U.S. Rep. Matt Cartwright (D-PA) introduced on Dec. 5 the Alerting Local Leaders and Ensuring Responsible Guidelines for Youth (ALLERGY) Act, legislation that would require schools to enact a policy that addresses allergy bullying.
In a recent survey published by Pediatrics, approximately one-third of children with food allergies (eight percent of children, or 5.9 million children, in the United States) reported having been bullied specifically because of their allergy.
The ALLERGY Act would require each school to educate both students and school personnel about the dangers of allergy bullying and make it clear that such behavior is not allowed. In addition, each school’s policy must clearly define the punishment or response for violation of the rule. Lastly, the policy must have in effect guidelines that encourage victims of allergy bullying to report such incidents to school personnel.
“As the father of two sons, I firmly believe that every child deserves to go to school in a safe and nurturing environment. Bullying is a serious problem that can inflict long-term physical, emotional and mental harm,” Cartwright said. “Allergy bullying is particularly troubling because just one instance can cause a potentially life-threatening allergic reaction. This legislation would address a growing yet neglected problem within our nation’s schools. No student should have to attend school in fear of their peers.”
The legislation was introduced with the support of Allergy & Asthma Network Mothers of Asthmatics (AANMA) and Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE). Now we need your help! Call or email your Representative in Congress and ask that they co-sponsor the legislation.