Food allergies are a problem for many people. Children often have allergies from a young age, but they can also develop with age. When a person has a food allergy, they learn to avoid that food and any meals that contain it.
They often have to be very careful about where and what they eat.
In school, young children often don’t understand how serious food allergies are. School nurses may be prepared to deal with allergic reactions, but other school staff members aren’t. You would expect high school students to be more considerate and careful with classmates with food allergies, but one young man recently died after being bullied over his.
Karan Cheema was at William Perkin C of E High School in Greenford, West London, when he started to get extremely sick.
Nobody was sure what was going on, but it was eventually revealed that two bullies had put cheese in his lunchbox, knowing he was allergic to it.
A friend of Karan’s family explained:
“Karan was in primary school with my son and used to go to football club and karate class with my son. He was a really good boy….There was a child who was bullying him all the time. He put cheese in his lunch….Karan had it and then had an allergic reaction.”
Students that witnessed the incident all had different stories about how Karan became exposed to the cheese.
Some said a food fight got out of hand, others said the cheese was flicked at Karan, and others said the bullies literally stuffed it down his throat.
Regardless of how Karan was exposed to the cheese, he has a severe reaction to it. School staff members called an ambulance, and paramedics arrived fairly quickly. Paramedic Kierin Oppatt said he was told it was just a simple allergic reaction, but after arriving at the scene, he knew it was more serious. He said:
“On arrival at the scene, I immediately knew it was life-threatening and that the patient had a high risk of going into cardiac and respiratory arrest. We were told by school staff that perhaps someone had chased the patient with cheese and had proceeded to throw it down his T-shirt. That he had an allergic reaction, that he was itchy, his skin was very hot, and that he was having difficulty breathing.”
Karan was rushed to the hospital, but he died two weeks later.
His family and friends are devastated, and they want answers about how and why this happened. His mother, Rina, said:
“I am devastated as a mother after losing my son and my family has lost their brother. He was a very, very bright young boy. He was so bright he could have been anything he wanted. I brought him up by myself. I trained him to read all about his condition.”
The case is currently being treated as a homicide.
School officials said that they are working with the investigators and are terribly sorry for the loss of life. They also maintain that they did everything they could to treat Karan when they realized he was having an allergic reaction. Dame Alice Hudson, the school’s executive headteacher, said:
“Staff at the school reacted promptly to provide medical intervention and were well supported by the London Ambulance Service who attended the scene. The school has robust care plans in place for students with identified medical requirements and Karan’s care plan was promptly put in place. But in light of this tragic incident, a review of the procedures will be carried out to ensure that the highest level of standards is maintained.”
Karan’s family is demanding that the school do more.
Hudson said that the school plans to look at the incident closer to see if they could have done more and to prevent similar incidents from occurring to other students. Officials have not offered any information about how Karan was exposed to the cheese.
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Source: Crime Online