Tuesday, September 26, 2023
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Mom Sues After Peanut ‘Propagandist’ Smear

NASHVILLE (CN) - The mother of a 7-year-old girl with a severe peanut allergy was accused by her daughter's school principal of spreading "peanut free propaganda," the family claims in Federal Court.

C.G. and B.G., parents of A.G., sued the Cheatham County Board of Education and Ashland City Elementary School principal Chip Roney for retaliation under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

A.G. has a potentially life-threatening peanut allergy and she ate at a "nut free table" in the school's cafeteria.

"Plaintiffs tried to work with Cheatham County to balance the need for a 'peanut free environment' for their child, on the one hand, versus the risk of 'isolating' her from all of her classmates, as if she had done something wrong and must sit by herself," the lawsuit reads.

C.G., the child's mother, called Roney in September to discuss the allergy protocols. She explained that cleaning A.G.'s skin and changing her clothes after exposure could be a better alternative to sending her home. But, according to the complaint, the discussion angered the principal.

"Roney became angry at the subject of allergies and accommodations, as if the matter were nuisance, that he should not be bothered by it, and that C.G. was trying to create trouble," the complaint states.

On one occasion, C.G. handed out a "food allergy resource and education" flyer, which invited fellow students to "be a lunch buddy at the peanut free table." But Roney became upset about the flyers and banned A.G.'s parents from school property "from here to ever after," according to the complaint.

"Demonstrating his outright hostility, Roney said it amounted to 'peanut free propaganda'," the complaint states. "However, peanut allergies, and the educational information, are most assuredly not 'propaganda.' These allergies can be life threatening, and certainly can and do cause great sickness. Roney's statements reflect his own profound ignorance and hostility."

A child abuse complaint was also levied against C.G. and B.G. for alleged "Munchausen by proxy" the same day C.G. spoke with Roney on the phone about accommodations for A.G. Munchausen by proxy involves a caretaker, such as a mother, exaggerating the symptoms of their child, according to WebMD.

The Tennessee Department of Children's Services showed up at A.G.'s home but after investigation concluded that the accusations were "utterly unsubstantiated," according to the complaint.

"It was clear from context that the accusation - false as it was - had been made or suggested by someone at A.G.'s school," the complaint says.

C.G. and B.G. claim Roney needs anger management, oversight and training. They seek punitive damages and are represented by Justin Gilbert of Gilbert, Russell, McWherter, Scott and Bobbitt in Franklin, Tenn.

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