Lifestyle & Human Interest

Middle-Schoolers Reportedly 'Prank' Teacher with Deadly Allergy to Bananas, Sending Her to Hospital


Many of us grew up hearing the phrase “it’s all fun and games until somebody gets hurt,” and in general, pranks are usually harmless and humorous.

For an art teacher in Columbus, Ohio, a prank turned into a near-death experience.

In November 2018, three middle-school students decided to pull a prank on their art teacher, known as Mrs. Woods. WSYX reported that the students were a 12-year-old girl and two 13-year-old boys.

Woods is a seventh-grade art teacher at Columbus’ Starling K-8 school. She is also deathly allergic to bananas and even had warning signs posted on the door to her classroom.

One sign stated in large letters, “Banana Free Zone.”

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“Mrs. Woods is allergic to bananas!” the sign also said. “If you had one today, you must wash your hands before going into the art room.”

Despite the warnings and prior knowledge of their teacher’s allergy, the students mashed banana on their teacher’s door and doorknob and threw them at her while she was inside the room. WSYX reports that this all took place during the student’s lunch break on that November day.

Woods ended up going into anaphylactic shock, a severe allergic reaction that can often be fatal, in under 15 minutes. Two EpiPens were administered before she was rushed to the emergency room, where she recovered.

WSYX released bodycam footage from the original occurrence during an investigation into the state of Columbus City Schools called Scoring Our Schools.

“All of the kids know she’s deathly allergic to bananas,” a Columbus City Schools official can be heard telling police in the video. “If it touches her, she will go into anaphylactic shock.”

According to Medical News Today, this kind of a reaction to bananas is very rare, but also incredibly dangerous.

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“That could be attempted murder,” the school security guard told the police.

Drastic language aside, the students did face consequences. All three of the middle-schoolers faced probation through juvenile court.

While this may seem like a resolution to this situation, it is just a window into the bigger issue of a failing education system in Columbus today. One of the student’s parents reportedly told WSYX that the teachers don’t care about the students.

Columbus Police told WSYX that there have been “more than 30 cases” of felonious assault on teachers so far this year, a number that has been increasing every year. In 2017, police also reportedly responded to city schools for 65 felonious assaults, three times as many as they responded to in 2016.

Lisa Rantala, one of the Scoring Our Schools team members, has spent much of her time reporting on the school systems in an attempt to help raise the quality and success rates in Columbus City Schools.

While there is still much work left to do, the schools held Saturday school this year in an attempt to raise their state report card from a second F to a D, according to a Facebook post by Rantala. Hopefully both teachers and students will be able to form more harmonious bonds as they work to improve the educational system.

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