Earlier this year I wrote a blog post about Food Bullying. It was from the standpoint that as adults, when we embark on a healthier lifestyle, we are sometimes exposed to food bullying. My advice was to tell your friends and family WHY you are making the healthy choices, to EDUCATE them so that they become your allies, not your adversaries.
Last week, a friend made me aware of another form of Food Bullying that absolutely horrified me: Food Allergy Bullying.
- 1 in 13 children in the US has a food allergy
- At least 2 children in every American classroom suffer from a food allergy
Now, imagine: your child (or someone you love) has a serious peanut allergy and a bully smears peanut butter across their forehead. Yes, that really happened!
This is truly unacceptable. It is not a problem for the schools, parents, doctors, teachers, nurses or coaches.
Bullying simply is not “someone else’s problem.”
We are ALL responsible for advocating, educating and empowering. And we need to be proactive, not reactive. Every child, including those with food allergies or dietary intolerance, DESERVES to feel safe and secure at school and in life.
The Golden Apple Rule™ is a solution to combat bullying and harassment toward children with food allergies. This initiative was developed by Joan Schmidt, a Registered Nurse and a mother of a daughter who has a tree nut allergy. She is a co-owner of JCB Consulting, Inc. with her sister Barbara Callanan who suffers from celiac disease.
“With input from educators and child psychologists, Joan spearheaded this program to assist schools in raising awareness about food allergies and the peer prompted stigmas that label these children as ”weird” or “stupid,” or even worse. This program, the first of its kind, provides creative problem-solving strategies and activities for educators, school nurses and students in order to promote awareness and build tolerance within the school community.”
Read more from the May 2013 School Nurse News article by Joan Schmidt “The Golden Apple Rule™ Initiative and the School Nurse Assist Children with Food Allergies Who Are Bullied.”
Joan Schmidt is a Registered Nurse with an MBA who has over 20 years of healthcare and management experience. Joan, with her sister, Barbara Callanan, own and operate JCB Consulting Services, Inc., a company that offers allergen and gluten-free consulting services to schools, the hospitality industry as well as individual clients. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org and visit their website at www.consultjcb.com.