School allergies now human rights issue


An update to a story we first told you about in September.  Hamilton mother Lynne Glover pulled her six-year old daughter out of school over concerns the board wasn’t doing enough to accommodate her life-threatening allergies to milk and eggs. Now, Glover is taking things one step further.

Glover has now filed a human rights complaint against Holy Name of Jesus Catholic Elementary. She wants to see milk and eggs banned so her daughter can go back to class.

Instead of learning in a classroom with kids her own age, the Hamilton Wentworth Catholic District School Board has been sending a teacher to Elodie Glover’s home for an hour each morning to help her keep up with the curriculum. All because the six-year old has severe anaphylactic allergies to dairy and eggs.

Lynne Glover is Elodie’s Mother: “We took her out of the school. We put her back in.”

Lynne says they were told parents were sent a note asking them to refrain from bringing Elodie’s allergens into the classroom: “We know there was a teacher who was sitting with her to make sure things were under control. But there were still constantly allergens coming into the classroom and we were not comfortable at all.”

Despite the efforts, Elodie was still experiencing allergic reactions and left school a couple times with respiratory issues. Glover wants to see her daughter back in the classroom and has now filed a human rights complaint.

Lynne says: “We weren’t getting anywhere board. This is our attempt to get the board to sit down with us and come up with a plan that best suits Elodie and protects her dignity.”

The Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic District School Board says they’re unable to comment on the case now that it’s before the Human Rights Tribunal, but in the past they have told us that they do their best to make sure school is as safe as possible.”

McMaster Children’s Hospital Allergist Dr. Paul Keith says cow’s milk and egg allergies can be life threatening: “Usually you can have symptoms particularity if you touch it to the skin. But usually you have to ingest it and that’s why if you have an anaphylactic child you really have to prepare them to not put things in their mouth if you’re not sure where it was.”

Keith says, under Sabrina’s Law, there are guidelines for school boards to try to deal with anaphylactic children: But every case is special and you have to design a program that is special for each individual child and that’s why we leave it to the school board to decide.”

Since we first met Elodie, she’s grown out of a fish allergy. But her family has been told that her other allergies are so severe it’s not likely the same will happen with milk and eggs. Glover says eventually, she expects her case to go to mediation. If that fails, then it will go to tribunal.


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n/a says:

i certainly can understand the difficulties parents are facing with a child with allergies (especially with a young child) … but isnt this being taken too far?? when i was growing up, there was no restrictions as to what we could bring to school. the child with allergies learned (and were educated by their own parents) early on to think for themselves and stick with their own food. why can a child now days do the same? why does the majority always has to comprise for the minority? lets ban all … no bread, no eggs, no milk, no peanut, etc … why does everyone’s diet (and finance) have to suffer because 1 child can’t be properly educated on their own special need …. we are creating a society of individuals incapable of thinking for themselves!

Wendy says:

What about the rights of every other student in that school? Suddenly they can only eat broccoli (without ranch dip) and chicken broth for lunch? Who pays for the new groceries that these parents have to buy? When did the rights of the one become more important than the rights of the many? I understand that this is life threatening, but they have come up with a solution. If the parents are worried about socialization then why don’t they arrange play dates at their home, where they control the environment? Or why can each city build a special school for children with life threatening allergies? That way, everyone understands what the other is going through and no one gives a second thought about complying.

Michael says:

Listen, I feel for her, but there’s gotta be a line.
I can understand banning Peanut Butter, and nuts, both are very common allergies now.
But to prohibit Milk from a school of growing children just should not be allowed.

The way this mother is acting would be like the parent of a child with Photodermatitis (a sun alergy) demanding that ALL students be prohibited from being exposed to sunlight for the whole day at school. Blacked out windows, and no going outside.

The best a school can do is try to limit it. I mean even in a school that bans Peanut Butter, children still show up with it.

Perhaps banning all food from her classroom, and having her eat in a separate room to avoid exposure during recess/lunch?

Carrie McCrum says:

My son since nine months has had a nut allergy. He is allergic to all nuts. So severe if someone had nuts and hours later kissed or handled my son he would have a reaction. We have had two hospital stays with close calls. He now is 23, still carries his Epipen. Each Sept the school sent home a note saying there was a child with a nut allergy and to be aware. We took the time to educate him on what he could eat and if he was unsure not to have it. I disagree with Lynne, perhaps she is infringing on the other children’s human rights. Where does she want to stop, do we ban it in parks, hospitals, universities, her street that she lives on. Lynne needs to take responsibility.

Matthew Mathieson says:

I fully agree with the other commentators here.

Where does this nonsense stop? If your child is so allergic to common food items, home school them. Why do the rest of the students need to suffer because of one.

Spock said it right, the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.

Kristena Browne says:

This is such bull. This is going too far in my opinion, its one thingto make a peanut ban but now parents need to stress over a milk and egg ban? The school is going to have to educateparents at this point, where the hell do u find foods that has NO MILK AND EGG?Traveling to a health food store to find foods to custom one or two children is something im not willing to live with , why do other kids and families have to struggle suffer on behalf of one or two children, seperate the child. Whats next? No bread?

Kristena Browne says:

Another thing I’d like to know, how am I supposed to feed my children for school lunches now that the school has a child with a milk and egg ban? And yeah if it was my child I would want to protect her so I would do whatever I could to protect her, but I wouldn’t expect a whole school full of children and their families to cater to me. No there needs to be an alternate solution to this, because this is just going too far, THE SCHOOLS are going to HAVE TO FEED OUR CHILDREN, and the parents WILL NEED TO PAY A FEE!! That’s what its gonna come down to, you realize that you know!

silvana says:

I may be wrong, but when I watched the story I noticed the mother was spreading the bread with mayonnaise. Does mayonnaise not contain eggs? Double check the story if it is mayonnaise then she should practice what she preaches.

Scott says:

As someone with allergies, who carried an epipen to school, parents these days need to grow up…not the children, the parents. If your daughter knows enough not to put milk eggs (substitute peanuts, etc.) into her mouth, then she doesn’t need to be taught to be afraid like this parent is teaching her. The child needs to learn how to deal with it, not to be afraid. Not to bully the other students into doing what her mom wants. Human Rights? Seriously? This is too much. Demanding students cannot bring milk/eggs to school because your daughter might ingest them? (and yes, it must be ingested, not “smelled”)
How about teaching your daughter to not put anything into her mouth. I’ll bet she can do it, like most every other child. And if she is like Howard Walowitz on Big Bang Theory, then teach her how to use her epipen. (I remember practicing with needles on oranges when I was a yountster…and i’m still here).

Misty says:

I also have a son with a severe peanut allergy in junior kindergarten in this same school. I want to let everyone know that the school has gone above and beyond to make it a safe environment for my child. As well as making me feel safe about sending him to school. I never once went to the school seeking help for his allergy management because they approached me upon learning of his severe anaphalactic peanut allergy. It turns out that this school is a peanut free environment but had it not been peanut free we as his parents would have still sent him to school anyways because we have educated him enough that he knows that he only eats from his lunch bag and he is not to accept food from anyone else without okaying it with an adult. He is now four years old and wears a peanut allergy bracelet, carries his Epipen on his body at all times as well as a secondary one that is kept in his classroom. My son has even learned to ask if a food item “may contain peanuts”. The bottom line is that even if this school had not been peanut safe he would know how to keep himself safe from peanuts. I think that this mother should not expect everyone else to change for her child and focus on teaching her child how to be safe in an environment that does have allergens in it. I would also like to mention that going to the media with your child’s full name and school name as well as plastering her picture in the newspaper and on the television is no way to protect her so called dignity. I also just learned that the kids were kept indoors all day because of the numerous media outlets that were stationed outside of the school yard in an effort to try to investigate this news story. This has been taken too far and there are better ways to get the word out and raise awareness at the school regarding your child’s allergies.

Shelley Nero says:

I know how the mother feels. I have a daughter that is anaphylactic to peanuts and nuts. My daughter has been going to the same school in Welland since JK and is now in grade 8. My daughter has had many reactions in the school. In this time my daughter has been in the emergency department at least 5 times and had to leave school about 20 times for reactions at the school. Each year I have had my family doctor and her allergy specialist write a letter for her allergies. I had even wrote a letter asking what I would like done to help keep her safe. I also had to go to a lawyer to see what else I could do since the school seem not to take her safety seriously. My daughter last reaction at the school was on Dec 18, 2013. So as you can see it doesn’t get better with time. The sad part is that my daughter can not participate in any school function as the school can not be bothered to make sure it’s safe for her. So she doesn’t get to enjoy doing what her classmates get to do. Just something I have learned lately is the more you push the school the more the teachers and principal bully your child. So I wish that mother the best of luck because I have been dealing with it for 9 years now. And the school system she is in is the Niagara Catholic District School Board.

Wendy Holland says:

Although I understand this is hard for the little girl, but as far as being a human rights issue is ridiculous! How does one child take away the rights of all others? As the Doctor stated in the report it is not life threatening unless ingested. You must teach your child not to touch things that would harm her, just like teaching her not to touch something that’s hot!! What about our tax dollars that we pay for the education system? We pay enough already and if there is an issue, I understand that other children have allergies to food as well, how about separating the kids that have these allergies and put them in a separate room. You cannot tell children or the parents that they cannot send milk to school for their children. We have been telling kids for years to drink and eat healthy, now you want to take this away? Think about others you are affecting, you are making too big a deal about this, if you are that worried then homeschool you child.

Wendy Holland says:

Another comment I wanted to make to Shelley….. it is very obvious to me that you have not educated your child as to the danger she may face with her peanut allery. By grade 8 she should understand that she needs to stay away and be aware that there will be some obstacles that she may face. Look at Misty’s 4 year old, she has done a very good job by teaching her child that these things will harm him. We cannot protect our children from everything and they must be educated on how to deal with the situation that they are in. We cannot “bubble wrap” our kids we must show them reality and teach them accordingly.

Joe brown says:

The kid has a milk allergy that must put in her mouth to have a reaction it’s not like a peanut allergy were if the kid gets touch they would have a reaction. A peanut allergy is more deadly then a milk allergy by touch. You are violating the rights of a growing child that needs there milk for strong and healthy bone.

tara says:

Mayo is oil n eggs..she seems to feed her daughter that ..watch the video..its hard enough trying to pack your child’s lunch..school can’t accommodate every individual.. Schools are doing their best.

Tammy says:

My son has an anaphylactic allergy to dairy when ingested. He also has a reaction when he touches dairy, but it is not as severe. He is also allergic to eggs, nuts and tree nuts. Sending him to school was a very scary thing to do. I can totally understand where this mother is coming from and her fears. I DO feel that this school could certainly try a little harder to help this family out. However, that being said, if my son had the SEVERITY that this little girl has, I would be trying to find an alternate solution. I would certainly be looking into home schooling him and talking to the school board about helping me with it.
I’m not sure how many students go to this school, but not everyone can afford to buy the types of foods that don’t contain eggs or dairy! When we first began with our son’s allergies, he was an infant and we didn’t make the same money we have now. It is very expensive to feed children with organic foods and specialty foods that do not contain dairy and eggs! Dairy is EVERYWHERE!!! We spent a good deal of time worrying about all the “What ifs”. We finally realized that our son needed to be able to live his life. We had to teach him how to be safe and how to advocate for himself. I cannot expect that the entire world is going to accommodate for him. He is now 7 years old and KNOWS to tell the waitress about his allergies when we go out for dinner. He KNOWS to tell people about his allergies and not take food that he doesn’t know. It is not fair that they have to keep their daughter out of school, but it is also not fair for them to expect that everyone will change their feeding plans and such for their daughter. Life is not always fair, but we need to work within our means and teach our children how to be strong and live their lives to the best they can.

Brandon says:

Actually it’s Veganaise. I know it sounds stupid but that’s what it is.

Ann Labate says:

I have been fortunate to never have experienced food allergies. However my daughter has had a severe cat allergy since she was 5yrs old. Her eyes swell to the point of closing, she can’t breathe and sneezes like there is no tomorrow. She has been brought to the hospital many times and has to miss school until the swelling goes down. She would come home many times telling me someone had a sweater or some type of clothing that made her sneeze due to cat hair. By the time she would come home she was all swelled up. Am I to tell the school that these children should be banned from touching their cat or wearing clothes that have been touched by their pet? See how ridiculous that sounds? Don’t get me wrong, my heart goes out to the 4 year old, I’m not totally heartless. Glover cannot expect the world to revolve around her daughter. What a horrible message this women is giving her child. Human Rights? Really? Your asking other parents to not only eliminate peanut butter ( favoirite food to any child), now milk and eggs? Does she want her child to grow up thinking that she needs to go to such extremes to get her way. I’m sorry but a school should not be responsible for every individual issue a child has. We need to take ownership and find other means. Home school or a turtor are 2 options.