Teacher bullied student with nut allergy by refusing to stop burning scented candle that caused reactions

teacherverification October 24, 2012 0


A 16-year-old girl and her mother claim she was bullied by her teacher, who continued to burn a scented candle in the classroom even after she was told that it endangered the student’s life.

Danielle Nguyen, who suffers from a severe nut allergy, attends Towns County High School in Hiawassee, Georgia.

While attending Spanish class last semester, Nguyen suffered an allergic reaction that caused her lips and throat to swell, making it difficult to breath and swallow.

Her reaction was caused by a nut-scented candle being burned by Spanish teacher Lynn Swanson. Nguyen was treated by the school nurse, who warned Swanson that she needed to stop burning the candle as it provoked a severe reaction in Nguyen.

Throughout the rest of the semester, Nguyen continued to suffer similar allergic reactions while in Spanish class. School records show that she visited the nurse seven times when she should have been in that particular class over the semester.

It was only when her concerned mother Shannon Baldwin-Nguyen confronted the teacher, that Swanson admitted that she had continued to light the candle all semester but had blown it out before Nguyen entered the classroom.

The fact the candle had been burning means the room was contaminated with nut oil, says Baldwin-Nguyen.

‘I feel that Lynn Swanson knew what she was doing. She knew it caused Danielle to have this reaction but she repeatedly burned the candle, day after day after day and knew it was harming Danielle,’ she told

Nguyen believes she failed her Spanish class because of the repeated reactions and the treatments which caused her to be drowsy when she was in class. 

After the revelation, Baldwin-Nguyen filed a complaint about the teacher’s behavior to the state Professional Standards Commission, who passed it on to Towns County Schools Superintendent Melissa Williams.  

She says the district has now taken precautions to protect children with allergies, including removing candles from classrooms, but won’t confirm if she has punished Swanson.

Scented candles and air fresheners release chemicals that can cause breathing problems in some patient and even severe allergic reactions.

Concerned mother: It was only after Shannon Baldwin-Nguyen confronted the teacher that she admitted that she had continued to light the candleConcerned mother: Shannon Baldwin-Nguyen confronted the teacher who then admitted to continuing to light the candle.

This article originally appeared on dailymail

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