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Dick Teresi: About that nut ban; Let them eat truffles 

Snack mix with chickpeas, pumpkin seeds, dried cranberries and nuts. (AP Photo/Matthew Mead)

Snack mix with chickpeas, pumpkin seeds, dried cranberries and nuts. (AP Photo/Matthew Mead) Purchase photo reprints »

To the editor:

Amherst wants to turn its schools into a nut-free zone. Some critics oppose the plan, citing the nutritious qualities of peanut butter sandwiches that many second-class residents, those on a budget, insist on feeding their children.

These people must be reasoned with. Have they learned nothing from history? We need only to go back to the eighteenth century and Marie Antoinette, who, upon learning that the rabble were starving from lack of bread, said, “Let them eat cake.” Historians, of course, will point out that Marie, a sensitive and politically correct person, never said this. Her exact words: “Let them eat gluten-free cake.” But I digress.

Marie’s point was that there are always alternatives. Instead of peanut butter, I always whip up brie and fresh tuna (sushi grade) sandwiches, served on a croissant. Kids love them. Or try Belgian endive and truffles on a brioche. I know what critics will say: truffles can cost $1,200 a pound. One must be resourceful. Those on a budget can buy a truffle hog, and let it sniff out truffles for free. Granted, many landlords do not allow pets, and many public facilities ban animals. We need only for Town Meeting to pass a bylaw declaring truffle-sniffing pigs to be “service animals” to make our town truffle friendly. Many will say this is stupid, but then why do we have Town Meeting?

The alternative plan to segregate nut-eating and non-nut-eating students in the cafeteria is an outrage. Segregation in any form is anathema to Amherstians. Those of us who lived through the civil rights movement have not forgotten the sacrifices of Rosa Parks, the brave woman who, in 1955, sat in the no-nuts section on a Montgomery, Ala., bus. She was arrested when she refused to give up her seat to a man with a peanut allergy. She just sat there, eating a five-pound bag of cashews. Can we allow her historic protest to be in vain? Support town officials’ efforts to make Amherst schools free of nuts. Of course, this means eliminating the nuts who came up with this plan in the first place.

Dick Teresi

Amherst

Related

Amherst schools move ahead with nut restrictions

Monday, December 2, 2013

AMHERST — Parents of Amherst schoolchildren are receiving letters this week offering them peanut alternatives and outlining the School Department’s plans for keeping nut products off school grounds beginning Monday. School officials, who had hoped to institute a restriction of nuts and related foods Oct. 15 to protect students who have severe allergies to them, delayed implementation after some parents … 1

While not all of us employ sarcasm, there are many who don't understand the need for a district-wide ban. Perhaps the parents of allergic children could explain why, when children reach the age of 14, they are not able to manage their own safety precautions? For younger children, a ban makes sense (those crazy kindergarteners licking eachother's faces on the playground!). But surely high schoolers have been educated in how to manage their own health needs? What will happen when they go to college? To a workplace? To a public restaurant? A reasoned response to these questions would be appreciated.

Dick, I'm am angry at your failed attempt at humor. I am the father of a student with life-threatening nut allergies. It is not funny making light of disabilities. Shame on you. When you realize your mistake, the community will accept your apology.

Your attempt at wit belies an arrogance and detachment even greater than that which you are mocking. For many children regardless of class or privilege, the presence of peanuts in any form in the classroom, hallways, or cafeteria is equivalent to a loaded gun. I hear that in Texas, they are pushing the idea of loaded guns in schools and maybe you're of the same ilk, but most reasonable people would prefer to err on the side of caution and, rather than put those packing weapons at their own table in the cafeteria, would rather keep all kids safe and protected. Or, you could pump your chest and assert your second amendment right to bear PB & J.

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