Is food allergy knowledge impacted by student age demographics across Princeton public schools?

Princeton, New Jersey
DOI: 10.18258/14344
Raised of $300 Goal
Funded on 12/27/19
Successfully Funded
  • $352
  • 117%
  • Funded
    on 12/27/19

About This Project

One in thirteen children is diagnosed with a food allergy, putting them at great risk each day they attend school, where staff may be ill prepared. It is hypothesized that staff at K-5 schools are more knowledgeable about food allergies, than staff in higher grades. This study will survey Princeton Public School staff to assess their understanding of food allergies and determine whether knowledge is inconsistent and where additional education might be necessary.

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What is the context of this research?

In the past 22 years there has been a 50% increase in children diagnosed with food allergies. With over 5.6 million children with food allergies attending school every day, staff should be prepared to address these potentially fatal reactions.

As an individual with an anaphylactic food allergy, I have experienced the variability in staff preparedness. Schools with younger children frequently offer allergy-friendly tables and more accommodations than schools serving older students. As children mature, their freedom grows disproportionately to their capacity to manage their food allergies, resulting in a higher likelihood of accidental exposure and reactions in higher grades of grade school.

What is the significance of this project?

Determining the level of knowledge, awareness, and insight of the Princeton Public School (PPS) staff is important because it has implications surrounding the safety and wellness of Princeton students. With 15% of allergic reactions in school caused by accidental exposure there is a great opportunity to reduce such accidents. By determining the overarching level of knowledge, as well as the variability amongst the staff working with different grades there is an opportunity to target training and education. Although this project will only determine the level of knowledge of one school district, it can be used as a model for other school districts in the US, and the world.

What are the goals of the project?

The project will determine if the age of the students at a school correlates with the staff’s knowledge of food allergies. The level of knowledge for each group will be established and any significant differences between the three groups will be highlighted.

Another goal is to determine the efficiency of the PPS staff’s allergy training. If the average level of knowledge is unsafely low, then allergy training should be more thorough, and if the staff’s average knowledge is at a safe level, the allergy training can be used as a model.


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Once the Princeton Public School staff members complete the survey, they will have the opportunity to submit their contact information to enter a raffle for a $300 Gift Card. This will augment participation in the survey, yielding a greater sample size, increasing the confidence in the results.

Endorsed by

Phoebe has been working hard to develop a controlled study that will help allergic students such as herself. Her priority is to develop an adequate plan to train school professionals on allergies.

Project Timeline

In September of 2019, PPS staff members will be interviewed to pick up lexicon for the survey. Questions will be created in September and finalized in October. In November a pilot survey will be conducted on a small sample of staff members from another school district, so issues can be identified and revised. Through January and February of 2020, the survey will be available for Princeton staff.

Sep 30, 2019

Interview PPS staff to pick up lexicon (vocabulary) to use in the survey

Nov 01, 2019

First draft of the survey will be completed

Nov 12, 2019

Project Launched

Nov 22, 2019

The survey will be administered to staff members from another school district, so issues can be identified and revised

Dec 20, 2019

The survey will be finalized

Meet the Team

Phoebe Frankel
Phoebe Frankel


Princeton High School
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Phoebe Frankel

I am a high schooler interested in the management and treatment of food allergies in schools. I was diagnosed with an anaphylactic allergy to all seafood in Kindergarten and am now a Junior attending Princeton High School. Within that time I have lived in three states and attended six different schools. Each school had varying accommodations for food allergies and the staff's level of knowledge was inconsistent among the schools. The dangers of having an allergic reaction is quite real, especially through accidental exposure, and I am passionate about ensuring the safety of students in school. This can be accomplished through effective staff training and accommodations for food-allergic students. I am able to pursue this thanks to the three year Research Program offered at my school and am now in my second year.

Project Backers

  • 12Backers
  • 117%Funded
  • $352Total Donations
  • $29.33Average Donation
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