A lovely conversation with Brentson’s mom

March 10, 2006 at 8:57 pm (Allergy News!, social issues)

Laura Duke, mom of Brentson (who I mentioned on the show a few episodes back), is going to be a guest on the podcast soon.

I’m excited to report she’s a really neat, smart, sweet lady, and I’m looking forward to having her be my first live interview on the show.  I think her family’s story is one the world will be fascinated to hear!

Thanks in advance, Laura, and I look forward to speaking with you again, soon!

Readers and listeners: if you have questions for Laura about her fight with her local Nashville, TN school system over the handling (or in this case non-handling) of life-threatening food allergies, please feel free to send you questions in via email, or to leave them in the blog comments, or to phone them in at my toll-free number.

To comment on this blog entry, click “comment,” and then have at it!

To email, send a note to allergyware@gmail.com

To call, dial 1-888-65-GCAST.  An automated voice will start talking to you: enter the phone number “CALL LESLEA.”  The automated voice will start talking again: enter “1111#”.  If you are outside the US, dial +1-305-437-8719 to call internationally.

I’m sure Laura looks forward to your questions as much as I do.  She’s a mom with a mission and I think you will really enjoy hearing her speak, despite the really crummy reason that she’s had to get fired up!  🙂


Peanut Allergies Keep Grade-Schooler Out Of Classes
Posted: 1/24/2006 5:41:00 PM
Updated: 1/24/2006 6:48:16 PM

Peanut Allergies Keep Grade-Schooler Out Of Classes

One student’s peanut allergies have caused quite a controversy with Metro Schools. The child’s doctor said he cannot go back to the school until it is an entirely peanut free environment.

Research indicates food allergies affect six to eight percent of school-age children.

One in five of those will have an allergic reaction while they’re on campus, and in some cases those reactions can be fatal. Nine year-old Brent Duke is allergic to peanut products. He’s had to be pulled from Stratton Elementary School and is now being taught at home.

“We requested homebound services for him because the doctor said it was not safe until the entire environment is “peanut-free” and it’s enforced,” said Brent’s mother, Laura.

Last September, an allergic reaction during music class caused Brent headaches, stomach aches and his throat to close. His doctor says because of the nine year-old’s allergies it’s too dangerous for Brent to go back to school.

“The risk for him to return to school in an environment that is not peanut-free is a risk of immediate death,” said Laura.

Metro Public Health partners with the school district. They said their priority is the well-being of students. “However it is not really realistic to be able to say we want a school that is free of all allergies,” said Dr. Kimberlee Etheridge.

Dr. Etheridge said if they ban what one child is allergic to, they’d have to ban what every child’s allergic to.

“We as people working in the school need to know if a child does have allergies or other health concerns or issues that we might have to deal with during the school day,” said Etheridge.

Metro school officials can’t comment. But school board members have underscored their position as to precautions and actions regarding student allergies. They include conferences with a parent and on-site school nurses; and notifying cafeteria workers of allergies and to take necessary precaution.

Parents are notified where a known allergic reaction is possible and are then asked to refrain from sending material with allergic ingredients.

Guidance counselors and outside professional resources are brought in for input, and substitute teachers are also informed.

None of those provisions are enough to put Brent Duke back in class.

“I want him back at school with his friends. He misses his friends,” said Duke.

It is unclear when or if he’ll be able to return. Metro schools agreed to provide home tutoring for seven weeks for the Dukes while the school district looked for a solution.

The service stopped 11 days ago, and now Laura Duke home schools Brent. She said she is working for legislation to provide better options for families like hers.

Providing home services to students is expensive for Metro Schools. This year over half a million dollars will be used to teach around 100 students in their homes.


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