Webinar and Additional Resources: Exclude the Food, Not the Child

For parents of children with food allergies, managing those allergies at school can be a source of sadness, confusion or stress. Exclude the Food, Not the Child, presented by FARE’s National Director of Training Gina Clowes, breaks from our customary webinar format to offer an extended Q&A about rights, responsibilities, inclusion and safety in the school setting.

View the webinar here

Clowes’ starting point is the recognition that, from a legal standpoint, food allergy can be a disability. Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), a disability is a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities. Since eating, breathing and pumping blood are all major life activities, food allergy can meet this standard.

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) requires that public schools make available to children with disabilities a free, appropriate education in the least restrictive environment appropriate to their individual needs. The least restrictive environment is one in which the child is included, not isolated or discriminated against. This core principle informs the webinar throughout.

The questions asked by food allergy parents and answered by Clowes include the following:

  • Should my child with food allergies have a 504 plan or just a health care plan?
  • How can we manage lunches? Classroom snacks? Food rewards? Celebrations? Teaching with food?
  • How do food allergy accommodations differ at K-12 schools vs. colleges and universities?
  • What’s the best way to clean hands and surfaces?
  • What about non-nut allergens?
  • ‪How can food allergy awareness in schools build tolerance, acceptance and empathy?

Some additional online resources are available below.

School Safety and Inclusion: Where to Start


Protecting Students With Disabilities:


Extra-Curricular Activities:


Cleaning Hands and Surfaces of Food Residue:


FARE College Food Allergy Program: