By Wand Agency
BY LIZ REED
ANCHOR ALEX HOLLEY
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One small child with a peanut allergy has led a group of parents to protest her presence in a Florida classroom. Edgewater Elementary is required by law to protect the 6-year-old girl, which includes employing a peanut-sniffing dog, forcing her classmate to wash their hands repeatedly and rinse out mouths.
CNN breaks down the tension building between parents and the precautions.
REPORTER: “Parents are debating whether the rule infringes on the rights of students and take time away from education.”
PARENT 1: “I guess it’s not fair, for one kid to have a set of standards that rest of the kids have to abide by.”
PARENT 2: “It’s protecting the safety of the child, everybody has a right to an education.”
The Centers for Disease Control says food allergies have increased by 18 percent from 1997 to 2007, so the school’s actions could impact other districts with allergic students.
NBC reveals Edgewater parents’ frustrations.
REPORTER: “How much time is being wasted washing hands in your mind?”
MOTHER: “30 minutes, almost 30 minutes a day.”
REPORTER: “In a week?”
MOTHER: “Two and a half hours.”
REPORTER: “And do you add it up over the school year?”
MOTHER: “Almost, what, 80 hours?”
REPORTER: “And that to you is?”
MOTHER: “A lot of time that’s being taken away from their education.”
But a reporter from Orlando’s WFLX, who also has a child with food allergies, reports the school’s protocol is helpful, if not necessary, for the health of all children.
“I have been told over and over again that because of the protocol of being in class with Brody, other kids don’t get sick as much. Think about it, if you’re forcing kids to wash their hands, if you’re forcing kids to wipe their faces--the germs, forget about the allergen, the germs aren’t going back and forth.”
A former teacher weighed in on Fox News - questioning the burden being put on first graders.
“This is borderline ridiculous. The mother said the child could not just develop a rash but possibly die if she were exposed. So are you telling me that your placing the potential death of a 6-year-old in the hands of a 6-year-old?”
WKMG goes straight to the source and asks the father about his daughter’s role in the struggle.
REPORTER: “The Bailey’s apologize for the interruption but say it’s their job to protect their child.”
DAD: “We would love for everything to be normal. And I’d love to have everybody else have a normal life.”
In response to the parents’ protest, school officials decided students will no longer have to rinse their mouths with water.
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Transcript by Newsy