This is an amazing story of how two teachers allowed a student they knew was allergic to peanut butter take a bite of a peanut butter sandwich in the classroom during a class activity. The story doesn’t stop there. In fear of losing their jobs, the two teachers lied to school officials and the boy’s parents about how he came into contact with the peanut butter–claiming that they saw it happen in the lunch room.
To add insult to injury, the teachers’ attorney testified that the boy’s health needs were “never in jeopardy.” The fact is, that you never know how severe an allergic reaction is going to be. It is something that cannot be predicted. For many children, each reaction becomes increasingly severe. Food allergies can be life threatening and should be taken seriously.
Thankfully, both teachers resigned. However, the school wrote a letter of recommendation for Ms. Gigstad that did not mention the peanut butter incident. After putting a student’s life in danger and then trying to cover it up, she is now believed to be teaching at another school in Iowa. She claims that she has told her current employer about the incident.
She said the two teachers decided not to tell the mother there was peanut butter in the classroom. Instead, documents show, the two teachers decided to say the boy may have contacted the substance in the lunchroom.
“That’s the lie that continued to be told, right?” Halstead asked during questioning.
“Yes,” Gigstad said.
Gigstad testified that Watkins had come to her at lunch “flustered” and said she had forgotten that the boy had a peanut allergy.
“I can’t. I can’t tell his mom. I can’t tell,” Gigstad recounted Watkins telling her.
She said the two had made a quick decision that they really didn’t think through and now regret.
Rick Wade, an attorney from Lincoln representing both teachers, told commissioners that the student’s health needs were “never in jeopardy.”
“They were never ignored,” he said. “There was never any risk of harm to that particular student.”
- Teachers suspended for covering up peanut butter incident (journalstar.com)
- Peanut butter cover-up alleged at Omaha school (sfgate.com)