PORTLAND, Ore. — Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are still OK at a Portland elementary school.
The School Board voted 5-2 Monday against banning peanut butter from one of two campuses at the Beverly Cleary School.
The campus has kindergartners and first-graders who eat in the classroom because of overcrowding, and board member Steven Buel said the parent of a child with a severe peanut allergy is concerned.
Buel has been trying for weeks to get the board to consider a ban on serving peanut butter and jelly sandwiches at the campus. He opened a jar of Skippy as he made his case. He said the ban would affect only about 20 sandwiches.
“You can’t guarantee that you’re not going to make a mistake and kill this young child,” he said.
Superintendent Carole Smith said the district is following the advice of experts who say designating a school as “nut-free” could lull students into a false sense of security — and the school can’t guarantee that status.
“The national recommended practice is that you’re teaching someone to handle this in an environment that they’re in their entire life,” Smith said.
Administrators estimated it could cost more than $60,000 to replace the district’s peanut-butter sandwiches with options such as soy or sunflower butter.
Assistant Principal Lisa Newlyn said the school has been thoughtful in responding to a student’s allergy. Students who are allergic sit separately from students if they are eating peanut butter, and all students are asked to wash their hands before and afterward to ensure peanut butter residue will not stay in the classrooms, Newlyn said.