It is becoming more and more common in NH as well in the rest of the country to see school banning peanuts in an attempt to protect children with peanut allergies. The Nashua Telegraph today reported on one of the more recent instances which you can read in full HERE.
Captain Samuel Douglass Academy was the latest school to move toward the trend of banning peanuts and foods containing peanuts or peanut oil. Teachers have begun conduction searches of students lunches confiscating any peanut laced products.
Aside from the clear violation of the 4th Amendment* this also creates a false sense of security for these children. They have a handicap that will effect them for the rest of their lives, the sooner they learn to deal with it the better they will be in the long run. Instead we create a false environment that doesn't prepare them for the real world.
Before anyone jumps all over me saying I don't understand the severity of this, let me state that I do. One of my coworkers has a server peanut allergy. Those of us working with him know about it but it doesn't prevent us from enjoying donuts with nuts on them, snickers bars, the occasional Christmas baked goods that includes peanuts. We do make sure to let him know when snacks are brought in that contain peanuts or peanut oil.
It wouldn't be too hard to set up a peanut free table or even a separate peanut free room for these children to eat in instead of subjecting the entire student body to search and seizures. And what happens when these same kids get a little older and eat alone in the food court of the mall where they are not guaranteed a peanut free eating area? Or when they enter the work world and likewise they are not ensured a "safe" environment?
We lure ourselves into false sense of security time and time again. We do the same thing with sex criminal registries and laws preventing known sex criminals from living near certain places like schools. It's not the dangers we know about we need to concern ourselves with, it's the sex criminal living near the school who hasn't been caught yet that everything thinks is the nice guy or the snack at the mall we don't know has peanuts that will most impact us because we leave ourselves unprepared on how to deal with real life situations.
What's the next logical progression here, our state house to outlaw peanuts in public as they banned smoking? And where do we draw the line, when we are all living in "safe" houses with rubber tips on all corners, all possibly dangerous items removed and buying pre-cut foods so we don't harm ourselves with knives?
* Amendment IV - The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.