I met briefly tonight with a group of parents who have children with food allergies. Their meeting overlapped with an important meeting of the Special Education Advisory Committee, so I couldn't stay as long as I wanted. Nevertheless, nearly 20 parents came to the meeting and I did get to talk individually with a handful of them.
The meeting was led by Maria Hardy, who has a blog called Allergy Free in Loudoun. These parents are dealing with an especially challenging life situation that I think most of us don't really understand. For these children, the real world is a dangerous place and allergies are not a health issue, they're a safety issue. It's far more complex than kids just staying away from foods that they're not supposed to eat. They need tremendous understanding from teachers, principals and fellow parents. Many times they get that understanding but sometimes they do not.
I hope that Maria or another parent will leave a comment here with a link to a webpage that can help people who are not familiar with childhood food allergies to understand the scope and importance of the challenge.
I am interested in exploring over the next year ways in which LCPS can help our teachers, principals and administrators with guidance and support in ensuring that every school is a safe place for every child with food allergies. If you are the parent of a child with food allergies, I encourage you to get in touch with this parent group for support, and with your school board member to let them know that this is an important issue for you. If you are facing challenges with your child's school or would like to highlight the ways in which your child's school is helping your child have a full and safe experience every day, I hope that you will let me or your school board representative know.