Tuesday, November 30, 2021
Nov. 30, 2021

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Beaverton schools to pay $119,500 to settle lawsuit

Parents claimed school failed to protect child with allergies


PORTLAND — The Beaverton School District has agreed to pay $119,500 to settle a federal suit filed by parents of a child who sued the district, arguing that the district failed to take proper precautions to protect their 5-year-old in light of the student’s severe allergies to nut and egg products.

On the girl’s eighth day of kindergarten, the school served her a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, claiming it was OK to eat because it contained sunflower seed butter, which was false, the suit alleged.

The school failed to recognize when the student went into shock, thinking only she was ill and had a fever, according to the suit. The father ended up having to rush his daughter to Providence St. Vincent Medical Center, where she was admitted to the intensive care unit in shock and at risk of organ failure, the suit said.

The Beaverton School District did not admit liability but agreed to take added measures to ensure its staff are trained to protect students who have severe allergies and can properly respond if a student is suffering an allergic reaction.

The district agreed to pay $71,700 to the family impacted and $47,800 to cover their attorney costs, for a total payout of $119,500, according to records filed this month in the U.S. District Court in Portland.

“The Parties to this Agreement have agreed that it is in their mutual interest to avoid litigation,” says the settlement, signed by the parents and the school district’s general counsel.

Before their child started kindergarten at McKinley Elementary School, Anna McFaul and Benjamin Vidic provided the school nurse with a health management plan informing the school of their daughter’s severe allergies to nuts and egg products and the treatment required in case of exposure, including the need for Benadryl and an EpiPen as rescue medications, according to the suit.

On Sept. 11, 2017, the 5-year-old’s fourth day of kindergarten, the student was served an “Ultimate Breakfast Round,” a type of breakfast bar, in the school cafeteria that contained both eggs and nuts. The child immediately broke out in hives. The school administered Benadryl, and the child’s dad came to the school to monitor his kindergartener, who recovered. School officials promised this was an isolated incident and wouldn’t happen again, according to the suit.

But four school days later, the same student was served a peanut butter and jelly sandwich in the cafeteria. The student, identified as “A.V.,” told staff she couldn’t have peanuts but she was told the sandwich contained only sunflower seed butter. She ate it and returned to class based on that advice, the suit said.