Student Well-Being Federal File

Food-Allergy Issue Is of Special Interest to One U.S. Senator

By David J. Hoff — May 20, 2008 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

With the number of children who have food allergies growing, one prominent senator with personal experience with the problem wants schools to be ready to intervene in potentially life-threatening situations.

Sen. Christopher J. Dodd, D-Conn., is sponsoring a bill that would set federal guidelines explaining how to ensure children don’t come into contact with allergens and how to intervene if they do. The bill also would authorize grants to help schools follow the guidelines.

Sen. Dodd, the chairman of the Children and Families Subcommittee, held a May 14 hearing on the bill.

“Obviously, having a child with food allergies heightens my involvement in it,” said Sen. Dodd, whose 6-year-old daughter has gone into anaphylactic shock four times after encounters with peanuts.

“Each time they go through that next [allergic reaction], it will be more severe,” Sen. Dodd said at a news conference.

At the hearing, researchers said the number of children age 5 and under identified as being allergic to peanuts doubled between 1997 and 2002.

Schools need to take a variety of steps to help those children, said Donna Kosiorowski, a school nurse supervisor in the 6,500-student West Haven, Conn., school district.

For example, they should set aside tables in the cafeteria where foods with peanuts won’t be eaten because some children can be sent into a severe allergic reaction merely by smelling them. Educators need to know how to recognize anaphylactic shock and how to intervene when it occurs, Ms. Kosiorowski said.

Last month, the House passed a bill that would require the Department of Health and Human Services to establish guidelines for schools to address students’ food allergies. But the bill doesn’t include any federal money to assist schools that choose to follow the guidelines.

A version of this article appeared in the May 21, 2008 edition of Education Week


Classroom Technology Webinar Building Better Blended Learning in K-12 Schools
The pandemic and the increasing use of technology in K-12 education it prompted has added renewed energy to the blended learning movement as most students are now learning in school buildings (and will likely continue

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Student Well-Being Calif. Parents Who Knowingly Sent Child to School With COVID Could Face Penalty
The parents knowingly sent their COVID-19 positive child and a sibling to school, causing a coronavirus outbreak, officials said.
3 min read
Students walk past a social distancing reminder sign while heading to the nurse's office to be tested for COVID-19, during summer school at the E.N. White School in Holyoke, Mass., on Wednesday, Aug. 4, 2021.
Students walk past a social distancing reminder sign while heading to the nurse's office to be tested for COVID-19 during summer school at the E.N. White School in Holyoke, Mass., on Aug. 4, 2021.
Charles Krupa/AP
Student Well-Being Omicron or No, Schools Should Prepare for a Pandemic Winter
Here are answers to questions about the new strain, which is considered potentially more infectious than Delta.
4 min read
Leader holding telescope and looking ahead while on top of ladder leaning on a large virus pathogen
iStock/Getty Images Plus
Student Well-Being Opinion Want Students to 'Build a Better World?' Try Culturally Responsive Social-Emotional Learning
The practice includes expanding students’ networks and developing their awareness of what it feels, looks, and sounds like to manage emotions.
19 min read
Images shows colorful speech bubbles that say "Q," "&," and "A."
Student Well-Being Opinion Social-Emotional Learning and the Perils of Teaching as Therapy
SEL risks overburdening teachers with responsibilities they aren’t trained for, compromising their ability to build academic skills.
4 min read
Image shows a multi-tailed arrow hitting the bullseye of a target.
DigitalVision Vectors/Getty