The Allergy Superheroes have joined forces with the No Appetite for Food Allergy Bullying movement. What is this movement all about?
“No Appetite for Bullying aims to make a positive, lasting impact on the lives of children, teenagers and students with food allergies, by encouraging them, their parents, and peers to be voices against food allergy bullying. The campaign is a partnership between kaléo and national food allergy advocacy organizations, Allergy & Asthma Network (the Network), Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Connection Team (FAACT), Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE), Kids With Food Allergies (KFA), along with the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (ACAAI).”
Bullying of any sort is unacceptable, however, when you add a food allergy into the mix the results can be disastrous and potentially deadly. It is blatantly easy for kids to get their hands on another child’s allergen. Most parents wouldn’t think twice about a kid wanting to take a specific food to school. Not to mention how many allergens are present in a school’s lunch program every day.
Above all, we believe that kids don’t typically understand the severity of food allergies. They think of it as a harmless prank or just bullying in general. One Kaléo study found that “87% of parents who believe children are bullied due to food allergies think that if food allergy bullying happens, it takes place in school.” This is why food allergy education is so important in schools.
Our Experience with Food Allergy Bullying
Thankfully and luckily, we haven’t had any major issues at school from food allergy bullying. However, our youngest son told us about a situation he had at lunch recently.
Our peanut-allergic son “Kal” sat across from a friend in the school cafeteria. The friend pulled out something that Kal couldn’t really see. He thought they were some kind of tree-nuts. Kal asked and the friend said they were peanuts and put them in front of his face. Kal told him not to do that because of his allergies and moved down the table. He also told a teacher that was monitoring the cafeteria. Eileen spoke with his teacher and she talked to the friend about the incident. (We kept a calm and cool head about this because there is a Wrong Way to Approach Food Allergy Awareness.) This seemed more of a misunderstanding than something he tried to do intentionally. Kal hasn’t had any further issues with him.
Food Allergy Education Resources
So what is a parent of a food allergic kid to do? First, education for awareness is key. Here are some of our favorite resources to bring into a school or classroom to help explain what a food allergy is.
KFA – Share their Teal Classroom Kit With Your Child’s School to Promote Food Allergy Awareness. The Teal Classroom Kit contains resources for teachers and other staff to promote food allergy awareness at school.
FAACT – The teacher-designed PowerPoint presentations, lesson plans, and activities in this free curriculum can be used to introduce your students to common food allergens and safety protocols while encouraging empathy for classmates with a food allergy.
FARE – The Be a PAL: Protect A Life™ From Food Allergies education program can help children learn how to be a good friend to kids with food allergies.
Kyle Dine – Kyle Dine performs food allergy awareness assemblies for elementary schools across North America. His brand of fun and educational performances uses music, puppets, and games to engage audiences with age-appropriate content. He has released two CDs and an educational DVD which was funded through Kickstarter.
No Appetite for Food Allergy Bullying Resources
What happens when food allergy bullying starts? Here are some great resources to help you and your child get through it.
FARE – The “It’s Not a Joke” campaign can help you learn more about food allergies and how to prevent food allergy bullying, a growing problem in schools across the country.
Spokin – This is the one guide we hope you never have to use, but if your food allergic child is bullied, here is everything you’ll need. If your child is one of the nearly 25% of children bullied, (a rate that rises to 50% starting in sixth grade,) emotions will inevitably kick into high gear. Clear thinking and knowing your rights is how to prevail. Mary Vargas, a disability rights attorney and allergy mom, tells us exactly how to respond in the event your child is bullied.
We have no appetite for Food Allergy Bullying. How about you?