Hamblen County mom upset about school food allergy policy

Hamblen County mom upset about school food allergy policy

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Brandi, who doesn't want her last name mentioned, contacted 6 News to get answers about why her 5-year-old son is still bringing home blueberry candy from Russellville Elementary School, when she told staff that he's allergic to blueberries. Brandi, who doesn't want her last name mentioned, contacted 6 News to get answers about why her 5-year-old son is still bringing home blueberry candy from Russellville Elementary School, when she told staff that he's allergic to blueberries.
"It's almost like a slap in the face when he comes home for not the first, second, third, fourth or fifth, but the sixth time with a piece of candy with blueberry in it," Brandi said. "It's almost like a slap in the face when he comes home for not the first, second, third, fourth or fifth, but the sixth time with a piece of candy with blueberry in it," Brandi said.
Brandi says the allergy includes anything with blueberries in it, from cereal to marshmallows and candy. Brandi says the allergy includes anything with blueberries in it, from cereal to marshmallows and candy.
"They should provide us with a doctor's statement saying it is food allergy, then we automatically come up with a health care plan," Principal Sammie Taylor said. "They should provide us with a doctor's statement saying it is food allergy, then we automatically come up with a health care plan," Principal Sammie Taylor said.

By KAYLA STRAYER
6 News Reporter

RUSSELLVILLE (WATE) - A Hamblen County mother is frustrated over her son's school's policy for food allergies.

Brandi, who doesn't want her last name mentioned, contacted 6 News to get answers about why her 5-year-old son is still bringing home blueberry candy from Russellville Elementary School, when she told staff that he's allergic to blueberries.

"It's almost like a slap in the face when he comes home for not the first, second, third, fourth or fifth, but the sixth time with a piece of candy with blueberry in it," Brandi said.

Brandi says at the start of the school year, she filled out a form letting the school know her son has an allergy to blueberries and bees. She says she's now filled out three similar forms.

"At least a dozen times between phone calls and letters I've tried to get in touch with them and tell them please stop giving him blueberries," Brandi said.

6 News took Brandi's concerns to Russellville Elementary School Principal Sammie Taylor. He says food allergies are taken seriously, but to be aware of them, the school needs a doctor's note.

"They should provide us with a doctor's statement saying it is food allergy, then we automatically come up with a health care plan," Taylor said.

That plan includes a system in the cafeteria that automatically notifies school employees if a child has a food allergy. Until Wednesday, Brandi's son hasn't been on this plan because Taylor says they didn't have a doctor's note.

"My concern with that is just because I do not have a written note from the doctor for an EpiPen doesn't mean that it's not a valid food allergy," Brandi said.

When asked what Brandi has to do to make sure her son is not given blueberries, Taylor said: "I would rather not discuss an individual case. We will make sure the child does not have blueberries again in the future."

Brandi admits her son's allergy is unique, but she says it started with him at age two and can get severe. She says the allergy includes anything with blueberries in it, from cereal to marshmallows and candy.

She says she's taking her son to the doctor this week to get an allergy test and a note for the school. She's also requested that the school not give any candy to her son. 

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