Situation Food Allergy: The Teacher's Desk


Situation Food Allergy: The Teacher’s desk

Your fourth grader loves Mrs. Able. He thinks she is the most creative and caring teacher he’s ever met. And this is why he was shocked when, returning to class after lunch, he saw a few M&Ms on her desk. Because of his food allergy, you had talked to Mrs. Able and the principal at the beginning of the school year to stress the seriousness of the allergy. It was understood that students would not be eating unsafe foods in the classroom. You never said anything about the teacher, though.

“She was busy and was eating lunch at her desk,” he says to you when he recounts the story over dinner. “The M&Ms weren’t even in a bag or anything. They were just sitting there on the desk… directly on it.”

You look at your son. “What did you do then?” you ask.

What does he say he did? What, if anything, should he have done?


JJ Vulopas is a senior at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. An advocate for young people, JJ has lived with food allergies his entire life. He is the author of the children's book, Land of Not. You can read his daily blog at and follow him @thelandofcan on Twitter and Instagram.