Every parent of a child with a restrictive diet, like those who have food allergies or celiac disease, knows how difficult it is to navigate food in the classroom. While some schools ban classroom snacks outright, and some work to accommodate all students, still others have no rules in place.
Which brings us to this installment of our “You Be the Judge” series, where we present a food allergy-related scenario and invite you to educate others by sharing your opinions and expertise.
A woman turning to reddit for feedback described her dilemma in a post entitled: “AITA for allowing my child to bring in souvenir snacks for his class despite knowing this would exclude one of the kids?“
We’ve referred to “AITA” before, where this story was recently posted. AITA is short for “Am I the A-Hole,” a subreddit (discussion group) that provides a medium where people question their behavior and readers vote.
Here is her post:
I recently went on a holiday to Japan with my son (7) and whilst we were there he tried some delicious biscuits which he really wanted to buy and share with his classmates once he got back.
Obviously I was happy to purchase some additional and found it really sweet he wanted to share with everyone.
I didn’t think about it at the time of purchase since we were mid holiday in a different country, however when we were back and I was packing my son’s bag for his first day back at school I suddenly remembered that he has one classmate, let’s call him Joe, who has a gluten allergy and wouldn’t be able to eat these biscuits.
But it was too late for me to do anything about this, it was late and shops were closed so I wouldn’t be able to buy an alternative plus they wouldn’t be from Japan anyway and would be from the local supermarket.
I also wouldn’t have had time to pick any up in the morning because i work full time.
She went on to say:
Son was happy bringing them to school and said everyone also enjoyed them.
However I got an angry phone call from Joe’s mum saying that I shouldn’t have let my son bring in those biscuits knowing that her son would be excluded.
She said that I should cater to allergies especially children’s allergies, which I would understand if it was say for example peanut allergy which is life threatening, but should gluten intolerance be treated with the same extreme caution?
I’m not sure if I was the [a**hole] for still allowing my son to bring in the biscuits despite me knowing one kid wouldn’t be able to have any?
Even though her story seems straightforward, a number of questions remain. Could she have waited to send the cookies in until she discussed the issue with Joe’s mom? Was she obligated to? Would giving Joe’s mom notice have allowed her to send a safe snack in with her son, making him feel less excluded? Should an intolerance be treated any differently than an allergy?
So now we turn to you, our readers — knowledgeable in all things food allergy and celiac — and ask you to render your opinion: Is the mom at fault here or was Joe’s mom expecting too much?
You be the judge and sound off in the comments section below. And for context, please tell us what you’ve done when faced with similar circumstances.