Peanut parameters

By Emily Crowe

CNJ STAFF WRITER

ecrowe@cnjonline.com

Peanut allergies can be a serious issue for some children, and local school districts are putting rules into effect to protect the health and safety of those vulnerable students.

According to the Mayo Clinic, peanut allergies are especially common in children, and symptoms can range from minor irritation to life-threatening anaphylaxis.

In some cases, allergic reaction can occur if dust or aerosols containing peanuts are inhaled.

Clovis Municipal Schools discontinued purchasing and using peanuts and peanut products in its schools two or three years ago, according to Paul Klein, director of student nutrition.

“For the last couple years, we’ve been peanut free,” he said.

While the district reserves the right to designate peanut-free zones in school cafeterias, lobbies and classrooms, Klein said no school has had to do so thus far.

As far as what peanut products students can bring into the schools, Klein said that is a building-level decision. The same goes for food brought into Portales schools.

“Those situations are controlled by the principal,” said Klein. “They set up parameters of what they can and can’t bring in.”

Shirley King, director of food services at Portales Municipal Schools, said the district also eliminated peanut products around the beginning of last school year as a proactive measure to prevent peanut-related health issues.

Klein said there has not been a serious peanut-related health scare among students since the rule was put into place.

In addition, Clovis Schools has asked parents and guardians to refrain from sending peanuts or peanut-containing products for classroom parties or snacks.