Kids with allergies face dangers in Michigan schools

Some say Michigan needs to do more to protect kids

Rochester, Mich (WXYZ) - As 7 Action News gets ready for back to school, we are finding that some say Michigan schools aren't doing enough to keep kids with allergies safe.

The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America put together its annual honor roll this month.  Michigan didn't make it on the honor roll.

Here are some of the problems the foundation says it found in Michigan.  It says Michigan schools don't have to keep records of students with asthma or allergies, don't have to have emergency protocols in place to protect kids with asthma or allergies, and don't have enough nurses.

One group of mom's is very concerned about how Michigan handles students with allergies and asthma.

"I am scared about him going to kindergarten," said Lisa Rutter of her 5-year-old son Evan.

Rutter started the "No Nuts Moms' Club" on Facebook because her son Evan has a peanut allergy.  She hoped to make a few friends with kids her son could play with.  The response was overwhelming.  There are now more than forty "No Nuts Moms' Clubs" in the United States, Canada, and Australia.

Through the club she has learned that policies are lacking in schools.  She agrees with the Asthma and Allergy Foundation that something needs to be done in Michigan.

" I think it would be great if they had a program, mandated a program for all schools," said Rutter.

Her club also wants every Michigan school to have an Epi-Pen on hand should a child have a severe allergic reaction that leaves them struggling to breathe.

 "All kids by law are given the ability to have a safe public education, but there is so much resistance to food allergies I don't understand it," said Regina Halatsis, a member of the No Nuts Moms' Club.

Parents of kids with nut or peanut allergies say a lot of the resistance comes from other parents who don't want to sacrifice the ability to give their child a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch. 

"Food allergies need to be taken seriously," said Jennifer Kuzdal, another No Nuts Moms' Club member. "They can kill our children."

 People with food allergies and their families will work to raise awareness of this issue during the Food Allergy Research and Education, or FARE walk at Kensington Metro-Park this fall.  To learn more about that effort, click here.


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