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Old 11-22-2012, 02:29 PM   #1
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Parent tries to have oak trees removed. Because allergies.



Quote:
Mother’s fight to banish acorns from schoolyard goes too far: critics | Canada | News | National Post

One parent’s bid to remove four oak trees from a park straddling her acorn-allergic daughter’s elementary schoolyard has generated fresh debate over what lengths authorities should go to eliminate childhood risks, and when the line between reasonable accommodation and overreaction is crossed.

Donna Giustizia told Vaughan, Ont., city council that the saplings dropping tree nuts onto school property pose a threat to young students with anaphylaxis-inducing allergies and are infringing on their right to a nut-free space.

But the request is being met with broad skepticism, as city councillors are forced to mull the tricky business of altogether removing something that might be a risk for a small segment of the population.

“This is ridiculous on too many levels to even engage,” said Nicholas Christakis, a professor of medical sociology at Harvard Medical School and critic of nut policies in schools.

“My feelings are that we cannot childproof the whole world, we have to world-proof our children,” added Lenore Skenazy, the New York-based author of Free Range Parenting. “If it is dangerous for some kids to encounter an acorn, those kids have to be taught not to touch them, because there are trees all over, not just near the school. The best way to keep them safe is to train them to take care of themselves, not to cut down all the trees they may ever walk under anywhere.”

University of Waterloo researcher Nancy Fenton, who is currently studying how young people with anaphylaxis navigate a social sphere that is not always so understanding and accommodating to their allergies, says it’s a “fraught conversation” when you start taking away potential risks.

Vaughan city councillor Sandra Yeung Racco worries that the removal of the trees would set a dangerous precedent in her community.

“For as many people that may be allergic to acorns, I’m sure there’s a lot of people that are allergic to bees. What are we going to do about that? Are we going to exterminate all the bees?” she said. “We can’t. I am trying to be sensitive, but at the same time we have a responsibility to make common sense a priority. And I don’t believe this is something that should really be under our jurisdiction.”

But to Ms. Giustizia, who serves as the chair of the allergy committee at St. Stephen Catholic Elementary School, where her youngest daughter (who has an anaphylactic peanut and tree nut allergy) still attends Grade 8, it’s a matter of respecting accommodations for children with invisible disabilities assured under the Ontario Human Rights Code.

“The problem is that people don’t understand a) that it’s a hidden disability and b) that in Ontario and in Canada there’s an ultimate duty to accommodate,” she said in an interview with the Post on Tuesday. “People don’t understand that — they think it’s one crazy parent bubblewrapping their kid.”

Last month, she said, the vice-principal of St. Stephen called her to say four saplings in a city-owned walkway connecting the Catholic school with a public elementary school were littering acorns onto school property and that custodians had been picking them up. Ms. Giustizia said the vice-principal asked if she would call the city to see about them being removed (the York Catholic District School Board said Ms. Giustizia called the city on her own accord). Ms. Giustizia was thanked via email by the vice-principal for her work in lobbying the city. In the meantime, the school — which Ms. Giustizia says has at least 40 anaphylactic students out of around 860 — had been making announcements over the PA system, telling students not pick up the nuts and bring them into the school.

The trees are closest to a playground where the primary students play, Ms. Giustizia said, and while the outside of the acorns themselves don’t pose a risk, the meat of the nut, if crushed and ingested, could trigger anaphylaxis.

“The problem being, a 4-year-old can’t decipher that,” she said. ‘‘The school is nut free. I provided letters to the city from children who have anaphylaxis at our school where their doctors have specifically stated ‘because of the uncertainty of tree nuts and the evolution of anaphylaxis, this child is to stay away from all nuts of any kind.’”

Ms. Giustizia’s city councillor, Tony Carella, said he’s sympathetic to her concerns and is keenly aware that there is a greater chance of a lawsuit now that the concern has been raised, should the acorns actually trigger an allergic reaction in a student. Council has ordered a report on whether to remove the trees —it’s expected by the end of the year.

Of course, due to backlash to her, more than reasonable, request, she has dropped it:
Quote:
Mother’s fight to banish acorns from schoolyard goes too far: critics | Canada | News | National Post
A mother and allergy advocate in Vaughan, Ont. has dropped her request to have three oak trees removed from a city park because they are dropping acorns onto the property of a nut-free school, saying she has been the misunderstood target of cyber-bullying since the story hit the media earlier this month.

In a letter submitted to city council on Tuesday, Donna Giustizia said she made a deputation before council with the full support of the St. Stephen School administration, but was formally withdrawing her request after her plea was blown out of proportion and she was made to appear as an overzealous parent acting alone rather than as chair of her school’s allergy awareness committee doing what was asked of her.

“It is most unfortunate that the media, in reporting the story, chose to sensationalize the news, and has carelessly and cavalierly hurt those who we were trying to protect,” she wrote to council. “On a personal level, the cyber bullying and hate-filled sentiments my family and I have had to endure — because of my simply acting in a voluntary capacity, making a friendly request before my City Council on behalf of small children — is ridiculous.”

Ms. Giustizia, whose Grade 8 daughter has an anaphylactic allergy to tree nuts and attends St. Stephen, was first alerted to the nut-shedding oak trees by school administration back in October. Then, again with the support of the school, she said, she made the deputation before Vaughan council on Nov. 6th, saying the trees pose a threat to the younger St. Stephen students who play nearby. Children with anaphylactic allergies — an “invisible disability” — she said, have a right to be protected and accommodated under the Ontario Human Rights Code.

“As I pointed out in my deputation, there are students in our school who have specific recommendations and/or letters stating that these students are not to come into contact with tree nuts of any kind,” she wrote. “I would think that the recommendation of a child’s attending physician…would have satisfied the City to act on the side of caution.”

She told the National Post there are at least 40 students at the school of over 860 with anaphylactic allergies — many of them to tree nuts. Allergists widely agree that a person with a nut allergy may have a reaction if they ate the meat of the bitter acorn, but rarely does anyone attempt to do so.

In an email, Ward 4 councillor Sandra Yeung Racco said it was “shame that this well-intentioned request came to this point.”

“However, as Council members, I do believe that we have a duty to make decisions based on scientific fact and supporting arguments, and we have to be careful that all decisions we do make are for the best interest of the community at large and do not set unnecessary precedents,” she said.

Ms. Giustizia maintains that the school asked her to go to the city about the trees, but the school says it was Ms. Giustizia’s prerogative, said May Moore, spokesperson for York Catholic District School Board.

In an email provided to the Post, the vice-principal of St. Stephen thanked Ms. Giustizia for making the deputation.

She also said the school instructed her to withdraw the request, but the school board says the school merely supported her decision.

“They had a conversation with her to try to talk about next steps forward and continuing the good work that’s already been done and she advised she was considering dropping it,” Ms. Moore said.

A city staff report on the issue was slated to come before the committee of the whole next Tuesday at 1 p.m.

My elementary school had dozens of chestnut (not the edible kind) trees around. It was tradition to collect them. Either off the ground, or by hucking rocks to knock them out of the tree. Kids with allergies will know to stay away from nuts. It would have been bedlam, if those trees were cut down!.
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Old 11-22-2012, 02:39 PM   #2
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Old 11-22-2012, 02:45 PM   #3
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The trees were there first. Maybe she should move somewhere trees don't grow.

In elementary school we used to pick up the chestnuts from all over and roll them onto the street during rush hour. Crunch crunch crunch!
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Old 11-22-2012, 02:48 PM   #4
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It's not so much darwinism, but bitch people who feel entitled to complain about anything and everything they don't like.

Unfortunately our society and it's emphasis on "kindness, understanding, and sympathy" has spawned these sort of people
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Old 11-22-2012, 02:49 PM   #5
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Next up for that lady: banning sandboxes, so grit doesn't get into her vagina, again.
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Old 11-22-2012, 03:10 PM   #6
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Her daughter will love nuts sooner or later.
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Old 11-22-2012, 03:17 PM   #7
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Need to remover her from the family to make sure her child has a nut free space!
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Old 11-22-2012, 03:31 PM   #8
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“The problem is that people don’t understand a) that it’s a hidden disability and b) that in Ontario and in Canada there’s an ultimate duty to accommodate,” she said in an interview with the Post on Tuesday. “People don’t understand that — they think it’s one crazy parent bubblewrapping their kid.”
So if I'm allergic to dust or pollen and go to school, can I request that they get rid of all their flowers and make sure the entire school is dusted every day from top to bottom? If I'm lactose intolerant, can I ask that no students bring dairy-based foods in case I decide to be stupid and ingest some?

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“The problem being, a 4-year-old can’t decipher that,” she said.
Of course they can. Kids aren't as stupid as some parents think. It's all about how you raise them. My best friend's kids, when they were 4 years old, both knew what sort of plants around the yard were poisonous to them, as well as what foods could potentially make them sick. One of 'em is 7 now and she freakin' cooks breakfast all the time by herself. Including using the stove in order to fry the eggs. As I said, it's all about how you raise them and making sure that you drill certain things into their heads so that they can make a rational choice.

Too many parents cushion their kids in a bubble world where they're unable to hurt themselves. My parents used to have a wood burning fireplace (the cast iron kind that sits outside of the chimney) and the way I learned not to touch while a fire was burning was to being a stupid kid and try to climb it while a fire was burning. You can be sure as hell that I never tried that again. The same goes for playing outside. Our backyard used to be full of poison ivy and numerous other prickle bushes. My parents taught me at a very young age what plants we shouldn't touch and what fruit-bearing bushes were edible or poisonous. They didn't decide to dig up all the potentially bad plants around in order to insulate me; they wanted me to be aware of my surroundings and what I did. This appears to be an art lost to too many parents.
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Old 11-22-2012, 03:55 PM   #9
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Sweet christ the world is going to the gutter.
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Old 11-22-2012, 04:05 PM   #10
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Close friends of my parents have 3 kids, two of them have a disease called PKU.
Basically, PKU is a disease where their bodies don't produce an enzyme which can metabolize a certain amino acid (phenylalanine) which is present in almost every protein. If too much of this amino acid builds up, it will kill brain cells.

They can't eat meat, regular dairy (milk, cheese), legumes, eggs, nuts, even the sweetener aspartame. As an example, a single hamburger contains more phenylalanine than they can eat for months.

I've known these kids since they were born, they're 18 & 20 years old now.

What I'm getting at is they're alive today because at a very young age their parents drilled into their head what they are and are not allowed to eat and to be conciencious that if they aren't sure than to stay away. Their parents never went on some rampage banning meat & cheese from schools because there was some chance their kids could eat it.
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Old 11-22-2012, 04:51 PM   #11
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At my daughter's kindergarten orientation this couple brought up their kid's nut allergy at least 4 separate times. Maybe I'm insensitive because after the 2nd time I'm already thinking just stfu already... we get it.
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Old 11-22-2012, 05:06 PM   #12
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This is why all schools have epi pens on hand and phones to dial 911 and why all staff know how to use em. Thats enough responsibility as far as I'm concerned its stupid most schools dont allow peanut butter in kids lunches any more.
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Old 11-22-2012, 05:42 PM   #13
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I'd go far enough to say in regards to productivity, the tree is worth more than the kids life.

The trees were there first, go somewhere trees don't bear nuts then.
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Old 11-22-2012, 06:02 PM   #14
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Old 11-22-2012, 06:19 PM   #15
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This is why all schools have epi pens on hand and phones to dial 911 and why all staff know how to use em. Thats enough responsibility as far as I'm concerned its stupid most schools dont allow peanut butter in kids lunches any more.
Are the school staff allowed to administer epi pens? I thought liability, etc, would stop them from doing that.
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Old 11-22-2012, 06:26 PM   #16
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Are the school staff allowed to administer epi pens? I thought liability, etc, would stop them from doing that.
The liability of not giving an epi-pen is much higher than the liability of doing fuck all when you know that risks are that high.
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Old 11-22-2012, 06:27 PM   #17
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Yes liability goes out the window when a kid is blue in the face and cant breath. Most if not all teachers have CPR and first aid training as well to ensure they are qualified to do so as well
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Old 11-22-2012, 08:39 PM   #18
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Skip to about 2:30, this guy explains how I feel about this:
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Old 11-22-2012, 08:50 PM   #19
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My mom has a terrible allergy to both onion and garlic. Onion's not so bad, but garlic is fucking awful. Just the other day we walked past Anton's on Hastings. She quite literally held her breath as we walked outside the restaurant, and her eyes were dryer than all hell for a few minutes afterwards.

My mother turns down invitations to potlucks and barbecues, but when she holds her own she insists that nothing is prepared with garlic. The two restaurants she can be sure she can go to are ABC Country and White Spot. Because those fuckers are so goddamned bland, they don't use any onion or garlic in their shit.

She doesn't campaign against the inclusion of garlic and onion in FUCKING EVERYTHING (FYI, if it says "spices" on the ingredients list, it's poison for my mom. Just for fun, go to your pantry and look at all the ingredients lists for the pre-prepared stuff. There's NOTHING my mom can use.) She laments to no end about it to me, but she has no intention of starting a petition to the government to ban potential allergens. Because she's a grown fucking woman.


To paraphrase Tim Nutt (love the name, perfect for this thread) "the whole reason we have allergies is that we're too fucking clean. LET YOUR KIDS EAT DIRT".
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Old 11-22-2012, 08:59 PM   #20
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^ That's exactly it. I mean, I remember listening to my mum, dad, and family friends tell stories of being in school; no one was allergic to peanuts or anything. Now, probably 1/10 kids that I meet have some nut allergy or are lactose intolerant.. Maybe my parents raised me too leniently and my immune system is great because of it, or maybe it's genes. It's just too common now.
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Old 11-22-2012, 09:11 PM   #21
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Old 11-22-2012, 10:33 PM   #22
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CONGRATULATIONS TO ALL THE KIDS WHO WERE BORN in the '60s '70s & '80s
First, we survived being born to mothers who smoked and/or drank while they carried us.They took aspirin, ate blue cheese dressing, tuna from a tin, and didn't get tested for diabetes.We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, doors or cabinets and when we rode our bikes, we had no helmets, not to mention, the risks we took hitchhiking.
As children, we would ride in cars with no seat belts or air bags. Riding in the back of a van - loose - was always great fun. We drank water from the garden hosepipe and NOT from a bottle. We shared one soft drink with four friends, from one bottle and NO ONE actually died from this. We ate cakes, white bread and real butter and drank pop with sugar in it,but we weren't overweight because......

WE WERE ALWAYS OUTSIDE PLAYING!!
In the summer we would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when the streetlights came on. No one was able to reach us all day. And we were O.K
We would spend hours building our go-carts out of scraps and then ride down the hill, only to find out we forgot the brakes. After running into the bushes a few times, we learned to solve the problem. We did not have Playstations, Nintendo's, X-boxes, no video games at all, no 99 channels on cable, no video tape movies, no surround sound, no cell phones, no text messaging, no personal computers, no Internet or Internet chat rooms..........
WE HAD FRIENDS and we went outside and found them! We played with worms and mud pies made from dirt, and the worms did not live in us forever. Made up games with sticks and tennis balls and although we were told it would happen, we did not poke out any eyes.We rode bikes or walked to a friend's house and knocked on the door or rang the bell, or just yelled for them! Local teams had tryouts and not everyone made the team. Those who didn't had to learn to deal with disappointment. Imagine that!!
The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke the law was unheard of. They actually sided with the law!
This generation has produced some of the best risk-takers, problemsolvers and inventors ever! The past 50 years have been an explosion of innovation and new ideas. We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned HOW TO DEAL WITH IT ALL! And YOU are one of them!
CONGRATULATIONS!
Kind of makes you want to run through the house with scissors, doesn't it?! lol
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Old 11-22-2012, 10:39 PM   #23
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CONGRATULATIONS TO ALL THE KIDS WHO WERE BORN in the '60s '70s & '80s
First, we survived being born to mothers who smoked and/or drank while they carried us.They took aspirin, ate blue cheese dressing, tuna from a tin, and didn't get tested for diabetes.We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, doors or cabinets and when we rode our bikes, we had no helmets, not to mention, the risks we took hitchhiking.
As children, we would ride in cars with no seat belts or air bags. Riding in the back of a van - loose - was always great fun. We drank water from the garden hosepipe and NOT from a bottle. We shared one soft drink with four friends, from one bottle and NO ONE actually died from this. We ate cakes, white bread and real butter and drank pop with sugar in it,but we weren't overweight because......

WE WERE ALWAYS OUTSIDE PLAYING!!
In the summer we would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when the streetlights came on. No one was able to reach us all day. And we were O.K
We would spend hours building our go-carts out of scraps and then ride down the hill, only to find out we forgot the brakes. After running into the bushes a few times, we learned to solve the problem. We did not have Playstations, Nintendo's, X-boxes, no video games at all, no 99 channels on cable, no video tape movies, no surround sound, no cell phones, no text messaging, no personal computers, no Internet or Internet chat rooms..........
WE HAD FRIENDS and we went outside and found them! We played with worms and mud pies made from dirt, and the worms did not live in us forever. Made up games with sticks and tennis balls and although we were told it would happen, we did not poke out any eyes.We rode bikes or walked to a friend's house and knocked on the door or rang the bell, or just yelled for them! Local teams had tryouts and not everyone made the team. Those who didn't had to learn to deal with disappointment. Imagine that!!
The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke the law was unheard of. They actually sided with the law!
This generation has produced some of the best risk-takers, problemsolvers and inventors ever! The past 50 years have been an explosion of innovation and new ideas. We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned HOW TO DEAL WITH IT ALL! And YOU are one of them!
CONGRATULATIONS!
Kind of makes you want to run through the house with scissors, doesn't it?! lol
Looks like someone's mad they were born a few decades too soon
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Old 11-22-2012, 10:54 PM   #24
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This is why all schools have epi pens on hand and phones to dial 911 and why all staff know how to use em. Thats enough responsibility as far as I'm concerned its stupid most schools dont allow peanut butter in kids lunches any more.
Peanut butter doesn't require ingestion to cause a reaction, simply being in proximity is sufficient to induce symptoms. It's prohibited for good reason.
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Old 11-22-2012, 11:39 PM   #25
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LOL, that is soooo true and funny altogether!! I couldn't rephrase it better... our generation did have more tolerance and "know-how" of our surroundings. Maybe it was a simpler time and even mostly from our parents/families' teaching/life lessons.
You scrap your knee, suck it up and put a bandaid (and thats probably after hours and hours later when we got home), you did something wrong at school and teachers would call your parents and you probably got spanked at home where nowadays the parents will blame the teacher for not watching over the kid. Most of all IMO, parents/families would be involved in their kids young life to make sure their life direction was the correct way...guidelines, teachings, priorities, and knew who their friends were. Nowadays, you got little Susie facebook/tweet/whatever to some old perv and hope they will make good with what google has taught them...

I dont know what others had at young age, but I come from a poor family and only got whatever my family could afford. A basketball could last me for the whole year of presents, no matter how many holidays/birthday. I made due, played hours on hours at school til sundown... good times...
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Current vehicles, owned since new:
2013 Toyota Highlander Limited: my new SUV.
2005 Toyota Rav4: my smaller SUV, driven by wifey now.
1999 Honda Accord EXV6 Coupe Comptech Supercharged (Championship White NH-0): Toyo Tires sponsored showcar 2007-2012, competed since 2001, now retired.
** Waiting for my NA1...
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