First Day Of School: Dear Parents

kid-with-allergiesAs you know, one of our students, Edgar, has a number of allergies and we ask that you be understanding in ensuring that the classroom remains free of certain materials and foodstuffs to assure that all students are able to enjoy the most nurturing learning environment possible.

Edgar is allergic to ground nuts, so kindly refrain from bringing peanuts, peanut butter, or any variant, including but not limited to earthnuts, ground nuts, goober peas, monkey nuts, pygmy nuts and pig nuts. It’s not commonly known that peanuts are not nuts at all, but rather legumes – so it is imperative that your child not bring to class any food containing legumes such as bambara groundnut, black eyed pea, chickpeas, common bean, cowpeas, fava or broad beans, hyacinth bean, lablab, lupins, moringa oleifera, peas, pigeon peas, soybeans, sterculia, velvet beans, winged beans, yam beans and several species of vigna. Green beans should be fine. however please avoid at all costs allowing your child to bring alfalfa, arachis, albizia, clover, lupins, stylo or, of course, vetch.

We’re sure you understand and will be considerate of Edgar’s condition.

Additionally, as you know, Edgar is highly sensitive to tree nuts, or “true nuts”, so kindly refrain from bringing almond, beech, black walnut, brazil nut, candlenut, cashew, chestnuts (including Chinese chestnut, malabar chestnut and sweet chestnut), coconut, colocynth, cucurbita ficifolia, filbert, gevuina avellana, hazelnut, hickory (and shagbark hickory), indian beech, kola nut, macadamia, mamoncillo, maya nut, mongongo, oak acorns, ogbono nut, paradise nut, pili nut, pistacia, walnut, and water caltrop. Naturally, acorns, brazil nuts, candlenut, cashew, chestnuts, chilean hazlenut (Gevuina), hazelnuts, hickories, malabar chestnut, mongongo, pine nuts or pistachio are also highly problematic, as are derivatives, such as pesto sauce. And please ensure that, if you make chili, that you use no beans, or meat, or tomatoes (see Appendix A, Nightshade Variants) and certainly refrain from using peanut butter in the chili.

Feel free to use nut-like gymnosperm seeds such as Monkey puzzle or juniper, but please, no pine nuts especially including single-leaf pinyon or of course, Mexican or Colorade pinyon.

Edgar’s sensitivity to certain fabrics will require slight changes to the classroom environment, as his extreme sensitivity to pile and nap mean that needlefelt, knotted, tufted or flatweave, plain weave or tapestry weave carpets are problematic. Specifically, damask, haircloth and of course double-cloth, two-ply, triple-cloth, hooked or embroidery can cause discomfort or bloating. Armenian carpets, especially including artsvagorgs and vishapagorgs (though not otsagorgs) are of particular concern. Please also avoid polyethylene terephthalate and Polytrimethylene terephthalate, acrylic, wool and wool-blended or acrylic carpets.

Sisal or Berber should cause no problems.

We are also concerned about chert, flint nodules and carbonate, especially calcium carbonate as found in traditional classroom chalk. This can cause chafing and other irritation; additionally, the aerosolized version of this, typically found in the dust trapped by the felt fabric of the chalkboard erasers (felt is another material to which Edgar has exhibited possible signs of allergic reaction) is also problematic. Unfortunately, Edgar’s sensitivities to alcohol based ink solvents 1-propanol, 1-butanol, diacetone alcohol and cresols
typically found in dry-erase markers make whiteboards unusable (also note that the xylene or toluene found in permanent markers is highly irritating to Edgar and can cause an immediate reaction). Finally, the active matrix color or TFT LCD screens on most contemporary computers cause Edgar light sensitivity and increased blinking and eye dryness, so please refrain from using computers of any kind in class.

We thank you in advance for your understanding and consideration. And we’re looking forward to a year that is exciting, educational and most of all, FUN!