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Peanut Allergy Kills 7-Year-Old Girl at School

Peanut Allergy Kills 7-Year-Old Girl at School

An elementary school is being investigated by police after the sudden death of a seven-year-old student on Monday.

Ammaria Johnson, a first grade student at Hopkins Elementary School in Chesterfield County, Virginia, died after suffering a severe allergic reaction to peanuts on the first day back after the holidays. Emergency crews responded to Hopkins Elementary but the little girl was already in cardiac arrest when they arrived.

Ammaria's death has raised questions about how prepared schools are to handle severe allergy reactions.


Read more.

Has your child's school ever had to deal with an allergy-related emergency?

Image Source: HLN via CNN

TerralynPolege TerralynPolege 5 years
I am very sorry for the parents of this child. It is extremely sad that this child had to die because the school refused to let the mom have her epi pen at school. I have several food allergies but thankfully not to peanuts so i know how important it is to avoid foods that i am allergic to, however kids that young may not know what foods contain peanuts and if other kids are sharing they don't want to feel left out so they share things they think are safe, its a normal kid reaction. I was a single mom for most of my kids school years and if I had to homeschool my children i would have had to live on social services, i guess some parents think that would be better for my kids than for their child to not eat nuts. I have a friend who's son is allergic to peanuts and if you even open a peanut butter bottle in the same house he is in he could die. So you can't say that another person's breath wouldn't kill them, it will kill my friends son. not eating nuts maybe inconvenient but it won't kill your kid so lets show some compassion to those who have severe allergies. it is the law that all children under a certain age has to go to school so stop being selfish and just have the peanuts on the weekends when you are not wilfully endangering another person's life. People with allergies have no control of their allergies but those of us without can be considerate of those allergies if we know they exist and peanut allergies are one of the worst because people can die from just the smell. Here's a thought teach your child not to share their food with other children and maybe this death could have been avoided. My children's school had a no peanuts and no sharing policy, that way if you inadvertantly sent something with a trace of peanuts to school with your child at least another child who is allergic couldn't share it and die. I wonder how we can be so insensitive to another mom's pain. I sure hope that mom doesn't read the responses to this article.
MaryHellberg MaryHellberg 5 years
As tragic as this is, it points to the necessity for training for staff to deal with health emergencies. Two of my dear friend's grandsons have HCM (if you've seen the viral video by Ben Breedlove from Austin TX, you know what I'm talking about); the younger one's teacher would "forget" that he wasn't allowed to run, and she refused to use the AED when he needed it, preferring to get him mom to him so SHE could administer appropriate treatment. Needless to say, her contract was not renewed because she and her son were seen as too much trouble. ... But STILL!!! School staff members should be trained. We all (teachers and other staff members) had to learn CPR. Why can't other appropriate protocols be taught?
TabathaHill TabathaHill 5 years
OMG. My heart goes out to the family for such a terrible loss. My children go to school on the Six Nations Reserve in Ontario Canada. Our schools are all peanut/nut free. Being mostly low income families that would depend on Peanut butter sandwiches it was tough at first. We have been peanut free for at least 10years now. The kids have adjusted and I dont see whats wrong with adjusting for someones allergies. Put yourself in that child`s shoes, would you want to told you can`t go to that school because you have an allergy. Our staff (including me as I am an EA there) are all trained on how to properly give an Epi-pen injection. Those who think to segregate these children should go sit on the island themselves. Grow up this isn`t the 1940`s or so. Just cuz they are different doen`t mean you throw them aside. All schools should become peanut and nut free.
Nera2525 Nera2525 5 years
Terrible loss, but preventable!!! Why didn't she cary EPI-PEN if she had severe allergies to peanuts. One of mine new how to give herself one at that age and so does my grandson. With all allergies that kids have or just develop in a second this days. Schools shoul cary EPI-PENS in nurses offices as a mandatory medication. To bad that Ammaria's parents counted on school being peanut free, when there is so many foods and treats for kids with traces of peanut in them. Parents if you child has severe allergy ask you doctor for EPI-PEN, it's a differents between life and death. I know they are expensive and have only a year shealf lifetime, most companies will give you a break on unused ones and take them back and give you new one for reduced price or in some cases for free. My hearth goes out to parents but even more so to Ammaria, her last minutes on earth were living hell. I had a close call as an adutl and I rader break a bone than go trough that again, we have 4 of them at home an when I go somewhere I take 2 with me, when we go camping all 4 are in my First Aid Kit.
MonikaWoods MonikaWoods 5 years
That's horrible! It's because so many schools don't listen to kids. The kids will tell them and they are like "well you should have a note." And to the parent with the comment "aren't most schools peanut free", the kids in our impoverished schools are happy to get food, we don't have the money in our school system to be peanut free.
TammyChisholm TammyChisholm 5 years
My son has his allergy meds at school, but his school is peanut free. Aren't most schools?.....
My good friend has a family member who lost their child much the same way, only the school DID have an epipen the family had provided for the girl and it was not administered, the "school nurse" was not a nurse at all and was not competent at all. When the family first spoke with people they found out she had almost been fired many times and had that job with the school due to the fact that she had not been competent at others. When the court hearings came though those same staff members went on and on about how great the school nurse was. Hard part is there are so many foods each child could have issues kids are fine with peanuts (although I don't feel well when I eat them) and they don't have life threatening issues with the things they don't do well with (yet) they how ever do poorly in school and otherwise when they eat dairy and gluten. If the schools removed those things from the school, and nuts and shell fish and other common allergens most parents would not even know WHAT to send to school with their kids and every school lunch the school serves would be completely out. Also I have a child who has severe reactions not to food, to stress. This is particularly the case when she has been sick recently. The reaction is severe and we have antihistimens with her at all times. I would want the school to have supplies even if she had no allergies if she were schooled at a brick and mortar school ( she schools on line now) So sorry for this family, only hoping we can find ways to make it so this does not happen again, has also made me think twice, I have sent plenty of peanut items ( on gluten free bread) to school with my kids......
GarnetHerndonShah GarnetHerndonShah 5 years
Schools by law are not allowed to purchase/provide any medications of any kind. It is the law. If you are mad at anyone, it is the idiots that sue over EVERYTHING and now make it impossible for your teenage daughter to take advil on her own at school for cramps, and for a school to provide benedryl and epi-pens for children who are in life and death situations.
maureenhoward maureenhoward 5 years
I am so sorry for this girl and her family but It is not the schools responsibility to monitors what a child eats. If the parents knew the child had the allergy, then I think it is up to them to instruct the child and be so careful..for the sake of their little girl. I would be totally up my kids butt watching what she eats until she was of age to fully understand. If the family did not know then they still should not blame the school for being unprepared. It could have happened at home and would the parents been any more "prepared" then to call 911 also? Again very sad, but we must not always look for blame.
MelissaGledhill MelissaGledhill 5 years
No parent should lose a child it is so sad. By the school saying that she could not have her epi pen at school and the nurse refusing to give her benadryle the school killed that little girl not her penut allergy. To all of you who said that she should have been home schooled because she is allegric to peanuts, pls grow up and think about that. In this day and age there are more and more single parent homes and homes where both parents have to work just to make ends meat. So when are they to have time to put home school in. schools need to be ready in any case of an emergency. What if the parent or the child does not know that they have an alergy to something until they are exposed to it.
LauralChan LauralChan 5 years
Schools like this are the reason we home school. One of our children has a severe peanut allergy and carries an epi-pen at all times. No exceptions. Even to the pool. Still, would I trust a school to competent enough to administer it? No.
LauraTisdel LauraTisdel 5 years
I have a 5 and a 17 year old boys, both of who have severe allergic reactions to peanuts. They have been trained since they were able to talk to ask if something has peanuts in it before they eat it. My older one never had to have his Epi-pen in school since the school has a supply of them for emergencies. My 5 yr old has his on on at all times. It is carried from room to room with him , also outside on recess. Every quarter his teacher sends a reminder home with all the students about not sending in items that have any type of peanut products in them. We have alot of students in the district with plans in effect for food allergies. I know my sons dr. sent in a detailed plan of how she wants it treated if he has a reaction, the nurse is the first person on the list to give his meds if needed, then the principle, the secretaries. If need be his teacher would do it in a sever emergency. To homeschool a child for an allergy is not a reason, you need to make the school aware of your childs problems so they know ahead of time and they can help protect them. If the school does not know how can they help?
TinaYeagley TinaYeagley 5 years
I think it's great that schools ban peanuts if there are children with allergic reactions. But if you read the article the link takes you to, it says the school thinks she got something at recess. So even if they had a ban, kids could've still brought some of their Christmas candy to school. Maybe one of her friends gave her a piece of candy that caused her reaction. What a tragic way to lose a child. I do think the school was in the wrong to not just give her the epi pen.
MindyHudon MindyHudon 5 years
My heart goes out to Ammaria's family. It is a tragic accident. It is unfortunate that the parents or the school wasn't prepared. I work in a school with many children who are allergic to peanuts. As a parent and professional, I take precautions to ensure that these children are safe. I do not agree that any child with a peanut allergy should be home schooled. All children have the legal right to attend school in a safe environment. Children with allergies have the right to go to school and fully participate; however, they require accommodations to keep them safe including: having an epi pen, trained staff, peanut free classroom and peanut free table at lunch. Children who have other special needs disabilities are provided with accommodations to meet there needs, like specialized reading programs, wheel chairs, etc. Why are children with allergies any different. In my sons school, the entire school is peanut free. I think that is a smart thing and I don't mind not sending a peanut butter and jelly sandwich in to school to keep another child safe. My boys can eat peanut butter at home. Sometimes it is important to see past our own petty needs and think about the whole. Would you want your child to feel responsible for another child's death because you gave them a peanut butter sandwich for lunch?
CourtnieWilliams CourtnieWilliams 5 years
A child has died. This is a tragedy. It was avoidable. It is a sad, harsh lesson and to try to be petty and bring up your child's right to have a peanut butter sandwich is not only thoughtless and tactless but completely insensitive. A child has died people. Will it kill your child to NOT have a peanut butter and jelly sandwich? Most definitely the school should have epi-pens on ready supply as well as a portable defibrillator (no matter how tight budgets are) and I question why the mom had not had an epi-pen readily available for her daughter in case this were to happen regardless of the cost and regardless of the presumed severity of the allergy. But again, had the school had the proper safety measures in place it would not matter if the mom provided one or not. It's a sad, sad situation and I feel for not only the family but also for the other children who undoubtedly miss their little friend.
MonicaNees MonicaNees 5 years
It completely amazes me, especially on a site specifically for MOMs how heartless some people's replies can be to a family who has just lost their child. How can you even think to in anyway place blame on this poor family. I think before some of you start to type you should stop and think!! My heart goes out to this family, what a horrible tragedy! Prayers to you and may your dear sweet daughter rest in peace! My heart breaks for your loss!
momto35499 momto35499 5 years
EpiPens are very expensive. Perhaps the mother couldn't afford to have an extra at school? The school SHOULD have EpiPens available for any child to use, period. My daughter's day care does...they obviously have them for the kids, but they also don't want to be responsible for a child potentially dying b/c the parent didn't provide a pen. Yeah, it's the parents responsiblity to provide the pen, I get that. BUT, the school shouldn't be caught up in that crap, just have a pen on hand in case someone needs one. Epipens are life-saving devices. We aren't talking about asprin, cough syrup, or some other non-life dependent med. Allergies, particularly allergies to peanuts, are extremely common in our area. How cold and cruel for some people to infringe on a child's right to be in school to suggest they be home-schooled due to allergies. What if her mother was a single mom? How is she to homeschool her child, and provide for her all the same? You're an idiot to think that. And punishing all the non-allergic kids by asking them not to have or bring peanuts? Punishing? Get over it! Every school should have some sort of policy in play. A non-peanut zone in the lunch room, along with washing hands policy after lunch, etc. Why should you isolate those kids with allergies? Why is it such a "burden" on "everyone else" to have these protections in place? You don't get a reaction by someone's breath, as someone suggested... c'mon. You would have to come in contact with them via kissing, or touch of some way, and obviously ingestion. No one's asking you not to eat peanut butter toast for breakfast ... what is your problem?? It's sad that this girl's death probably could've been prevented if the school had the pen to administer...and called 9-1-1 immediately (the article said the school called the mother first??). How sad this happened, and my heart goes out to her family.
DawnaMcLain DawnaMcLain 5 years
Ugh. . . I think I read all of three or four replies before I was disgusted and felt compelled to reply. First off, not everyone is in the position to homeschool. . . and if we were, all of the paper work regarding medications and allergies would be unnecessary. . .Additionally, some allergies are progressive. Maybe she wasn't "deathly" allergic, (if she was the school would likely have had an epi-pen for her. . .) but reacted more drastically this time around. . . Let's not judge. I have a son, who at 15 months or so was considered failure to thrive. After close exploration, and bloodwork, etc, we learned that he had food allergies. We started with an elimination diet. The first thing we eliminated was peanuts and, thank goodness, that worked! Since we eliminated peanut products he has been growing at a healthy pace!! We were fortunate. If things had continued. . . who knows where he/we would be today! My heart goes out to the parents who have lost their child. ♥
HeatherBadin HeatherBadin 5 years
I think the death is tragic but when you have a child who is deathly llergic to something it is the parents responsibility to protect/teach them. The school can not hover over ever peanut kid. I know it sounds harsh but I wish the peanut allergy kids would home school. I shouldn't have to inspect and second guess my kids lunch because you may not teach your kid not to ask for a bite.
VickiMartinBarone VickiMartinBarone 5 years
Not sure if the facts about this little girl's tragic death are accurate, but ALL schools ought to have stock epipens and personnel trained to administer them! None of my three children have any known allergies, but a reaction can occur anytime, even by someone with no history of allergies. If one of my kids suddenly had a reaction, there better be emergency care to save them! There are several children at my kids' schools with severe allergies, and I know of one who carries his epipen in a belt around his waist at all times. He is only seven, but the school understands how crucial it is to administer the epipen as soon as an allergic reaction occurs, and therefore, keeps it right by his side, not in some locked cabinet! These tragic deaths from allergies are prompting me to have my kids tested for allergies even though they have never had an allergic reaction to anything!
MistyColeman18003 MistyColeman18003 5 years
It is very sad that the little girl died but IMO she should've been home schooled. If your child is actually DEATHLY allergic to something like that then don't put them in an environment you can't control. Even if the punish all the non allergic children while at school making school a nut free zone YOU CAN NOT INFINGE ON SOMEONE'S RIGHT TO EAT NUTS AT HOME BEFORE SCHOOL! A child that deathly allergic could have a reaction simply from another child's breath that had peanuts for breakfast. There was a case a few years ago the girl almost died after kissing her boyfriend who had eaten nuts hours before kissing her. I know if my child's allergy was that severe I would never put them in am uncontrolled environment.
DanielleLemire DanielleLemire 5 years
I honestly think it's a bit unfair to completely ban peanuts from schools. My school had a no sharing policy, and that worked great. Education about allergies also played a big part..
DanielleTeatCrayton DanielleTeatCrayton 5 years
This is such a tragedy. I thought schools were supposed to be peanut free because of the high percentage of children with peanut allergies. My thoughts and prayers go out to the family.
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