November 15 2012
Culture of Alarmism: Going Nuts Over Nuts
My son was pretty disappointed when I told him he wouldn't be getting a PB&J in his lunch box but he adjusted quickly (which I expect; lack of peanut butter for lunch should not be a soul crushing reality for a child). I can certainly sympathize with parents of children who suffer from nut allergies. It can't be easy to avoid peanuts and for children with severe allergies, peanuts can be downright life threatening. So, yes, I will do my part to limit exposure to any children with these sorts of allergies as I hope most parents view the nut allergy issue.
But one Canadian mom is testing my sympathy.
Donna Giustizia, a mother of two, says the oak trees near her teenager’s school in Vaughan, Ontario, are a health hazard, and even though the school is nut-free, she says school administrators aren’t protecting their students.
“A false sense of security is putting a sign on the door that says ‘nut-free,’ and there’s nuts all over the place,” Giustizia told The Star.
Giustizia says the trees around St. Stephen Catholic Elementary School are a deadly threat for kids with anaphylactic food allergies — allergies that cause shock.
She appeared before the Vaughan, Ontario, City Council last week to plead for the removal of the trees, saying : “The acorns are not only presenting a risk to the tree-nut-allergic students, but it is also becoming a great cause of anxiety among all students with nut allergies.” Giustizia also said, according to The Star, that “acorns can also be used to bully and torment children.”
What’s surprising to me is that Giustizia says she's not suggesting the entire town become nut-free. Why not? Why not insist the town cut down all nut-producing trees. After all, is it not the town's responsibility to ensure the safety of all citizens as best it can? Won't it be on the Mayor's head if a child with a nut allergy stumbles upon an acorn? Why not ban grocery stores from selling nut products? How about we ban Reese’s peanut butter cups from Halloween; after all, you never know if the little trick-or-treater at your door has a nut allergy.
It doesn't matter to Mrs. Guistizia that the medical director of allergy and asthma care at New York University has never heard of any reports of children having an allergic reaction by playing with acorns off the ground. Nope, that's not important when you're living in the culture of alarmism. Nowadays, one need only suggest that there could be a danger to children and you'll have the regulators at your beck and call. Nor does it occur to Mrs. Guistizia that it is perhaps better for her to home school her children if they are so severely allergic that the mere presence of landscaping poses a risk to her child.
I wouldn’t be surprised if the school caved to nut-slayer Giustizia’s demands. Unless another group of nuts gets involved.
Quick! Somebody call the tree huggers!