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Food allergies aren’t funny, but here’s a SWAT for a bill that’s a joke

Submitted by on Thursday, 8 October 2009 No Comment

You have a nasty habit of speeding. You know your break-neck tendencies put others’ lives in danger, but you do it anyway.

But then along comes a proposal that would pay you to not speed. Sounds like a good deal, eh? Take the money to do what you were supposed to do anyway.

Sounds like pure Oscar Mayer to me. And it also sounds a lot like New York Sen. Charles Schumer’s bill that would create national guidelines for dealing with food allergies and pay schools $50,000 if they agree to follow them.

Not that I’m against national guidelines. It’d be great if Congress wanted to pass those, but then districts would start howling about “unfunded mandates.” Not that there should be a ton of expense involved in doing what the law already requires them to do.

Can’t find that law? Here’s a hint: Check the amendments to the Americans With Disabilities Act Congress passed barely a year ago. The law now specifies that food allergies are included. That means a mechanism already exists to allow individual education plans should parents choose that route.

Does it work perfectly? It’s a bit early to tell – the changes didn’t go into effect until January – but I’d guess not. There’s always going to be the set that thinks food allergies aren’t real. Those folks aren’t going to be interested in the grant money.

Even  before that law, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which has its fingers in most schools via the lunch program, already had a wealth of information available for school cafeterias. Sounds like free training’s available to schools that wish to avail themselves of it.

In three years in preschool and two in public school, we’ve never had to draft a formal plan. The preschool had ample room to store Big Guy’s homemade goodies, and his public school teachers have taken great care to ask what he can have and to involve me in the early planning stages of any food project. From preschool to first grade, personnel have been trained to recognize reactions and what to do in the event of one.

I realize I’ve been lucky. Many parents of children with allergies have had to fight bloody battles to protect their children, and should the day come that I need to, I’m prepared to do the same.

I’m not opposed in the least to spending money on research. But, Sen. Schumer, Stop Wasting America’s Time with grants that are nothing more than thinly disguised bribes aimed at getting schools to do what they’re legally required to do anyway.

Know of someone who deserves a SWAT? Click here to make a nomination.

Copyright 2009 Debra Legg. All rights reserved.

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