repeatedly asked - then told - not to do so.
It was a bizarre situation.

Oh my
Anonymous said…
I have an issue with the use of the word "bullying" in this article. If a child is being teased or mocked for not being able to eat nuts, dairy, etc., then I agree that the child is being bullied. However, if other kids are purposefully putting a child's life in danger, then they have moved far beyond bullying and are now assaulting the child and should be arrested and/or psychologically evaluated.

-Another Stat

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