Peanuts at Ecker Hill could be life threatening |

Peanuts at Ecker Hill could be life threatening

Just coming in contact with peanut products could be lethal for sixth-grader Grant Beal.

"I think he doesn’t like the attention, he just wants to be a normal kid. He is a normal kid," Dirk Beal said.

Exposure to peanut products of any kind can send the sixth-grader into anaphylactic shock. His father Dirk explained Grant’s peanut allergy causes his throat to close so he cannot breathe. Grant carries a shot of adrenalin with him to use in emergencies which reverses the reaction.

His allergy is severe enough that coming in contact with peanut oil left behind on lunch tables or door knobs can trigger a reaction.

In response. Ecker Hill has distributed fliers to the student body, eliminated peanut products from the vending machines and Grant’s teachers have informed all of his classmates about the allergy.

"The teachers at Ecker Hill have been awesome, they have been so cooperative," Dirk said.

Many of them asked that students voluntarily not bring peanut products into the school.

"We realize that it’s an inconvenience, but it is life threatening," Dirk said.

Until recently, Grant attended Parley’s Park Elementary which was designated a peanut-free school to accommodate the allergy.

"We owe a huge thanks to Pat Flynn, he made that entire school peanut free and now there are several children from other areas with peanut allergies who go there," Dirk said.

Ecker Hill Principal Greg Proffit has elected not to take similar action at the middle school.

"The school team has worked closely with the family to determine what would keep Grant safe within the context of a public school setting. This includes training and information within his academic team, along with verbal and written communications for entire school community. We hope that we’ve reached a workable solution," Proffit said in an e-mail.

While Dirk expressed his appreciation for everything the school has done to accommodate Grant, he said it worries him that peanuts are still allowed in school.

"We need to respect his decision, but we would like to see it a peanut-free environment," Dirk said.

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