Just as a community needs a variety of personalities to have a healthy discourse, a diet needs a variety of options to be healthy for the body. The Superintendent’s Office of the Amherst public schools thinks differently, apparently, and feels that they ought to ban nuts. While the nuts in Amherst are regularly a cause for frustration, and there are some people who can’t even deal with having nuts in the same room as them, I think this was a foolish policy decision.
I have two teacher friends in Amherst who used to bring nuts to school as their primary snack (teachers need protein because dealing with kids takes a lot of energy) and now they can’t anymore. They don’t really have any good replacements.
Furthermore, how can something so commonplace and inconspicuous be effectively banned? Is the policy actually practical at all? Teachers aren’t roaming the cafeteria with riding crops and trash bags examining kids’ lunch boxes, are they? If they are, there are probably nuts in other places that they should be on the look out for, including the Superintendent’s Office.
To so dramatically force changes to the diet of so many students and staff, the School Committee, Superintendent’s Office, and Wellness Committee need to show us all numbers of how many members of the school community are seriously allergic to nut products. How many students have an anaphylactic allergic reaction just from having nut products nearby? Are we talking about two hundred students? Fifty? One? I don’t know where the cut-off is, but it certainly appears as if this decision was made without much consideration of the implications. It’s okay to acknowledge fault and reverse course; I think that would show more strength of leadership in this case than sticking to their guns.
I’m a big supporter of Maria Geryk, and I think she’s generally doing well with a very difficult job. But this is outlandish. Amherst thrives on nuts; to attempt to quash such a nut-ritious part of the diet is little more than nutty.