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Allergies force family, school to make changes

Ethan Thompson typical in every other way

Ethan Thompson has serve allergies. Even being near a peanut can cause the Ticonderoga student to go into anaphylaxis, a serious allergic reaction that can cause death. He is allergic to peanuts, tree nuts, shellfish and other foods.

Ethan Thompson has serve allergies. Even being near a peanut can cause the Ticonderoga student to go into anaphylaxis, a serious allergic reaction that can cause death. He is allergic to peanuts, tree nuts, shellfish and other foods.

— Other than the allergies, Ethan is a typical seventh grade student. He plays football, basketball and baseball. He likes video games and spending time with friends.

But to account for his allergies, accommodations must be made.

Ticonderoga Central School has developed a safety plan specifically for Ethan. The document states Ethan must have his own desk and chair cleaned before his arrival; that he have his own computer keyboard and mouse; he has his own art supplies; he has a specific allergy-free table in the school cafeteria; classmates and their parents must be alerted to Ethan’s condition; only allergen-free snacks are allowed in his classrooms; any equipment Ethan uses must be thoroughly cleaned before he arrives; teachers must be educated about Ethan’s allergies and how to respond in the event of a reaction; and more.

A separate policy was developed by Bob Sutphen, the school’s athletic director, when Ethan began playing sports this year. That policy bans food from all team settings — the locker room, bus and gym, each player must clean their hands before entering a team bus, and more.

“The school district has done a wonderful job,” Ursula said. “Mr. Sutphen has been a great advocate for Ethan. He makes sure Ethan is safe on bus trips. All the teachers and administrators have been wonderful.”

Joanne Bartlett, Ticonderoga Middle-Elementary School nurse, meets with Ethan’s teachers on a regular basis to make certain all safety protocols are in place.

“She does so much for Ethan,” Ursula said of Bartlett. “She makes certain school is a safe environment for Ethan.”

John McDonald, Ti school superintendent, said school officials appreciate the efforts of Ethan’s parents, Ursula and Carl.

“I give a lot of credit to Ursula and Carl,” McDonald said. “They’ve advocated for their son and other students and brought the dangers to our attention. I don’t know that we realized how severe the situation could be until we spoke to Ursula and Carl.

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