By: Brittany Paris
For the first time ever, the federal government is suggesting ways schools can protect children with food allergies.
The voluntary guidelines, released Wednesday, are required by a 2011 federal law.
It calls on schools to take steps to restrict foods that cause allergic reactions, like nuts and shellfish, and provide emergency medicine, like epi pens.
But LPS says they're ahead of the curve, working on similar guidelines for the past two years, and just this month, passed their own food allergy policy.
"We realize that there is definitely a need for addressing the food allergy issue," Jessie Coffee, Special Diet and Nutrition Specialist at LPS, said.
That's because the number of kids with allergies is on the rise. A recent study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says about 1 in 20 kids in the U.S. are affected, a 50 percent increase since the mid 90s.
But Coffee says at LPS, that number is even higher with 1 in every 13 students having a food allergy, or two in every classroom.
"Our current numbers indicate we have over 1,200 students with a food allergy and 400 students with a food intolerance," Coffee said.
Experts say they aren't sure why this number is growing. There are a lot of schools of thought, from additives in our food to children being exposed to foods at too young of an age.
Regardless of the cause, it's something LPS says they needed to address.
"Our main goal is to have a safe learning environment so that students can come to school and feel safe and able to learn," Coffee said.
For more information on the guidelines, just click here.