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Published on February 23, 2024
Lake Travis ISD Considers Policy Update Following Peanut Prank on Allergic StudentSource: Google Street View

Amid the fallout of an incident that saw a Lake Travis High School student exposed to peanuts by teammates, Lake Travis ISD could be implementing changes to its food allergy management policies. The district was propelled into action after a high school football player with a peanut allergy discovered peanuts in his locker, a cruel prank that could have had disastrous consequences, as reported by KVUE.

The case, which transpired last fall, provoked community outrage and demands for tougher protections for students with allergies. During the subsequent board meeting, trustee Phillip Davis zeroed in on potential policy enforcement, notably asking, "What happens when plan is not followed or adhered to? So what are the possible repercussions of someone not following the plan purposely, not following the plan?" as KVUE reported.

Assistant Superintendent Tasha Barker underscored the district's commitment to review food allergy management plans each fall semester, to reinforce training among employees at the beginning of the school year. She explained the significance of recognizing symptoms of anaphylaxis, which can be mistakenly attributed to less threatening illnesses like the flu or the common stomach virus. "Sometimes, during flu season and stomach virus season, people might assume the symptoms a student is having is based on one of those contagions," Barker said. "But it really could be something they have eaten that is different," detailed CBS Austin.

Additionally, the measures include revised signage and posters in cafeterias and hand-washing areas which aim to inform on allergies and cross-contamination. A novel rule at the elementary level ensures that if one student has a severe allergy, their entire class will lunch in the cafeteria to minimize risks. "The entire class will go to the cafeteria because that is where our protocols are in place and having the students go to the cafeteria does not allow for any cross contamination in the classroom," Barker told CBS Austin, reinforcing the importance of centralized, controlled environments for food consumption.

The school district also entertained the option of permitting parents to waive standard allergy precautions for their children with severe allergies, provided they submit a formal written request. Amid the policy overhaul, concerns remain regarding the actual execution and the severity of repercussions for those who flout the rules, bringing into focus the need for robust enforcement measures to prevent further incidents and to protect students with potentially life-threatening allergies.