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Mokena Couple Wants Schools To Go “Peanut Free”

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MOKENA, Ill. (CBS) – A southwest suburban school district will be asked tomorrow to make their campuses all “peanut free,” after one student had an allergic reaction that required paramedics to be called.

Brian Matejka said he’ll have to transfer his daughter somewhere else if Mokena School District 159 doesn’t go totally peanut free.

Paramedics had to be called recently, and took his 8-year old daughter Madeline to Silver Cross Hospital, after a classmate opened a bag of trail mix, and peanut dust went into the air, and caused the girl to have an allergic reaction.

Matejka said the school nurse gave a dose with an EpiPen, and so did paramedics. He said having a peanut allergy is not like other food allergies like dairy or gluten.

“The peanut allergy can kill,” he said.

Mokena Elementary School principal Ann Kirschner said the school district already has classrooms and lunchroom tables labeled “peanut free.” She said parents in “peanut free” classrooms are told at the beginning of the school year, as well as in reminders throughout the year, that no snacks with peanuts are allowed in their children’s classrooms.

Kirschner said teachers in those classrooms “religiously” check lunch and snack bags each day during the beginning of the school year to make sure the rule is being followed.

But Matejka said, “An ounce of prevention isn’t what we need. We need total compliancy across the board.”

Matejka said his daughter has been traumatized, and now needs a counselor for anxiety attacks.

Madeline’s teacher has since sent home a new snack policy, requiring snacks be placed in see-through plastic bags. The note also had a peanut with a diagonal line through it.

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