Teammates Of Allergic Student Put Peanuts In His Locker, School Doesn’t Think It’s Bullying

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A mother of a high school football player said her son’s teammates placed peanuts in his locker despite knowing he was allergic, a dangerous act that his school district didn’t consider bullying.

When Carter Mannon was in sophomore year of Texas’ Lake Travis High School last October, his teammates got suddenly curious about his peanut allergy, the teenager’s mom, Shawna Mannon, explained to People.

“They were kind of joking around about it and they said, ‘But could it kill you if it touched you?’ And he says, ‘Yeah, it absolutely could.’ If it got in his nose, eyes, or mouth, that’s where it would go into anaphylactic shock. And so he told them, ‘Yes, it could absolutely kill me’,” Shawna described.

Shawna Mannon gave details about her son’s school district’s weak response after his teammates put peanuts in his locker knowing he was allergic

During anaphylactic shock, “blood pressure drops suddenly, and the airways narrow, blocking your breathing. The pulse may be fast and weak, and you may have a skin rash. You may also get nauseous and vomit,” according to the Mayo Clinic.

Teammates Of Allergic Student Put Peanuts In His Locker, School Doesn’t Think It’s Bullying

“Anaphylaxis needs to be treated right away with an injection of epinephrine. If it isn’t treated right away, it can be deadly.”

Knowing this information, Carter’s teammates decided to hurt him.

“Then, the next day before the game, they went in and they had put peanuts in his locker, on his jersey, and in his cleats,” Shawna said.

“It was a can of peanuts that they just kind of scattered throughout his locker and put in his cleats. One of the boys came back and tried to kind of clean up a little bit, but the residue was there, the damage had been done.”

The incident took place in October, when Carter was in his sophomore year at Texas’ Lake Travis High School

When Carter went to his locker to get dressed for the game, peanuts fell out everywhere, and he saw hives starting to develop on his arm.

The football player was only nine months old when his family discovered his peanut allergy after he reached his hand inside of a peanut butter jar and got itchy, raising welts on his body.

Teammates Of Allergic Student Put Peanuts In His Locker, School Doesn’t Think It’s Bullying

As he grew older, the reactions worsened.

“You have this big strong kid [and] one little peanut could take him down, could kill him,” his mom explained.

During freshman year, Carter accidentally ate an unlabeled peanut butter cookie that sent him to the emergency room and prompted two EpiPen doses.

Instead of showing remorse for their actions, many of his teammates doubled down on the harassment.

“One of the boys was sharing a video with the other teammates of them doing what they did,” Shawna said.

“A bunch of them were kind of just laughing … A few of the boys did say, ‘That’s not cool, that could have killed him.’”

Carter suffers from severe allergic reactions to peanuts, and has been sent to the emergency room in the past for consuming them accidentally

When Shawna reported the incident to the school, the institution turned discipline over to the athletic department. The response? Benching the players for two days, forcing them to switch locker rooms and do extra runs at practice.

“There was a lot of bullying that came after,” the mother lamented.

Teammates Of Allergic Student Put Peanuts In His Locker, School Doesn’t Think It’s Bullying

The bullying included Carter being flicked from behind as he walked down the hallway and having someone in the locker room put a peanut butter granola bar in his backpack, as well as verbal aggressions.

His older sister, a senior, was also targeted, and had someone create a fake Instagram account of her.

Tired of the relentless assault her children were enduring, Shawna approached the school board in November to report the incident.

“At that point, they opened an investigation on the bullying. They decided that it did not qualify as bullying,” she said.

The teenager’s school district concluded that the life-threatening actions didn’t qualify as bullying

A representative for the Lake Travis Independent School District told People: “Under the Texas Education Code, bullying is a very specific behavior, and is defined as an act or pattern of acts that physically harms a student or materially and substantially disrupts the educational process. 

“Upon concluding our investigation, it was determined that the legal elements of bullying were not met. However, in many instances, even if the legal elements of bullying are not met, the district addresses behaviors that do not meet expectations in policy or programs.

Teammates Of Allergic Student Put Peanuts In His Locker, School Doesn’t Think It’s Bullying

“Both the Assistant District Attorney’s Office and the County Attorney’s Office were consulted to review potential criminal charges. While these agencies may advise on the elements of an offense, they do not make any final determinations. 

“Technically speaking, these agencies did not open a case regarding this incident. Instead, these agencies and their representatives provided guidance to the district.”

Shawna claims that “when they interviewed my son, they said he didn’t look bullied.”

The lack of support for her son sparked concerns that similar situations could take place in the future and go unpunished.

“I felt like the school is no longer a safe place for him, mentally, physically. I didn’t trust the district anymore to keep him safe,” the mom said.

Carter has since changed schools, and the Mannons are planning on moving their three children out of the district.

Now, Shawna wants to ensure nobody else feels threatened at school, which is why she’s working with lobbyists to protect children in the same situation as Carter.

“We’re working to get a law in place to protect kids with food allergies from attacks like this,” she said. “We also want to redefine the definition of bullying in the state of Texas.”

“When you ask somebody, ‘Could this kill you?’ and then you just do exactly what you just asked… This is not a prank or joke.”

People agreed that the incident was intentional and is a clear case of bullying

Teammates Of Allergic Student Put Peanuts In His Locker, School Doesn’t Think It’s Bullying
Teammates Of Allergic Student Put Peanuts In His Locker, School Doesn’t Think It’s Bullying

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