Lake Travis parents call for expulsion of students following peanut allergy incident

LAKE TRAVIS, Texas - Parents rallied at the Lake Travis ISD school board meeting Wednesday, asking the district to enforce more severe discipline against two football players.

The teenagers are accused of intentionally exposing a teammate with a severe allergy to peanuts.

"Since this incident, my son has faced backlash and retaliation almost daily," said Shawna Mannon.

Mannon was at the Lake Travis ISD school board meeting for her son.

"A couple of teammates on his varsity football team were asking about his allergy to peanuts and asked if it could kill him," said Mannon. "If it were to touch him, or would it kill him if they put them in his cleats or in his uniform? He said, 'Yes, it absolutely could.’"

RELATED: Lake Travis HS football player with severe allergy exposed to peanuts by teammates

The district confirmed two varsity football players put peanut products in their teammates' locker. His mom said they knew he was allergic.

Other Lake Travis parents close to the family said the incident was recorded.

"As he grabbed the uniform, peanuts fell out everywhere," said Mannon. "He set everything down and left the locker room in shock. He noticed hives started to develop on his arms almost immediately."

Because the students involved are minors, the district said it can't release what kind of discipline the two players are facing, but parents at Wednesday's meeting said it was a two-week suspension resulting in the players sitting out one game.

"After seeing how the district handled the incident in October, students with food allergies have to live in fear that our allergies could be weaponized against us," said a Lake Travis student.

One after the other, Lake Travis families and neighbors spoke out on behalf of Mannon.

"I'm a supporter here, supporting our families that have food allergies, and teal is the color to support food allergies," said Lake Travis ISD Porter Herring.

"Anytime I hear something like this, I'm an advocate," said Belinda Vaca, who knows all too well what it's like to be a mom of a kid with peanut allergies.

"I lost my only child, on June 26, 2014, after he ate a veggie taco, and he asked three times ‘Does it have peanuts?’ They told him no."

She passed a state law in his honor.

Now, Vaca and other Lake Travis parents are asking to see more discipline.

"What does the LTISD Student Code of Conduct require as punishment for such a serious offense?," said a LTISD resident. "Mandatory expulsion."

They would like to see the two players expelled.

"We have policies in place in our handbook, and we need to stick with them and enforce them."

LTISD sent FOX 7 Austin the following statement:

"You may have seen reports in the news and on social media involving an incident that occurred in October 2023 connected to Lake Travis High School students. In order for our community to have a clearer picture of the situation, I would like to provide the following information.

By way of background, Lake Travis High School, the Lake Travis ISD Police Department, and district administrators were made aware of an incident that took place on campus during a staff professional development day/student holiday involving student athletes and the placement of peanuts in an athletic locker. Parents were immediately made aware of the situation. Athletic Director/Coach Hank Carter, Principal Debbie Garinger, and their administrative teams reviewed all evidence and consulted with internal legal counsel. As a result, our administrators applied consequences.

Due to federal privacy laws which protect all minor students, the details of those consequences cannot be made public or even shared with all staff. Although many have publicly shared concerns and rumors about the incident, the District must adhere to all legal and ethical guidelines. However, we can correct some misinformation which has been shared on social media. At no time was peanut butter spread on a helmet or uniform. The LTISD Police Department completed an investigation and has submitted that report to the Assistant District Attorney's Office for review. At this time, we have not received a final determination from the Assistant District Attorney’s Office.

We remain committed to providing a safe learning environment. This includes educating students on appropriate behaviors and good decision making. I have complete confidence in the administrative team and the efforts to maintain a safe and respectful environment at Lake Travis High School. We ask our community to respect student privacy as rumors can be misleading and cause damage. Thank you for your understanding and support."