Eating food can be a pleasurable experience and food is often used to celebrate an occasion. But what happens when certain foods are the enemy and make you afraid of eating? Across the country, approximately three million children face that problem. Food allergic children don’t know when the next food they eat will bring on a set of immunological responses that can sometimes lead to anaphylaxis a severe, whole-body allergic reaction that develops rapidly, often within seconds or minutes and can be life-threatening.
How can those children feel safe and supported in the school environment? That is what NSBA sought to answer through a webcast that aired on November 9, 2010. The webcast was developed by NSBA to provide school leaders with the necessary information and tools to help keep food allergic children safe and ready to learn.
The webcast featured NSBA’s own senior staff attorney, Lisa Soronen, who spoke of the legal implications of not addressing food allergies within schools, and School Health project associate Amanda Martinez, who provided the audience with useful resources to help revise or develop food allergy policies and practices within schools. In addition, panelists included a school board member, a superintendent, a nutrition coordinator, a health services director, a school nurse, a CDC health scientist, a medical advisor to the FDA, a Vice President of FAAN, and two students and their parents who shared their personal experiences in dealing with food allergies in school.
The webcast covered an array of topics related to food allergies including: clinical background; problems surrounding food allergic children such as bullying; and food allergy policy, procedure and practice issues. The panelists’ key messages to better manage food allergies within schools are: students, school staff, parents and the community need to be educated on the facts and practices; communication needs to be open and ongoing; and planning and training are essential.
BoardBuzz has heard great things about the webcast and NSBA School Health Programs’ staff have received excellent reviews on it. If you didn’t have the opportunity to view the webcast live, don’t miss out on checking its archived version. To access it, go to http://www.esgn.tv/ and click on the webcast icon and let us know what you think!