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The Great Cupcake Fiasco of 2017

All teachers must pay careful attention to their students’ food allergies. In fact, there are so many children with allergies these days that it is second nature for teachers to read labels and keep allergen lists in their classrooms.

I remember one parent who’d decided that her son might have an allergy to red food dye. Suspecting that his behavioral issues were related to this chemical, she asked his teachers to eliminate all products with food dye.

Another parent decided to bring ENORMOUS cupcakes with almost 2 inches of frosting for her child’s birthday celebration. Of course, most of them were dyed red. This caused a teacher, who already struggled with being flexible, to completely unravel, until she was in a full-blown panic attack. She called each of the parents. She pulled me out of my office at least three times with the question, “What am I supposed to do?” She did not want the child with the suspected allergy to feel left out of the celebration. She did not want to tell cupcake mom to leave them at home. “What should I do?!,” she lamented. Besides suggesting that she calm down, I offered that we think outside of the box by having me go outside of the box (the school) to the store to buy a dye-free cupcake. Bam! Problem solved!

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