This Story About A Principal Sued Over Mistreatment Of Students With Allergies Is – Wait For It – Nuts
The parents of a student at Ashland City Elementary School are suing the school’s principal, Chip Roney, and the Cheathem County Board of Education.Â The lawsuit alleges that the school violated the ADA and the family’s first amendment right against retaliation, and seeks monetary damages.Â The parents, identified only as C.G. and B.G., claim that they asked the school to create a peanut-free table in the lunchroom that students without allergies could sit at as well, as currently their daughter sits at a separate “nut-free only” table which only allows other children with nut allergies.Their 7-year-old daughter, A.G., has a potentially life-threatening peanut allergyÂ and her parents want her to be able to socialize with other kids and not feel like she is being isolated and punished for her allergy.
That all sounds reasonable to me. You know…more or less. But then, the wind started a’ blowing, and a Category 3 shit storm began to brew.
The parents met with Roney to make this request on September 30th. They claim that he became angry and treated the issue of allergy accommodations like it was a nuisance. There is no record anywhere of how the meeting ended, but I am going to guess the answer is “badly.” That same day, DCS made a visit to the parent’s home after someone called in saying that they suspected the parents were suffering from Munchausen by Proxy and were making up the girl’s allergy to get attention.
Folks, it’s time to lock yourselves in your basements with bottled water and a bucket of popcorn, because we now have a Category 5 shit storm.
DHS found that the claims were unsubstantiated, and the parents believe that someone from the school made the call. The next incident happened a little over a month later when the girl’s mother distributed, according toÂ Courthouse News:
…a “food allergy resource and education” flyer, which invited [her daughter’s classmates] to “be a lunch buddy at the peanut free table.”
Whether or not her daughter’s teacher gave her permission to do this is unclear. On November 6th, however, Roney called the mother about the flyers. She recorded the call, because we are there, folks — we are at the taping calls and compiling evidence level. According toÂ The Tennessean:
In that conversation [Roney] reportedly barred the girlâ€™s parents from the campus, saying the flyer â€œbaffled everyoneâ€™s mindâ€ and amounted to â€œpeanut free propaganda.â€
I just saw a cow fly by.
It’s possible that these parents are nutsÂ (pun intended), but I think it’s far more likely that this principal was annoyed by allergy accommodations and acted like a jackass. I’m sure principals get these kinds of requests all the time, and I’m sure its frustrating because there is only so much you can do. What if the parents of the other kids at the nut-free table didn’t want other students there? Do you then make another table just for this little girl, which it seems to me would only be more isolating? But at the same time, to dismiss it outright and make the parents feel like they are hassling you when they are looking out for their daughter’s best interests is not okay, either.
It’s issues like this that make my brain hurt. But that’s why I’m not an elementary school principal. Issues like this are part of the job, and you have to be able to deal with them in a professional and empathetic way. So ice up, son. This is what they pay you for. Like it or not, food allergies are part of the landscape now, and if you can’t figure out a way to handle them then you need to consider a different line of work.
(Photo: Chamelon’s Eye / Shutterstock)