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Football players put nuts in the locker of an allergic teammate

Football players put nuts in the locker of an allergic teammate

 


Carter Mannon was just nine months old when his family discovered he had a nut allergy.


We had him sit on the counter and my husband was next to him making a peanut butter sandwich. Carter stuck his hand in the jar of peanut butter and ended up smearing it on himself, his mother, Shawna Mannon, tells PEOPLE exclusively.


He immediately developed hives, it was a perfect handprint of hives. And then we realized, 'Oh, he must be allergic.'


Testing confirmed Carter's allergies, and as his mother tells PEOPLE, Carter's allergies got worse, instead of growing out of them. His levels are extraordinary, his mother says. You have a big, strong child [and] One little peanut could take him down and kill him.


His allergy was well documented at Lake Travis High School, especially after freshman year when he accidentally ate an unlabeled peanut butter cookie, prompting two doses of EpiPen and a trip to the emergency room.


Carter Mannon.

Thanks to Shawna Mannon



EpiPens provide life-saving emergencies doses of epinephrine in cases of severe allergic reactions, according to the Mayo Clinic. The greatest risk when exposed to allergies is anaphylaxis, a serious, life-threatening one allergic reaction.


During anaphylactic shock, blood pressure suddenly drops and the airways narrow, blocking your breathing. The pulse may be fast and weak and you may develop a rash. According to the data, you may also experience nausea and vomiting Mayo Clinic . Anaphylaxis should be treated immediately with an injection of epinephrine. If not treated right away, it can be fatal.




But while the exposure to peanut butter cookies was not intentional, what happened in October of Carter's sophomore year was not a coincidence.


Shawna tells PEOPLE that her son, the youngest varsity football player, was questioned by his teammates about his allergy.


They joked about it and said, “But could it kill you if it touches you?” And he says, 'Yes, that's absolutely possible.' If it got into his nose, eyes or mouth, he would go into anaphylactic shock. And so he said to them, “Yes, it could absolutely kill me.” ”


Carter Mannon as a baby.

Thanks to Shawna Mannon



Then the next day before the game, they went in and they had put peanuts in his locker, on his jersey and in his shoes,” Shawna said. “It was a can of peanuts that they just scattered around his locker and left there. in his cleats.


Shawna tells PEOPLE one of the guys came back and tried to clean up some, but the residue was there, the damage had already been done.


When Carter went to his locker to get dressed for the game, Shawna tells PEOPLE: When he grabbed his jersey, peanuts fell out everywhere. He realized there were still a pair in his shoes. He looked at his arm, [and] He already has hives that are starting to develop.


The reactions from his teammates were mixed. “One of the guys shared a video with the other teammates of them doing what they were doing,” she said. “Some of them actually just laughed… A few guys did say, 'That's not cool, that could have killed him.' ”


Shawna reported the incident to the school, who turned the discipline over to the athletic department. The boys spent two days on the bench, had to change dressing rooms and do extra runs during training.


But while one student showed remorse, Shawna tells PEOPLE, “A lot of bullying followed.”


Carter Mannon on the field.

Thanks to Shawna Mannon



The boy would slap him as he walked down the hall from behind. There was a lot of verbal retaliation… There was a point where someone in the locker room put a granola bar with peanut butter in his backpack.


Carter's older sister, a senior in high school, was also harassed, Shawna tells PEOPLE.


There have been kids on the team who have created fake accounts on Instagram, Shawna tells PEOPLE. They have been so horrible and mean to her.


Shawna went to the school board in November to report the incident, and that's when they launched an investigation into the bullying. They decided it didn't qualify as bullying.


A representative from the Lake Travis Independent School District tells PEOPLE: “Under the Texas Education Code, bullying is a very specific behavior and is defined as an act or pattern of actions that physically harms a student or materially and substantially disrupts the educational process. Upon completion of our investigation, it was determined that the legal elements of bullying were not met. In many cases, however, even when the legal elements of bullying are not met, the district addresses behavior that does not meet expectations in policies or programs.




Shawna claims that when they interviewed my son, they said he didn't look bullied. ”


In a statement to PEOPLE, the school district said: “Immediately following the incident, the district initiated multi-level investigations. The event was not investigated as a bullying incident until the parent of one of the students involved reported it as such in November. 2023. After hearing the parents' concerns, campus administration contacted the parent about possible bullying. Under our Student Code of Conduct and Extracurricular Code of Conduct, school administrators, coaches and directors work together to review all facts and circumstances surrounding a particular event and determine appropriate disciplinary action or sanctions.


According to state statutes shared by the Texas Education Agency, bullying is defined as physically harming a student, damaging a student's property, or placing a student in reasonable fear of harm to the student's person or of damage to the property of the student; is sufficiently serious, persistent, or profound enough that the action or threat creates an intimidating, threatening, or offensive educational environment for a student.


Young Carter Mannon.

Thanks to Shawna Mannon



But as the school district tells PEOPLE, both the Assistant District Attorney's Office and the County Attorney's Office were consulted to review possible criminal charges. Although these authorities can provide advice on the elements of a violation, they do not make final decisions. Technically, these agencies have not opened a case regarding this incident. Instead, these agencies and their representatives provided leadership to the district. Working with the agencies mentioned in the previous response, the Lake Travis ISD Police Department determined that criminal charges were not warranted. As a result, Lake Travis ISD police closed their business on December 6, 2023.


For the Mannons, who have a total of three children, including a sixth-grader in the Lake Travis school system, their future is uncertain as they plan to move all of their children out of the district.


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Carter has already switched schools.


I felt like school was no longer a safe place for him, mentally and physically. I stopped trusting the district to keep him safe, Shawna tells PEOPLE.


The mother of three also works with lobbyists to help children like Carter.


We are working on a law to protect children with food allergies from these types of attacks, she said. We also want to redefine the definition of bullying in the state of Texas.


If you ask someone: can this kill you? and then you just do exactly what you just asked. This is not a joke or a joke,” she tells PEOPLE. “This could have killed him if it was on a water bottle, if it was on his face mask, his helmet. Then these things would have gotten into his system and he would have been in anaphylactic shock.


She adds: I want these boys to understand that this could have killed him.”

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