A 13-year-old California boy was given detention for sharing his lunch with a fellow student who wasn't too thrilled with his school-provided lunch on Sept. 16.
The boy told KRCR, "I just wanted to give mine to him because I wasn't really that hungry."
School superintendent Tom Barnett argued sharing food could be dangerous because of allergy and hygiene-related issues.
Barnett told KRCR, "Because of safety and liability, we cannot allow students to actually exchange meals."
But some in the media think the school's policy seems a tad over the top.
HLN anchors said, "If someone has a food allergy, I guess I can understand that –– but hygiene? They're kids. They just want to share with each other."
And as news of this event crossed the country, KMXJ's reporter said, "These boys are 13 years old, I'm sure by now these boys know that if they are allergic to a certain type of food they shouldn't eat that food."
To many, the school's response seems like an overreaction, but what do schools stand to lose in an allergy-related accident? A lot, it seems.
WWJ-TV reports last year a Michigan family sued a school for an alleged lack of accommodation for their 10-year-old who has a peanut allergy.
The case partially centered around the Americans with Disabilities Act, which lists allergies as a disability. Schools bear the burden of making the environment safe and healthy for everyone.
So, it could be argued the school's motivation to separate lunches is reasonable to avoid lengthy and costly lawsuits. But did the boy who shared his lunch deserve to be punished?
His mother told KRCR the school overstepped its bounds, saying: "When it comes to morals and manners and compassion, I believe it needs to start at home with the parent."
The boy has served his detention already but says he would share his lunch again.
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