Petitioners say ‘nuts’ to policy

SOUTHWEST HARBOR — School officials here are planning to hold an informational meeting sometime in early January to educate concerned parents about a situation involving a student or students with severe nut allergies. The move was prompted by a petition presented to the school committee at their Dec. 10 meeting.

As reported earlier, students at the Pemetic Elementary School who bring nuts or nut products, such as peanut butter, to school are now required to store and eat their meal at the neighboring Harbor House building. Some parents have questioned whether this is necessary.

The petition calls for the school administration to assign one room in the school where students can eat snacks and lunches that contain nuts.

“The idea of having student leave school grounds to eat lunch is completely unacceptable when we, as taxpayers, have paid for a facility that has plenty of room to accommodate the needs of all of the children attending Pemetic,” the petition states.

The school committee is in hopes that the January meeting will better explain the situation to the petitioners and other interested parties. Unfortunately, school officials are a bit hamstrung in giving details about the student or students with the allergies and can only talk about the issue generally.

“The first thing is we can’t explain it, legally,” said school committee chairman Susan Allen.

Confidentiality requirements, she believes, have made the situation more confusing for parents.

“It’s been a tough situation for everyone involved,” Allen acknowledged.

Allen said she is unsure if the school can meet the demands of the petitioners.

“I can’t comment on that because it’s out of our hands,” she said.

A time and date for the meeting have not been set. She hopes the discussion sheds more light on the issue.

“The end result is for every kid in the school to be safe and cared for,” she said.

Mark Good

Mark Good

Reporter at Mount Desert Islander
Mark Good

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