Allergies prompt off-site lunches

SOUTHWEST HARBOR — Students at the Pemetic Elementary School who bring nuts or nut products in their lunches must now store and eat their meal at the neighboring Harbor House facility.

The move was made because of students in the school who have severe nut allergies, said Dianne Helprin, the school’s principal.

“All schools have students with special needs, and we make accommodations as best we can to keep schools a safe place for all children,” Helprin said.

Helprin and the chairman of the school committee, Susan Allen, admit that there are some parents who question whether taking children out of the school building for lunch is necessary.

Both women gave assurance that the decision was not made lightly. Medical and legal professionals were consulted.

“This is what they strongly recommended,” Helprin said.

Allen agreed, saying that Harbor House is the “best option” for accommodating students bringing nut products to school. Harbor House is about 100 yards away from the school.

Helprin estimates that, on average, five students eat outside the school each day.

If a student accidentally brings nuts into the school, staff will deal with the issue and substitute an alternative product.

“We appreciate our parents, students and staff for their understanding with this,” Helprin said. “Overall, we have been extremely pleased with everyone’s willingness to cooperate.”

Mark Good

Mark Good

Reporter at Mount Desert Islander
Mark Good

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