Two high school varsity football players allegedly spread peanut products in a teammate’s locker, knowing he has a severe allergy to peanuts, according to a spokesperson for Lake Travis, Texas ISD.
The victim reportedly broke out in hives, but it is unknown whether he had access to an epinephrine auto-injector and needed to administered it.
People close to the family said the perpetrators knew full well of their teammate’s peanut allergy and went so far as to record the incident.
Paul Norton, Superintendent of Schools for the district, sent the following letter to parents and staff:
You may have seen reports in the news and on social media involving an incident that occurred in October 2023 connected to Lake Travis High School students. In order for our community to have a clearer picture of the situation, I would like to provide the following information.
By way of background, Lake Travis High School, the Lake Travis ISD Police Department, and district administrators were made aware of an incident that took place on campus during a staff professional development day/student holiday involving student athletes and the placement of peanuts in an athletic locker. Parents were immediately made aware of the situation. Athletic Director/Coach Hank Carter, Principal Debbie Garinger, and their administrative teams reviewed all evidence and consulted with internal legal counsel. As a result, our administrators applied consequences.
Due to federal privacy laws which protect all minor students, the details of those consequences cannot be made public or even shared with all staff. Although many have publicly shared concerns and rumors about the incident, the District must adhere to all legal and ethical guidelines. However, we can correct some misinformation which has been shared on social media. At no time was peanut butter spread on a helmet or uniform. The LTISD Police Department completed an investigation and has submitted that report to the Assistant District Attorney’s Office for review. At this time, we have not received a final determination from the Assistant District Attorney’s Office.
We remain committed to providing a safe learning environment. This includes educating students on appropriate behaviors and good decision-making. I have complete confidence in the administrative team and the efforts to maintain a safe and respectful environment at Lake Travis High School. We ask our community to respect student privacy as rumors can be misleading and cause damage. Thank you for your understanding and support.
Superintendent of Schools
Although the district claimed they could not comment on the “consequences” the perpetrators received, FOX 7 Austin viewers reached the station to say the punishments included football game suspensions.
Here is FOX 7 Austin’s report on the incident:
We at SnackSafely.com are outraged at the callousness and recklessness of this incident and hope the students responsible are more severely punished than simply suspended from games.
Lianne Mandelbaum, President of No Nut Traveler, is urging readers to message the district leadership to express your concerns and displeasure and has provided the following contact information:
Debbie Garinger, Principal LTHS — email@example.com
Hank Carter, Athletic Director — firstname.lastname@example.org
LTISD Board of Trustees — email@example.com
Paul Norton, Superintendent — firstname.lastname@example.org
Here is the message we’ve sent the leadership:
Dear Principal Garinger, Superintendent Carter, Director Carter and Trustees:
I am the CEO of SnackSafely.com, an advocacy focused on the food allergy community and dedicated to preventing anaphylaxis, as well as the parent of a daughter with a severe peanut allergy.
In reference to the appalling “prank” perpetrated on one of your student-athletes with a peanut allergy by two of his classmates, we are horrified by the act and relieved the victim didn’t suffer a fatal reaction.
Having reported on many tragedies caused by inadvertent exposure to an allergen, let me reiterate that this incident could have resulted in hospitalization, cardiac arrest, brain damage, and death of the victim, all possible consequences of anaphylaxis, a severe reaction that can be triggered by trace amounts of an allergen via contact, inhalation, or ingestion.
It is crucial this incident be treated with the seriousness it deserves. In addition to the perpetrators being banned from participating in future football games, I suggest they be required to complete community service which includes a presentation to the school on the dangers of food allergies and how to recognize and respond to anaphylaxis. I am happy to point them to numerous resources and educate them to that end.
I ask that you view this as an opportunity for the perpetrators to show contrition and as a learning opportunity for the entire school.
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