Teacher Suspended for Giving Hazelnut Chocolate to Student with Tree Nut Allergy


Nancy Le’ann Babulal, an elementary school teacher at School District 57 in Prince George BC, has been suspended for two days without pay.

The disciplinary action was taken because the teacher gave a hazelnut chocolate to a student with peanut and tree nuts allergies.

The student’s condition was documented with the school and an epinephrine auto-injector was stored in the school nurse’s office in case of an emergency.

The BC Commissioner for Teacher Regulation said Babulal put the student’s “health and safety at risk,” and issued her a reprimand. Her school district issued the suspension.

According to the commission’s report resulting from the incident that happened during Advent in 2021, Babulal was in the habit of purchasing advent calendars containing Lego toys for her students, but none were available, so she purchased the chocolate instead.

Click to visit sponsor

“Babulal brought this advent calendar to school without first checking to see if the chocolate contained nuts,” the report says. “The chocolates in the advent calendar did contain nuts, a fact which was included on the packaging.”

That December, Balulal invited three of her students including the child with the nut allergy to take a chocolate from the calendar. She told the student not to eat the treat until she had checked to see if it contained nuts. In fact, it contained a hazelnut cream filling.

“As it was the end of the day, students were lined up to leave the classroom,” it adds. “Babulal was occupied with students near the back of the line and [the student] was at the very front of the line.

“Babulal did not notice [the student] leaving the classroom with their grandmother. Once she realized that [the student] had left the classroom, Babulal went in search of [the student] and the grandmother but did not find them.”

She then called the student’s mother and told her the child had left with the chocolate.

The report says the student did not consume the chocolate. It also notes Babulal did not notify the principal of the incident.

She was disciplined by the school and suspended shortly after.

The Commissioner then took up the case and issued the reprimand late last month.

We are grateful the child never consumed the chocolate, or this blunder could well have resulted in tragedy.

We urge parents of young children with food allergies to insist their child never be given any food at school without first having the opportunity to inspect and approve it. It should not be up to the teacher, nurse, or any school administrator to determine whether a food is safe.

One strategy parents may employ is to provide the teacher with a box filled with approved treats at the start of the year so their child can partake in school celebrations without feeling left out.

Finally, we are left with the question of why it took the Commissioner three years to issue the reprimand. SMH.

Print or share this article
Click to visit sponsor
Dave Bloom
Dave Bloom
Dave Bloom is CEO and "Blogger in Chief" of SnackSafely.com.

Find Allergy-Friendly Products