A young Chesterfield County, VA girl died tragically last week after experiencing anaphylatic shock following the consumption of a peanut her friend gave her. Ammaria Johnson, 7, was reportedly given the peanut by an unsuspecting friend on the playground after which she shortly began to experience hives and breathing difficulties. Her mother, Laura Pendleton, claims an emergency action plan was officially filed at the school, granting them permission to give Johnson Benadryl should she have an allergic reaction at school. She is now suggesting that the school failed to follow through on the plan.
The tragedy has sparked public demands for doing what’s necessary to save a child’s life. The school, Hopkins Elementary School, has come under extreme scrutiny as they reportedly didn’t act quickly enough or take life sustaining actions. The mother claims that instead of calling 911 immediately or offering her daughter her medication, they had an aide, who was not a nurse, sit with the girl and call Pendleton to describe her symptoms. Pendleton asked why her daughter’s medical protocol wasn’t acted upon.
The school claims they are strictly prohibited from giving a child medication that wasn’t specifically checked into the school by a parent. They claim they couldn’t have just given her Benadryl that was laying around, for fear of litigation. Whether or not Ammaria had Benadryl of her own at the school has yet to be confirmed.
Another solution to such situations would be the quick utilization of an Epipen, something the school didn’t have on hand. Legislators are now looking into passing laws which would require schools to have Epipens on hand and require them to use it should a child suffer an allergic reaction at school.