Mom starts ‘Skittlegate’ hoping schools get rid of candy rewards

Posted at 6:57 PM, Nov 20, 2012
and last updated 2012-11-20 18:57:21-05

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR)--A Bon Air mom is on a mission to raise awareness about food allergies.  

She said she stepped up her effort after her son and his classmates were offered candy as a reward from a substitute teacher.

Tiffany Ferriera says she knows to some parents, that's not a big deal, but to her it makes a big difference because it could affect her son's health.

"The last thing I say to him every day before he leaves the house is remember don't take food from anybody on the bus or in school” Ferreira added.

That’s something she says she drills into her 5-year-old.  It’s an ongoing critical dialogue because her kindergartener has severe food allergies and the family had a huge scare a few years ago.

“He needed an ambulance, had an emergency room visit and had an IV, so he remembers that clearly and it wasn't fun and so he has a healthy fear of having that reoccur ,“Ferreira said.

She tells CBS 6 News she was upset to learn her son and his classmates were offered Skittles candy a few weeks ago from a substitute teacher at Bon Air Elementary.

She was relieved to find out he and a few other kids with allergies turned it down, but says another child with allergies took a chance and ate the candy.

Now Ferriera wants Chesterfield to prohibit teachers from rewarding students with candy. She’s since started a blog called She says she has already reached out to local and state school board reps, all in an effort to raise awareness.

"Critics may say that it takes the fun out of school but no child has ever died from not getting candy at school, " she said.

A Chesterfield school spokesperson said upon hearing of the incident at Bon Air Elementary, they took immediate action. He says the principal was able to meet with Ferriera and assure her that what happened should have never occurred.

In a statement, the district told CBS 6 News, “Our top priority is the safety and security of our students. We continually review school division guidance regarding managing severe allergies.”