TORONTO ? A Vaughan woman is the centre of controversy Tuesday for proposing that trees near a local school be moved by the city to allay fears of children with nut allergies.
Donna Giustizia, whose son is allergic to nuts, says the trees near St. Stephen Catholic Elementary School in Vaughan are covering the ground with acorns.
Those acorns, Giustizia says, could pose a serious danger to those people who have nut allergies.
Giustizia recently appeared before Vaughan city council to ask if it might consider moving the trees.
"Acorns are tree nuts, is there an issue about possible severe allergic reaction to them?" Vaughan city councillor Tony Carella said.
Allergists generally agree that there is no evidence to suggest acorns can directly cause anaphylactic shock.
?The important thing to remember with acorn and anaphylaxis is, there has never been a death reported anywhere in the world, as long as we?ve had scientific reports,? allergist Mark Greenwald said.
Giustizia is aware of that evidence, but says the point is not to prevent allergic reactions but to calm the fears of at-risk children.
"It's not about whether the child will have an anaphylactic reaction or not, but what about that child's dignity? Will that child live in fear?" Giustizia said. "That child believes that the school is nut-free and then there are kids playing with nuts and throwing them around."
The oak tree problem has left Vaughan city council divided with some councillors worried about the precedent that moving the trees would set if parents who have children with other allergies have similar concerns.
"This is not the only allergy, and does this mean that the next person that comes along is gonna ask us to remove something else?? Councillor Sandra Yeung-Racco said. ?Or how about people that are allergic to bees? Are we gonna exterminate all the bees?"
Yeung-Racco suggested that maybe the issue can be solved through parenting rather than legislating.
"If my child was allergic to something I would teach them that you don't go close to it, you don't touch it."
Carella, the councillor for the ward in which the school resides, is staying neutral on the issue until a feasability report is finished.
"We've got to weigh all of those factors and come up with a decision, so I haven't made up my mind yet on the subject, but I'm open to what staff has to tell us,? Carella said.
The feasability report will be presented at the next city council meeting. A decision is expected by the end of the year.
Read it on Global News: Global Toronto | Move trees from school to protect children with nut allergies: Vaughan mother