When Food is a Weapon: Parental Liability for Food Allergy Bullying

45 Pages Posted: 7 Sep 2019 Last revised: 7 Jun 2021

Date Written: August 5, 2019


Food allergies in children are rising at an alarming pace. Increasingly, these children face an added threat: bullies targeting them because of their allergies. This bullying can take a life-threatening turn when the bully exposes the victim to the allergen. This article is the first major legal analysis of food allergy bullying. It explores the legal system’s failure to adequately address the problem of food allergy bullying and makes the case for focusing on the potential tort liability of the bully’s parents. Parents who become aware of their child’s bullying behavior and fail to take adequate steps to stop it are tacitly encouraging it and should be liable for their child’s conduct. So too should parents who enable the bullying by flouting school policies and sending their child to school with a prohibited food that is then used to bully or by modeling intolerant behavior that their child mimics at school. This will ensure that parents who contribute to their child’s bullying are held accountable and that the bully’s victim receives justice.

Keywords: allergies, food allergies, bullying, parental liability, torts

Suggested Citation

Shu, D'Andra Millsap, When Food is a Weapon: Parental Liability for Food Allergy Bullying (August 5, 2019). 103 Marquette Law Review 1465 (2020), Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3445605 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3445605

D'Andra Millsap Shu (Contact Author)

South Texas College of Law Houston ( email )

1303 San Jacinto Street
Houston, TX 77002
United States

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