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.