Allergic Children Bullied
Posted by Shifrah on Friday, October 01, 2010
A recent survey published in the Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology about the frequency with which children with allergies are bullied has sparked outrage and debate. According to the survey, a quarter of children, teens, and young adults report being teased, harassed, or bullied, reports MSNBC. Thirty-five percent of children over 5 reported such bullying, and among sixth through tenth graders, the number was even higher, at 85 percent.

The teasing takes many forms, with verbal taunts and threats being the most prevalent. But, alarmingly, for 35 percent of survey respondents, the harassing took a physical form – everything from waving food with peanuts in front of the face of an allergic child to purposefully contaminating something with the allergen.

Of course, the emotional impact is detrimental, but even more, some of these allergic children have allergies so severe that even breathing peanut particles could set off a life-threatening reaction. The consequences of such bullying could very easily be death. And with the number of food allergic children on the rise (Centers for Disease Control data shows an 18 percent increase between 1997 and 2007), this type of bullying is likely to become increasingly common.

CNN also picked up the story, relating stories of allergic children being bullied. For example, director of Gina Crowe describes how children may go all day without eating because they don't want to get harassed for eating different foods from the other children.

The situation brings up several issues: One matter that comes up is the ongoing debate about how schools should handle the safety of allergic children, specifically, how should they address not only the allergies themselves, but such malicious and dangerous bullying? Additionally, the survey sheds light on the ignorance that many still have regarding the nature and severity of food allergies, highlighting the need for continued and broad education, especially as food allergies continue to become more and more common.

On 10/7/2010 jacquelinenh wrote:
This study is so depressing and angering -- and it's a call to arms for moms everywhere! The only solution is to partner with schools to make sure the environment is safe for all. In addition to food allergies, chemical sensitivities run rampant in schools. It's so frustrating!
On 11/1/2010 jacquelinenh wrote:
This study really comes as no surprise, it just underscores how important it is to be involved in our children's schools. Here are some good tips from Doris Rapp love her!:
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