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Boy With Food Allergy Sues After Restaurant Refuses To Let Him Eat Own Food

Having kids with food allergies or food sensitivities can be very difficult to manage, especially if your child is eating at a restaurant. If someone has an allergy to gluten and inadvertently ingests something that contains gluten, the results can be very serious, which is why one 11-year-old opted to bring his own lunch with him on a school field trip to Colonial Williamsburg.

The young boy named J.D. attempted to bring his own chicken sandwich into a restaurant where his classmates were eating during their field trip, TODAY reports. According to court documents, J.D. has a severe gluten allergy and if he eats anything containing gluten it could result in constipation, stomach pain, and other symptoms. Definitely not the sort of thing you want happening when on a field trip to Colonial Williamsburg!

Although the restaurant offered to make J.D. a gluten-free meal, the youth didn't want to take the chance and opted to eat outside after the restaurant wouldn't allow him to eat his homemade sandwich inside. The student had eaten "gluten-free" options at restaurants in the past and unfortunately had bad experiences with them. J.D. was with his father Brian on the trip who told Allergic Living that he and his son were forced to sit outside in the rain and eat their lunch despite the fact that they had paid for tickets in advanced that included lunch. He said his son felt humiliated and excluded from his peers who were eating inside the restaurant and began to cry when he was made to eat outside.

J.D.'s family ended up suing the restaurant, alleging that by refusing to allow him to bring in outside food they were violating the Americans with Disabilities Act, thus discriminating against the boy. Although the case was initially dismissed, the Court of Appeals overturned that decision.

Colonial Williamsburg said it was disappointed with the overturned ruling telling TODAY, "we have a long and successful track record of preparing gluten-free meals for our guests and believe doing so is a reasonable accommodation, as noted by the dissenting judge." Allergic Living already disagrees and writes this is "already being hailed as a victory for those with medically necessary diets."

J.D. himself is happy with the ruling and what it may mean for other kids with food allergies and sensitivities. "I think it means they have the freedom to be themselves and not have to worry about other people telling them that they cannot be themselves because of their disability."

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