Allergic Teen Seeks High School Perfume Ban


How to Handle Bizarre Allergies in a School Setting

According to court documents, J.Z.'s principal, Barb Ahlersmeyer, responded to Zandi's initial requests for a perfume ban by making a request to students that they limit in-school use of sprays, allegedly saying that that was all she could do and that J.Z. "just has bad genes."

Zandi argues, however, that given the medical documentation of her son's response to sprays, his condition qualifies as a disability that must be accommodated by the school district.

"I think for anyone who has allergies where it's an identified cause and effect -- it's the school's responsibility to accommodate him because it is a form of disability," says Dr. Clifford Bassett, medical director of Allergy and Asthma Care of New York.

But given the broad nature of the boy's alleged reaction, allergists felt accommodation didn't have to go so far as to appeal to the Americans with Disabilities Act and a fully ban spraying scents.

"You have to help accommodate, help them attend school instead of banning altogether because there are too many products people are allergic to," Burks says, adding that using banning as the go-to solution will open up too many possible allergens to cumbersome restrictions.

Fort Wayne Community High Schools refused to comment on the matter as it is still an active litigation.

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