Our school community has made a commitment to follow nut-free guidelines for the safety and health of all our students. We need each student, teacher and parent to help us make Ravenswood a safer place for kids who have food allergies.
What Nut-Free Means at Ravenswood School
Guidelines for Families
Here’s how you can talk to your students to support their friends:
1. Don’t bring nuts to school. At all. Ever. This means no sandwiches, granola bars, treats or other food that contain nuts. We won’t be bringing any food with nuts for lunches, school events or class parties. You might have to help your parents remember. They try (really, they do) but your gentle reminders and the lunchbox stickers you will get will help.
2. Be a label detective! Food labels have super-tiny print and have lots of unpronounceable words, so you will have to become skilled at scanning the side of all packages. Ask an adult if you need help until you can check and report nuts in the foods you have for lunches.
3. If a friend shares that they have a food allergy, take note. Listen carefully and ask how you can help to support them.
4. If you have a food allergy, tell your friends why Ravenswood’s nut-free policy is important to you. If you’re comfortable joining your classroom lunch table, this is a great time to strike up the conversation over delicious soy butter sandwiches.
5. No, really. Try the soy butter.There are lots of delicious alternatives to peanut butter. Do a taste test! You might be surprised how much you love the creamy deliciousness that soy butter and sun butter add to plain old bread.
7. Skip the teasing, rude comments and making fun of food allergies. It’s not funny. Many kids with food allergies are bullied. None of us want that to happen at Ravenswood. Your teachers will help the classroom come up with ideas for staying supportive and positive, and putting an end to the negative stuff quickly.
8. What if I accidentally bring nuts to school? You will have the option of eating food with nuts at a designated nut table or tossing the item in the trash and eating a nut-free, no-cost school lunch.
Why should my family follow the nut-free guidelines?
- I am helping my friends stay healthy. If I have a food allergy or someone in my class does, I am helping create a safer environment for us all when I don’t bring food with nuts to school.
- Many places I go are already nut free! Ravenswood is now a part of a growing community that is following these guidelines. We’ve got this.
- It’s helping practice being supportive, safe and including others. When we are happy to help other kids, we are building a stronger school community.
- There are lots of delicious proteins to taste test! This is a great chance to try sunflower butter, cheese or even liverwurst.
- We are all in this together. Just like a pep rally or winter assembly, we all are cheering each other on to make the nut-free policy work. That includes teachers, BASA staff and Mr. Manaen.
Did You Know?
1. There are two children fighting food allergies in every American classroom. One in 13 children in this country are affected by food allergies, and the number of kids at Ravenswood is slightly higher – about 10%. There has been a considerable uptick in childhood cases that we cannot ignore. According to a report released by the CDC last year, the number of children with food allergies increased 50% from 1997 – 2011. In total, 15 million people nationwide manage food allergies.
2. All CPS meals are nut free. All the breakfasts and lunches served by CPS are nut free. CPS also requires that every school stock EpiPens that staff members are trained to administer in the event of an anaphylactic reaction, helping to earn CPS national recognition for health policy. Ravenswood will follow the lead of CPS by requiring that all lunches brought from home, party snacks, bake sale goods, potluck dishes and food that enters the building will be nut free.
3. We are joining a growing community of nut-free schools. Every three minutes, someone enters an ER due to a food-allergy reaction. Each year, 300,000 children visit the doctor for treatment of food allergy symptoms. Children are most likely to have their first reaction at school, and a quarter of those who are administered epinephrine in response have not had a diagnosis and are not aware they have a food allergy. To safeguard all children to the best of our ability, Ravenswood is making the same commitment to food safety that schools like Blaine, Alcott, InterAmerican and Edison have already established.
4. Food allergies can cause hives. They can also be fatal. Food allergy reactions can range from an irritating rash to life-threatening anaphylaxis. Some children experience the symptoms from direct contact while others have airborne allergies. It only takes a small amount of the allergen to set off symptoms. While most symptoms are mild and quickly treated, we will create a safer environment where kids who have food allergies can breathe easier knowing they will probably not come into contact with peanuts by sitting next to a buddy at lunch.
5. Ravenswood is an inclusive school where each child is valued. Just as we take academics and the arts seriously, just as we welcome children from diverse families, backgrounds and ethnicities, and just as we pair preschoolers with middle-grade students to read books, brainstorm and perform on stage, Ravenswood recognizes it is time to make kids with food allergies feel safe. Our nut-free policy will allow children with food allergies to sit at classroom tables and to be included in the fun and friendship building that happens at lunch time.