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November 24, 2014

Clawson Public Schools

Superintendent and Board of Education
Clawson, MI
Dear Superintendent and Board Officials:
We at Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Connection Team are greatly concerned with a video of your school
board meeting discussion of students with food allergies and a board members comment well you should just
shoot them.Additionally concerning is the laughter of other members and persons present at the meeting
following this remark.
Food allergies affect approximately 15 million Americans, including six million children. The prevalence
of food allergies appears to be increasing among children under the age of 18; that is 2 students in every
classroom. There are about 200,000 emergency department visits per year a food allergy reaction sends
someone to the emergency department every 3 minutes, and every 6 minutes the reaction is one of anaphylaxis.
The U.S. Department of Education, Office of Civil Rights (OCR) and the U.S. Department of Justice have
determined food allergies may be deemed a disability that requires accommodation under federal disability laws
and regulations, including the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of The Rehabilitation Act of 1973.
Additionally, the OCR issued a Dear Colleague letter on October 21, 2014 that reminds schools that the
bullying of a student with a disability may result in the denial of a free and appropriate public education and
addresses the schools obligation in remedying the bullying and its effects. The letter confirms that such bullying
need not be peer to peer for the student to be protected, but includes bullying by teachers and administrators.
In todays times of school shootings and the increased awareness of bullying and the effects of bullying, it
is astounding to hear any person in authority make such a cavalier, insensitive, and offensive joke about
students with disabilities. We do not expect that such a remark would have been tolerated, much less laughed at, if
it were made about students with other disabilities. Furthermore, the acceptance of such comments from one of
your highest school officials would lead one to question whether this dismissive attitude towards life-threatening
food allergies is pervasive throughout your district. It is very concerning that no remedial action has been taken
since this remark was made, not even an apology. One would hope that this is due to a mere lack of education
regarding food allergies.
As such, FAACT would like to offer education seminars for your board officials, as well as district-wide
staff seminars. We would like to help you resolve this glaring issue and are willing to offer our services free of
charge. We hope that you will accept this offer, as we work with many national education organizations. We look
forward to hearing from you, as we know you will attempt to rectify this situation.

Amelia Smith Murphree

Eleanor Garrow-Holding
FAACT President & CEO

Amelia Smith Murphree, JD

FAACT General Counsel & Vice President of
Civil Rights Advocacy

P.O. Box 511 | West Chester, OH 45071 | (513) 342-1293 |