• Tue, Nov 13 2012

Peanut Allergy Mom Of The Year Wants Oak Trees Removed From Her Child’s School Because They Spew Acorns

Peanut allergy moms, take a huge exhale. Your concern for your kid’s health, despite how some may parody your worry as looney, has officially be topped. No need to hold back at birthday parties or whip out those EpiPens with hesitation because your own well-intentioned freakouts have been trumped. Kindly direct your mocking friends and family to the story of Donna Giustizia, a mother of two, who wants oak trees removed from the surrounding area of her child’s school — because they spew acorns. Remind your teasing neighbors every day that your panics over nut-free birthday cakes and playdate snacks could be much, much worse.

The Record.com reports that the trees in question are owned by the City of Vaughan in Ontario — not St. Stephen Catholic Elementary School where her one child is a student. The mother claims that although the school is a designated nut-free zone, such claims aren’t entirely true given the acorns:

“A false sense of security is putting a sign on the door that says nut-free and there’s nuts all over the place,” said Giustizia…“I’m not a crazy mom, I’m not asking for anything that’s not already there.”

Giustizia would also like to couple that “I’m not a crazy mom” disclaimer with the assertion that she isn’t insisting that Vaughan become a nut-free city (well, thanks!). But she has taken the personal initiative to appear before Vaughan’s committee all of last week to ask that the trees be removed. Understandably, some are concerned for the hypothetical consequences in appeasing Giustizia:

Several councillors at the meeting questioned the precedent that removing the trees might set. Thornhill/Concord Councillor Sandra Yeung Racco wondered whether removing these trees would mean having to remove oak trees from other public properties where children with allergies might be exposed.

Meanwhile, Giustizia insists that the acorns can be triggers for anaphylactic reactions, and even spins some hypothetical scenarios about bullying opportunities:

“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 wrote in her request to appear before the committee, adding that acorns “can also be used to bully and torment children.”

The Record reached out to  Dr. Paul Keith, an allergist at McMaster University, who says that you’d have to consume these acorns to have any kind of severe allergic reaction, adding some weak and hesitant validity to Giustizia’s bullying storyline. Yet, York Catholic District School Board maintains that they are already “going above and beyond” with the help of custodians and administrators who reportedly “routinely” go and clean up the damn acorns. But it seems even that effort isn’t enough to appease this peanut allergy mom.

I believe a crown, a scepter, or at the very least, a T-shirt bearing “Peanut Allergy Mom Of The Year” is in order. The title has certainly been achieved. Oh, and “I’m not crazy mom” has to be in there somewhere too.

Sorry! This poll is now closed.

(photo: Dionisvera/ Shutterstock)

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  • Andrea

    There really aren’t enough WTFs in the world for me to comment on this.

  • MommyK

    That is insane. I have a severe nut allergy and have played with acorns as a kid.

    • Justme

      Thank God you survived childhood. All those years spent playing outside with the trees and you never knew they were just assassins waiting to strike at any moment. Damn trees.

    • MommyK

      Hahahahaha! I know, I’m a miracle.

  • Michelle

    Look I kind of get it. When your child has a life threatening allergy you fear everything that could possibly hurt them. It really must be terrifying not knowing if your child so much as stepping on an acorn could lead to anaphylaxis.

    But you know what, that’s really not anyone else’s problem but your own. You have to be responsible for educating your child as to what they must stay away from. Schools should make reasonable accommodations and it seems like they have gone above and beyond already.

  • LiteBrite

    Remember Jeff Foxworthy’s “You might be a redneck if….?” I propose an article titled “You might be a crazy mom if….”

  • Brandy

    She, and you all, do realize that peanuts are NOT nuts, right? They are legumes. They do NOT grow on trees. This is why many peanut allergy sufferers are also highly allergic to soy, not to other types of nuts.

    You can be allergic to peanuts AND nuts, allergic to just peanuts, or allergic to just nuts–but one allergy doesn’t necessarily equal the other.

    • Mick

      In crazy mom’s defense she did say that she’s concerned about children who are allergic to tree nuts as she is on the allergy committee at the school.

    • Andrea

      OMFG, you are kidding me? That is a THING? They actually formed an allergy committee?????
      *facepalm*

  • Hyperbolme

    This mom is suggesting an extreme solution, yes. Would I do it? No. But I seriously bristle at the tone of this article. She’s a mom protecting her kid. I have many friends who have children with severe food allergies. Sorry it’s such a drag to be inconvenienced and that you’re offended by this mom’s drama, but recently a little girl DIED from eating something at school with peanuts. Imagine for a second your child with their throat closing up and muster some compassion.

    • Jessie

      Maybe she should teach her kid not to eat the acorns. Kids get hit by cars, should everyone stop using cars?

      Get a grip.

    • Another Jessie

      Seriously, it’s called teaching the child to avoid their allergens and know what they look like so they don’t touch them. My sister developed an allergy to our pet rabbit after owning him for five years, and did we get rid of him? Force an innocent animal out of a loving home just because of something he couldn’t control? No. My sister learned not to touch the rabbit without taking her allergy medicine first so she wouldn’t have a reaction.

      I know many allaergies are much more serious than that, but the point is the same: Expecting the world to babysit or cater to the needs of your kid just because they have an allergy is crazy.

    • Tsitika

      As someone who works with the small animal department of a public
      shelter, I’d just like to say THANK YOU for not giving up on your
      rabbit!
      Besides “our kid won’t take care of it anymore”, allergies
      is the number one reason for abandoning small pets to our shelter. Most
      of them could be managed without destroying an animal’s life, but people
      just don’t care. Thanks for being a great home for your bunny :)

    • Andrea

      First of all, this is just an “inconvenience”. And inconvenience is what the school is ALREADY DOING which is to routinely sweep the acorns.

      Second of all, removing whole healthy trees that are vital to the environment and the ecosystem all to protect a TEENAGER that should definitely know better is beyond an “inconvenience”; it is being a psycho control freak.

      Third of all, some research on the internet has informed me that contact with acorns does not, in fact, cause an allergic reaction. You have to actually EAT them AND be allergic to that particular source; which is soy and NOT nuts. I should think a 13 year old would know not to eat acorns. My nephew is four and he knows that already.

      Fourth of all, the world does NOT, in fact, revolve around peanut allergies. Kids should (and are) taught how to deal with it instead of demanding that the whole world bend to their will.

    • Hyperbolme

      I said the mom was extreme. I do not think the trees should be uprooted. My point is there is absolutely no cause for mocking a concerned parent’s request. It’s up for proposal–not much chance of her getting her request granted. Problem solved.

      The inconvenience I refer about isn’t the trees. It’s this general sentiment (see several comments) that a kid’s allergies–even the most severe cases–are annoying and “not my problem” and concerned parents are “crazy”. Once commenter mocked the idea of an allergy committee. With 40-plus kids with allergies in one setting, it may be necessary.

      I do not know where the breakdown in communication occurred, but a 7-year-old kid died at school from a peanut allergy. I can feel compassion for parents with children who have severe allergies. My first instinct when someone feels anxiety about their kid is not to mock them and get indignant and vitriolic. That’s all.

  • K.

    I see. And if my child is allergic to bee stings, does that mean that I can petition the school to remove all pollinating plants? What if my kid is allergic to the sun? Blackout windows for the classrooms?

    Good lord.

  • Ordinaryperson

    Personally, I even find the whole nut-free zone for an entire school to be a bit ridiculous. Shouldn’t these children be taught to take responsibility for their allergies? I had an acute shellfish allergy as a child, and I grew up in a lobster fishing village. There was no shellfish-free zone in my elementary school, I had to learn to be aware of food around me.

    • AugustW

      I work in a few elementary schools around my town as part of Head Start, and they have “nut-free” classrooms. They have a big red sign on the door that says “child with a nut allergy inside” or something like that.
      Even that isn’t always enough though, because last week we had a volunteer give a peanut butter bar to a little boy with an allergy.

    • Ordinaryperson

      That sucks, but it was a bar. Bars are notoriously peanut ridden, a red hot no-no for anyone with an allergy. The first words out of the boys mouth should have been are there nuts in this? Problem solved.

    • AugustW

      I should have been more specific. The child in question was a Head Start kid, and he was 2, maybe 2 1/2.

    • Ordinaryperson

      Oh for christ’s sake, that’s not a school aged kid, my two year old can’t even say her name right let alone explain an allergy. Of course preschool aged children should have fucking nut-free zones, I’m not retarded. I just don’t think that children who are old enough to speak for themselves need the same protection a kid in diapers should get.

  • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

    She is definitely out of her tree, man.

  • DePretendah
    • Goodgod

      omg! I was holding off on thinking she is crazy because I thought..well, elementary school kids, maybe they don’t realize how serious their allergy is. Teenagers should know to stay away from things that cause them harm!

    • rangertough

      I think she is the head of the allergy committee at the school and there are 40+ kids with allergies, not just her own kids – presumably her experiences with her own kids prompted her to become more involved at the school.

    • meteor_echo

      Stop. The fuck. Stealing my username and posting under it. You’re fucking ridiculous.

    • meteor_echo

      Okay, I’m sorry for being pissed off. Apparently, there’s a comments
      section glitch that displays other people’s comments under my username.
      So, I thought it was another crazy troll from Lindsay’s article about
      single mothers.

  • C.J.

    Children need to be taught to manage their own allergens. Unless an allergy is airborne which is rare they shouldn’t be banned, except maybe in the primary grades. My daughter has a friend that has PKU. She can’t eat an anything with protein, aspertame and a bunch of other things. It can cause seizures and brain damage amoung other things. Her mother doesn’t expect the other children to not bring food to school that her daughter can’t eat. She taught her daughter what she has to avoid. She was four when we met her. Even at that age she could go through a buffet and know exactly what she could have and how much, her mother always follwed her to make sure but knew how to choose her own food. They have to count her food everyday. She can only have certain amounts of some things or her levels will be off and her body will be damaged. Her doctors always comment that her levels are always stable which is unusual because it is such a hard condition to manage. This child spends time at our house. Her mother sends her food with her and I have a list of foods she can have outside of that and how much. Many people are afraid to watch her because her condition is very complicated. I don’t have any fear having her over. Yes I have taken the time to be educated about her condition but more importantly I know she can handle herself. I have never even had to call her mother with a question while she was here. Even at school there are never any problems. She has been offered food she can’t have and knew not to eat it. The point is this child learned by four years old what she could and couldn’t have and she knows what to do when her parents aren’t around. She will be better off because of it. We aren’t doing kids any favours by putting them in bubbles and not teaching them to manage their own bodies. Eventually there will come a time where they will be exposed and mom and dad won’t be there, they need to know what to do on their own. As far as the bullying aspect, that school has serious problems if they are worried about kids shoving acorns down each others throats. That’s dangerous even without an allergy. I would hope that’s just the mother’s over-active imagination to think that would actually happen.

  • meteor_echo

    She’s probably the biggest source of nuttery around her kids – the trees are irreplaceable for the local ecology, and she wants to get rid of strong, healthy oaks for her kids? What. The. Fuck. Haul your kids over to another school, lady!

  • Samantha Easter

    I think, like the other comments, that the kid needs to guard him/herself. Of course the school should be informed, teachers should have an epipen handy etc but it isn’t the schools responsibility to guard against everything. I went to school in the Southwest and we had oleander on school ground because it is cheap, beautiful and will grow easily. Oleander is also very poisonous but no kid died. It wouldn’t be the schools responsibility to destroy all the oleander everywhere. If the mother is this concerned, perhaps she should homeschool, maybe even in a plastic bubble. I think the restrictions are outrageous. When did we get to the point where we have ‘nut free schools’ and ‘perfume free workplaces’.

    • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

      Let’s be fair, here. Perfume can make a sensitive person quite ill, from literally across the room. I do everything within my power to minimize my own exposure, but there comes a point when I have to ask the offender to please stop wearing perfume, because I can’t breathe. Feel free to wear natural plant oils (might I suggest a light lavender or vanilla), but please, please, don’t wear that synthetic crap!

    • Justme

      I have a student who is allergic to the alcohol found in many body sprays and perfumes. She has had a few reactions this year in the locker room due to the other girls spraying themselves after a work-out. Should we ban all body sprays and perfumes? Nope. With 80 7th grade girls in the locker room there is no way the adults who are supervising can make sure that NO ONE is spraying anything. The mother asked if her daughter could dress for Athletics in the nurses office and therefore not be exposed to the locker room at all. Simple solution without disrupting the lives of others.

    • Tinyfaeri

      The problem is fair to whom? I’m sorry you have the problem, and I can empathize… but outside a medical clinic/office or hospital, imposing office-wide scent bans because one person in an office is highly sensitive is just as impractical as banning peanut butter in a whole school because one child has an allergy.

    • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

      Ah, but nobody needs to wear perfume, and there are plenty of alternatives to the mass-produced synthetic “scents” that some people like to marinate in. I offered up a compromise, even — natural scented oils.

      The “nut free” thing is ridiculous because it imposes quite heavily on everyone else, restricting what they are allowed to eat because of one person — a person who has to come into physical contact with the allergen in order to be affected — and food (like breathing), is 100% necessary to live.

    • Tinyfaeri

      An argument could be made for the necessity of deodorant and air-fresheners in a bathroom, but no, no one physically requires perfume to live. No one physically requires peanut butter to live, either, it’s a convenience just like controlling how you smell as a part of how you choose to present yourself is a convenience.
      I’m pretty sure people with peanut allergies would disagree with your assessment of how dangerous it is to be around peanuts in their many forms (secondary contact, etc). It all depends on what side of what fence you’re sitting. You have smell sensitivity, so to you everyone should of course understand that and accomodate your special needs, preferably without grumbling. Someone with a peanut allergy believes the same about their special needs. It is the same thing.
      And if you ban some scents, you have to ban all of them – there isn’t an enforceable way for a company or organization to ban synthetic fragrances but allow “natural” ones. If you can work it out with the people who sit near you, great and I hope you do, but workplace scent bans are a bit of a stretch to me.

    • meteor_echo

      What the heck! This comment is under my name, but I didn’t write it ._.
      I think that somebody’s being an imposter here, and I really wish I knew who >:I

    • Andrea

      I don’t see anyone but you posting as meteor-echo. The poster you just replied to is wmdkitty. Maybe there is some issue?

    • meteor_echo

      Yeah, I think it’s some kind of a comment section glitch… several comments were displayed under my username, and I thought that some of the trolls from Lindsay’s article just swam over here and began to troll me again. I really wouldn’t be surprised by that.

  • Justme

    This woman is nuttier than squirrel poop.

  • MommyK

    I was pretty sure that acorns weren’t lumped in with nut allergies, so I found this, from the American Academy of Asthma Allergy and Immunology:

    “Both acorns and chestnuts are a member of the plant family called Fagaceae. This family is different from those of tree nuts (almond, walnut, hickory, pecan, cashew). The substances that produce allergy in acorns and chestnuts are therefore different than those that produce allergy to the other tree nuts. To my knowledge, there is no risk of a patient with nut allergy having a reaction to contact with acorns or with leaves of any sort. I could not find any evidence for such risk on an Internet search.

    The only allergy reaction to acorns that I am aware of occurs in areas of the world where they are eaten, and occurs to the ingestion of the acorn. In this instance the allergy is separate from nut allergy.”

    She`s freaking out about a relationship to nut allergies that does not exist! For her 8th grader!!!

  • JK

    Just put the kid in a friggin’ bubble already.

  • Amy Eads

    Yeah. I don’t want to live on this planet any more. If your kids are that allergic to something, KEEP THEM HOME! The rest of us don’t have to bend over backwards to accomondate you.

  • http://twitter.com/genebernice genebernice

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