New school motto: “We produce leaders… in vaccine exemption”

You may have heard of Steiner/Waldorf schools before. No, not Statler and Waldorf. Their whole thing is focused on raising kids with free will and some spiritual component I’m not going to pretend I understand well enough to explain. They also tend to attract parents who don’t vaccinate their kids, as most recently evidenced in North Carolina where 36 students are very itchy after a chickenpox outbreak. Hopefully, some scratching is all they’ll have to deal with—two to three of every 1,000 chickenpox cases require hospitalization. Of the school’s 152 students, a staggering 72% hadn’t been vaccinated against the virus. The lesson here is that it’s perfectly fine to treat your kid like the special angel they are—if it doesn’t negatively affect other kids. Also don’t conflate “anti-vax” with the N-word.

Immu-nut therapy

Take two Peanut M&Ms and call in the morning. No really. That’s how one study participant is keeping up his peanut resistance after building it up during a clinical trial designed to test the effectiveness of a peanut allergy protection therapy. Two-thirds of the kids enrolled in the study were able to consume about two peanuts themselves whereas previously they had experienced severe, sometimes life-threatening reactions to even trace amounts. But now, “These kids can eat enough peanut that parents no longer will have to worry about their teenage daughter kissing someone who’s eaten peanut butter.” Good—parents have enough things to be worried about when their teenage daughter is kissing someone without including anaphylaxis. The FDA gave the drug breakthrough therapy status, so you could see it on the market around now in 2019.

Out of their mind(fulness)

As you know, the FDA is not too happy with JUUL for improper marketing practices aimed at America’s youth. Essentially, the agency alleges that by making vaping “cool,” they’re trying to get the next generation addicted to nicotine. Well the marketing geniuses at JUUL must have mistaken their foot for their vapes, because one of their “solutions” involved offering schools up to $20,000 to use an anti-vaping curriculum they developed. Hey y’all? That’s not a good look. After all, the tobacco industry tried to do the same in the eighties, and those education programs may have caused more students to smoke. JUUL’s version of the course would’ve included the science behind e-cigs, blaming teen use on peer pressure and, uh, mindfulness through telekinesis?? Yeah, why vape when you can move clouds with your mind (audio required)?

These teens’ hobby is to lobby

Ever tried doing your kid’s homework for a week like this dad? It might be worth a try to get a sense of the stresses affecting students these days, and it could make you more sympathetic towards getting some mental health legislation on the books. If you don’t want to, well those dang kids might just get it done themselves. Three high school students recently successfully lobbied the Virginia General Assembly to require mental health instruction for 9th and 10th graders. It’s not about kids just being bratty about too much schoolwork; the CDC estimates 1 in 5 US kids experience mental disorders and $247B is spent on these disorders each year. At least they’ll have a break soon—it’s about that time of year when School’s Out for summer.