Issaquah High School student experiences strong allergic reaction to kiwi at school

January 13, 2012

By Tom Corrigan

NEW — 4:30 p.m. Jan. 13, 2012

A school official said the district is following the rules in the aftermath of an incident in which a student had a strong reaction to kiwi in the Issaquah High School cafeteria.

“I can confirm an incident did happen this week,” said Sara Niegowski, district executive director of communications.

According to Niegowski, the student called her parents and a family member eventually administered an Epinephrine pen to the girl. Niegowski declined to give any details on the girl’s present condition and would not say whether or not she had returned to school on Jan. 13.

Niegowski did not release the name of the student, but that name has been reported as Rhiannon Jensen, 17.

The family could not be readily reached for comment.

Niegowski said district officials were aware of the student’s allergy and that a health plan was put in place for her during the 2010-2011 school year. If that plan is not working as it should, Niegowski said adjustments could be made.

“From a human standpoint, everyone in the district wants to do everything they can to make sure that the student is safe and secure,” Niegowski said.

The issue may fall under the purview of the Americans with Disabilities Act, Niegowski added. The federal rules mandate every school age person has the right to a free public education. If there is some impediment to that education, reasonable steps must be taken to remove that impediment. Niegowski stopped short of saying that means the school district will ban kiwi from its menus. But she did say officials are studying what their next move should be.

“In the interim, no kiwi will be served at the school,” Niegowski said.

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3 Responses to “Issaquah High School student experiences strong allergic reaction to kiwi at school”

  1. Anonymous on January 13th, 2012 8:48 pm

    The student is a minor, why put her name out for all to know?

  2. K. Tate on January 14th, 2012 9:16 am

    Seems like banning kiwi from the school is a small price to pay to save a student’s life. I hope the school does the right thing.

  3. Gwendolyn Jensen-Woodard on January 14th, 2012 7:18 pm

    I’m family, as she is my daughter. Here is my comment: It should not have taken my daughter coming near to death for the fruit to be taken out of the school Peanuts are taken away from schools all the time.

    She is doing better, but has not had the best year, being told things like “YOU shouldn’t even be ALLOWED at this school” and “YOU’RE faking it” and “You have to learn to live in a world with Kiwi fruit” (yes, she does, she stays away from them when possible). Those statements were all made by the adults in charge, so she was made to feel bad about a medical condition she didn’t ask for and had no control over.

    Thank you for reporting this.

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