School Lets Girl Cough Self Into Vomiting Fit, Because Her Inhaler Doesn’t Have Her Name On It


A dfnydnbzra
9-year-old girl starts coughing so hard in school that she can barely breathe. You’re the school officials. Do you:

1 – Take bets on how long till she turns blue

2 – Call your lawyer, just in case she dies

3 – Let her use her inhaler

At Columbia Elementary in West Jordan, UT, officials chose “none of the above.”

They certainly didn’t let the girl use her inhaler, for one simple reason: her name wasn’t on it.

So of course they had to grab it away. I mean, just because SHE brought it in and SHE needed it — thanks to the fact that SHE gets coughing fits — there was really no way to ascertain whether the inhaler was really hers. It could be anyone’s!

And besides, it’s a drug, and all drugs are evil.  Inhaler. Crack pipe. What’s the diff? 

According to Fox4KC,  the girl, Emma Gonzalez, had:

obtained an inhaler over the weekend after a coughing fit landed her in the emergency room. On Monday, the fourth grader was hit with another coughing spell in class at Columbia Elementary.

When Emma took her inhaler out to use it, her teacher sent her to the office, where staff took the inhaler.

Emma said she started coughing so hard she threw up on her pants.

What’s a little vomit compared to the real problem: Parents who simply WON’T fill out forms right after a trip to the emergency room? Let this be a lesson to them! (Boldface mine.) 

District officials say the staff did everything right by taking the medication to make sure it was for that specific student.

The inhaler doesn’t have Emma’s name on it and the school had not been notified that she was taking the medication.

“There could be all sorts of problems if children were just allowed to take any medication and we didn’t have that verification. Again, this is for the student’s safety,” said district spokeswoman Sandy Riesgraf.

I’m sure Emma feels safer already, knowing that she will be prevented from accessing life-saving drugs if all the paperwork is not in order. Phew! – L. 


Why should we give this to you just because you appear to be gasping for breath?

Why should we give this to you, just because you appear to be gasping for breath?


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143 Responses to School Lets Girl Cough Self Into Vomiting Fit, Because Her Inhaler Doesn’t Have Her Name On It

  1. Kate September 30, 2015 at 11:35 pm #

    My son has cough-variant asthma. Every school year, I have to get a new doctor’s note so that he can keep an inhaler at the school. It is kept in the office, and the teachers aren’t allowed to help administer it–the receptionist supervises him while he self-administers.

    I understand why they have all these regulations, but I’m pretty sure nobody is peddling their albuterol in the playground. And I did the same thing these parents did when he first had the diagnoses–I sent the inhaler in his backpack for the first couple of weeks while I sorted out getting an extra inhaler and spacer to keep at school and the proper form signed by our pediatrician. My son was regularly coughing until he vomited, sometimes three times a week, and missing school because vomit always merits a call home. I wasn’t going to delay his treatment for some paperwork!

  2. Warren September 30, 2015 at 11:42 pm #

    Again, why do parents let the schools get away with things like this?

    The whole idea that you will let your child’s medications be kept in a location, within the school, instead of with the person who has the prescription is stupid. There is no logic to it at all, unless the child needs assistance taking his or her meds. If they are capable of self medicating, then the school has no need to be involved, and should mind their own business.

    Had one school try that with my oldest daughter. Didn’t last long, once our doctor was done reading them the riot act.

  3. Jenny Islander October 1, 2015 at 12:31 am #

    I had a sinus infection at age 9 for which they prescribed an antibiotic that came as an itchy white powder that I had to snort up into my nose–in the classroom, where the teacher could keep an eye on my progress snorting the stuff and the work of the other students at the same time.

    I don’t know whether they even make that medication anymore–but can you imagine the flailing panic reactions in schools like this if they did?!

  4. Walter Underwood October 1, 2015 at 12:58 am #

    Idiots. Withholding drugs has the same risk as administering drugs. There isn’t a form for withholding drugs, but the child is just as dead.

    Use your brain.

  5. C. S. P. Schofield October 1, 2015 at 4:34 am #

    Each and every teacher and administrative drone who was involved with this travesty should be arrested and charged with willful child endangerment. At a minimum their teaching certificates or other permits to teach should be stripped from them, permanently. They are unfit to supervise children.

    I don’t know the specific laws of Utah, but most States in the Union have laws on the books expressly forbidding schools from separating children from their asthma inhalers. I have read several stories about parents going to court and judges explaining to school administrators, in VERY strong language, that “Zero Tolerance” anti-drug policies do not superseded the law.

  6. Elaine October 1, 2015 at 4:38 am #

    ASTHMA KILLS! Every year children die as a result of these stupid policies. As a child my asthma was very bad (no preventive medicine back then) and when a school tried to stop me carrying my inhaler my mother told them she would charge the school for every trip I had to take to ER as a result. No problems after that.

    Every parent with a child who has to take medication should do the same. Don’t go along, fight back. An asthma attack can go from mild to life threatening in a very short time. Ask the school about their procedures for a severe or moderate asthma attack. Don’t let them put your child at risk.

  7. Andrew October 1, 2015 at 4:39 am #

    All sorts of problems? Name one problem caused by allowing someone to self-medicate with the treatment provided by their medical practitioner for that very purpose?

    I can think of several problems caused by removing acces to necessary medication.

    Do the teachers think they know better than the doctors or the parents?

  8. Snake Plissken October 1, 2015 at 5:11 am #

    These idiot teachers and school officials need to be put to death in the gas chamber today. I want them to cough themselves to death gasping for breath with nothing but cyanide gas in their lungs. This is what they deserve. I would do this myself if I could that’s how furious I am about this travesty. The parents must sue the school for a million dollars they will win that much or more.

  9. lollipoplover October 1, 2015 at 5:44 am #

    These school officials lacked compassion and common sense.
    This would be like watching a child drown and doing nothing because you were not a licensed/certified/prior- authorization/labeled Lifeguard.
    How can any decent human being act like this, especially around children?

  10. Elin October 1, 2015 at 5:50 am #

    Horrible! Besides, the drugs normally given for asthma attacks are really not that dangerous even if given to someone who does not have asthma at least at normal doses. Sure if you take every dose in an inhaler yes but that is dangerous for an astmatic as well.

  11. lollipoplover October 1, 2015 at 5:52 am #

    And the key to treating an asthma attack is to catch it early! I coached an after school running club and had 3 kids who needed rescue inhalers on them at all times(which I carried for them in a fanny pack…not my finest fashion moment). They all needed them at some time during the runs. They came every week and were very good runners. The inhalers weren’t labeled but each kid knew which one was theirs.

    When you have a condition like asthma that is LIFE THREATENING you come up with strategies to still be active yet safe. When you are an elementary school, you come up with strategies that don’t put bureaucracy and paper pushing first and children’s lives second. Shame on them.

  12. BL October 1, 2015 at 6:28 am #

    “I have read several stories about parents going to court and judges explaining to school administrators, in VERY strong language, that “Zero Tolerance” anti-drug policies do not superseded the law.”

    Strong language? Why not prison?

  13. Rg October 1, 2015 at 6:39 am #

    My son is allergic to crustaceans. He has had an anaphylactic reaction in the past, which is how we found out about the allergy in the first place. In order for him to be able to have an epi pen school, we have to jump through a number of hoops which in the end cost us $1000 every year. That’s not a typo, it’s one thousand each fall. So he doesn’t have an EpiPen at school. Which frightens me. But we do not have $1000 a year to spend on this. So right now if he goes into anaphylactic shock, they will call 911, and call me so I can bring our epi pen to him. I work 20 minutes away. There’s no way I would get there in time. So I have to rely on the unlikelihood that my son, who is seven, will be served to shrimp or lobster at school, or that if he is exposed to one of those things, it will not cause him to go into severe shock. Probability is on our side. But it would have been nice to be able to have an EpiPen there with him all day too.

  14. Rick October 1, 2015 at 7:02 am #

    While we’re talking about kids’ health, what about the absurd fear mongering about germs – sending healthy unvaccinated kids home from school during an an outbreak such as chickenpox. They used to have chickenpox parties.

  15. George October 1, 2015 at 7:28 am #

    Does your 7y/o know how to use the epipen by himself? If so, why not send it to school with him and tell him to keep it hidden?

    Better to be judged by twelve than carried by six.

  16. Donna October 1, 2015 at 7:57 am #

    I have been in criminal law for a long time now. Recreational inhaler use and 9 year old drug addicts are not problems that need to be addressed by schools.

    I could see a concern by the school if the inhaler had someone else’s name on it – people using a friend’s leftover medication without ever seeing a doctor is common and does cause problems – but a blank inhaler that the child explained was given to her at the ER should not be an issue. 9 year olds are simply not openly using illegal drugs and then concocting stories to explain themselves. They are also not idiots who don’t know that this is definitely what was given to them by a doctor at the hospital.

    And that is the problem with zero tolerance rules. We can’t use our brains and see that there is a difference between a teenager who suddenly has adderall and only vague answers as to where he got it and a 9 year old with an inhaler and a very definite answer as to where she got it.

  17. Tara October 1, 2015 at 8:26 am #

    Thankful for the small school my kids go to. My son has carried cough drops in his pocket most of the year. No questions asked. A few years ago in third grade his teacher actually gave him a cough drop out of her own purse. She asked him if he’d ever had one, he said yes, she emailed me later. (He gets a cough that lingers on and on after a cold, not contagious, just annoying!)

  18. CrazyCatLady October 1, 2015 at 9:31 am #

    As usual, the comments by the general public are blaming the parents. “If the parents had spent 15 minutes they could have had this sorted out.” Actually….no. Parents must fill out the correct forms, that are online and different for each school. My son has a friend who needs an epi-pen for her egg allergy and I helped the mom find the forms, buried in deep in the school district web site. And then, it needs to be signed by the doctor, as well as the parents, and no, it must be the FORM that is signed, not a note from the doctor saying “Sally needs this for her asthma.” Which means after you go to the ER, you then have to go back and get the doctor (who may not be working now) to sign the form. Or….wait two weeks until you can get in with your regular doctor.

    What they SHOULD have done, if they were so worried about it, is to let the child use the inhaler, THEN call the parents to let them know she needed to use it, and help them find all the stupid forms that they need. Because if their child had not had issues before (because sometimes that happens) they may not have known they needed to do all the stupid paperwork.

  19. MichaelF October 1, 2015 at 9:47 am #

    This is as bad as the school that let the girl stand outside in a swimsuit without a coat freezing, during the fire drill. Admins stick so close to the regs to avoid lawsuits or complaints that they can’t step outside the box to even help out when its needed.

    Is it the atmosphere people have created or the stupidity in the system that protects itself by inaction?

  20. Beth October 1, 2015 at 9:53 am #

    I wish the news website allowed comments – I’d love to know if we’d have heard from the “if it saves one kid from recreational inhaler use it was worth it” crowd.

  21. Beth October 1, 2015 at 9:54 am #

    Wait a minute, CrazyCatLady where did you read comments?

  22. MarkM October 1, 2015 at 9:58 am #

    The scary thing is just because an epi pen has been given to the school nurse, it does not mean the nurse will be willing to use said epi pen. We had that problem at my children’s private school – a prior nurse refused to administer a shot via epi pen as the child was going into shock. Fortunately, the paramedics were eventually called and the child survived. That nurse was fired.

    I really, really hate antibiotic prescriptions which need to be taken more than 2/day. The school currently requires that such medication be provided to the school nurse and the child has to go to the nurse in order to take it. The problem being the nurse likes to hang on to the entire $@!# bottle if you’re not careful. While I understand the desire to monitor such medication and discourage pills in zip lock bags and I tend to regard them as somewhat unreasonable, I am thankful that the school doesn’t overreact / head towards that zero-tolerance place. (And yes, the children at our school can put sunblock on themselves that they bring from home when going on certain field trips or athletic activities. $$$)

    That being said, my children joke the current nurse has a magical belief in the power of cough drops. No matter what the condition or complaint, apparently anyone visiting the school nurse gets offered a cough drop. Have a headache? Here, have a cough drop. Sigh.

  23. Ev October 1, 2015 at 9:59 am #

    My younger sister (who is still in school) and I have both had problems with similar situations. I have had asthma since childhood, she has had chronic migraines since she was about 10, both of us were prescribed medication for our respective conditions (her pills for migraine, me an inhaler) that needed to be administered quickly after symptoms appeared, but school rules dictated that our parents had to turn in signed forms (meaning a $50 copay for a doctor’s visit just to sign the form, as you had to have the prescription before the school would give you the form) and they had to bring the form and the medication to the nurse’s office directly, we could not be allowed to carry it, meaning that one of our parents also had to be late to work on the first day of school so they could drop off medication. Add this to the fact that the medication dropped off must be sealed in the bag from the pharmacy (meaning that they had to get the doctor to authorize two prescriptions so we could have some at home and some at school), and it’s getting pretty expensive to allow your kid to function in school (or, in my case, avoid a trip to the ER because of gym class). Even after jumping through all those hoops, the medicine had to be kept in the nurse’s office. This meant that if my sister started getting a migraine in class, she had to ask the teacher for permission to go to the nurse’s office to take her pill and get back to normal functioning. Often (until my dad called and ripped the teacher a new one), the teacher will tell her to wait until it is convenient for them, or assume she just wants to skive off and told he she was fine, ask again in 20 minutes if she still felt bad (note: the prescription is meant to be taken within 10 minutes of the first migraine symptoms). In my case, if I started having trouble breathing, I had to somehow communicate to the teacher, while coughing my lungs out, that I needed to go the nurse, then drag my coughing, wheezing body to her office and cross my fingers she was actually there and wouldn’t take too long to find my inhaler (there was one time where I collapsed in the hallway en route because the coughing was so bad, and I also ended up vomiting, the teacher said I was “being overdramatic” despite being the most goody two-shoes and least likely to be dramatic kid in that class). In both cases, we would end up having to sit in the nurse’s office for a while (sometimes being coughed on by some kid who was contagiously sick), missing out on classtime because the school rules dictated that a student taking medication must remain in the nurse’s office for 15 minutes after taking medication (I really don’t know why, some ridiculous reason I’m sure).

  24. CrazyCatLady October 1, 2015 at 10:15 am #

    Beth, on the Face Book page linked to the article.

    If you click under any of the articles there you can read the comments. Not that I recommend it. They pretty much all say follow the rules at the expense of the child….but don’t cover what to do if the parents don’t know the rules. (Yes, there are some people that are focused on their jobs, feeding and housing their kids and don’t read the student handbooks.)

  25. Neil M October 1, 2015 at 10:15 am #

    Did you notice that the school district rep in the video assures us that they would never leave a child in distress alone? That’s such a mealy-mouthed thing to say, because that’s not at issue here and never was. School officials actively prevented a child from using her medication and we’re supposed to be comforted by the fact that she had company while she suffered?

    This girl’s parents would have been completely justified to have flown into a red-eyed rage over this. The folks who work at a school are supposed to protect children, not shield themselves from liability.

  26. Brooks October 1, 2015 at 10:38 am #

    I see from our local student manual that kids can carry and self-administer emergency drugs (with and additional form), but something like a cough drop has to be taken to the school nurse with a form. Of course it’s ridiculous.

    After going through this BS with school, camp and Boy Scouts, I trained my son how to take his medicine (which he’s been self-administering for five years) secretly, rolling up the packaging in toilet paper and stealthily dropping it in a garbage can. I’m done with forms.

  27. Anna October 1, 2015 at 11:40 am #

    Back in education school, I remember learning in our education law class that – quite apart from all those permission forms and waivers schools make parents sign – any adult who has charge of a child is in fact legally entitled and obliged to make emergency medical decisions for that child. Which, it seems to me, would include letting the kid use her inhaler during an asthma attack, whether suitable forms were on file or not. Of course, I studied education in Canada. Is the law here so different?

  28. Jessica October 1, 2015 at 12:02 pm #

    Would it be possible to file personal criminal charges against the people who took away the meds as well as those who let it happen? Could this fall under child endangerment/neglect? If it happened to my kid, or if I had to choose between paying a ridiculous amount of money or my kid having his epi-pens, I would be taking it so far up the chain, to congress, to the media, whatever. No cold should have to suffer like this.

  29. Andy October 1, 2015 at 12:05 pm #


  30. Kassandra October 1, 2015 at 12:12 pm #

    I remember being in elementary school and having carmex taken away from me because the bottle says “medicated” on it. But I was allowed to go home during class to get a permission slip signed(I literally lived 2 houses down from the school) while my teacher stood at the door waiting for me…. Makes sense..

  31. Shannon October 1, 2015 at 12:16 pm #

    When did educators lose ALL COMMON SENSE in thia country???? This makes me sick.

  32. Shannon October 1, 2015 at 12:16 pm #

    When did educators lose ALL COMMON SENSE in this country???? This makes me sick.

  33. Rook October 1, 2015 at 12:19 pm #

    This is a good example why I hope and pray my kid does not have any issues. Naturally as a parent I wouldn’t want him to deal with the immediate problems that comes with any issue, but it’s everybody else that has me concerned. What lengths would society go to punish him for not being normal? (Or for being normal and wanting to play with sticks.) And then would they take him away from me or put me in jail if I told them to act like civilized human beings? I’d fight those lunatics to the bitter end and support all the other “abnormal” kids, but we really shouldn’t have to. That little girl did nothing wrong, and if she HAD died, I’d hope every last one of those calloused jerks lost their jobs, were heavily fined or given jail time, and were banned from being around any person with medical issues.

  34. fred schueler October 1, 2015 at 12:20 pm #

    our mom-&-pop research institute is now studying the generalization that almost all modern bureaucracies operate on the principle of “guilty until grudgingly acknowledged to be possibly innocent,”

  35. Jane J. October 1, 2015 at 12:22 pm #

    This pisses me off. What has happened to common sense and common decency? Sure, there are issues with letting medicine be taken correctly and of course processes need to be put in to place but when school staff hide behind their list of rules and let a child suffer, a line has been crossed. In this case it seems extremely obvious that the inhaler a) belonged to the girl and b) she needed to use it immediately.

    Let it be known that I will ALWAYS err on the side of true “child safety” rather than “bureaucratic bullshit.” Too bad those school teachers and staff won’t do the same.

  36. Andrew Jones October 1, 2015 at 12:25 pm #

    OK….I started having a problem as soon as the child actually listened to the teacher to go to the office. I’m *trying* to raise my children to respect authority – but only so far as the authority is *right*.

    If you’re struggling to breathe, and a teacher tells you to go to the office *first*…sorry, the teacher is an idiot – ignore them.

    What are they going to do?

    Throw you physically out of the classroom? That’s assault!

    Take the medication…and then if you *want* to, go to the office and complain about the teacher being stupid.

    If this leads to other issues – at least you can breathe and can argue about it.

    I can’t believe there are people actually supporting this level of bureaucratic inanity out there….

  37. Dean Whinery October 1, 2015 at 12:26 pm #

    “Didn’t have her name on it.” In more than 50 years of dealing with medications (US Army medic and lifelong Scout leader), I don’t recall EVER seeing the child’s name on an inhaler.

  38. AJ October 1, 2015 at 12:29 pm #

    But why are we completely absolving parents of demonstrating any common sense?

    I`m going to throw myself to the wolves here as the lone voice of dissention. I don`t think the school is qualified to administer medication they know nothing about, no matter how smart or responsible the 9 year old is, and I think they did the right thing. I am definitely not in favour of zero-tolerance policies, nor saying that there`s never room for judgement calls, and I don`t live or want to live in a worst-first thinking world. But there really are lots and lots of things that can go horribly wrong when someone takes medication that`s not intended for them, and lots and lots of ways that even a smart, honest kid can end up in possession of something they really shouldn`t take.

    I`m not proposing forms and fees and doctor`s notes and all the other crazy bureaucratic nonsense you guys have all experienced, but giving the school at least a clue regarding your kid`s medicine just seems like common sense. I don`t think it requires memorization of the school policy handbook to realize that if you send your kid to school with medicine, you label it.

    For people wanting to tar and feather this particular school administration, don`t you think that`s as much of an over-reaction as it would be if they had let her have it and the rules-always people got mad? Everyone is saying gee, what`s the worst thing that could happen if a kid takes the wrong medicine, well, that can go the other way too. What is realistically the worst thing that could happen if a kid misses a dose? If the answer to that is `she will die`, then if you haven`t made the school aware of the situation you`re a moron. In this case, as dramatic as `coughing until vomiting` sounds, it really isn`t that big a deal. Kids do that all the time, inhalers or not, and yeah, it`s unfortunate, but it`s no more the end of the world than it would be if they had let her take medication that she was mistakenly or dishonestly trying to use – that probably wouldn`t have killed her either.

    I can really only see two scenarios as a parent – either your kid has a life-threatening issue and requires medicine to live, in which case clearly you should have made appropriate arrangements with the school, or your kid is suffering from a temporary minor ailment and a missed dose isn`t really a big deal. I am having a really hard time seeing anything in the middle, and moaning that she could have died is just as dramatic and worst-first as the school refusing to let her take her inhaler in case it wasn`t genuinely meant for her.

    For the people who are going to yell at me that I don`t understand how serious asthma can be, I just want to reiterate that there is zero indication in the story that she even has asthma (inhalers are prescribed for lots of temporary, minor conditions) and Lenore referring to it as life-saving drugs was not supported at all by the information in the story. Overdramatizing the potential consequences of the school`s decision hurts the free-range movement just as much as overdramatizing the potential consequences of having allowed her to have it. It would be nice to have a reasonable conversation about the best way to keep kids happy and safe without assuming either side is thoroughly wrong and evil. The school probably should have let her use the inhaler. The parents probably should have at very least mentioned to the school that she needed it. Kid is alive and well, just as she probably would be had it gone the other way.

  39. Vicky October 1, 2015 at 12:37 pm #

    Sue their pants off and bring criminal charges. Get a lawyer! This liberal bs is harming children mentally and physically.

  40. Anna October 1, 2015 at 12:42 pm #

    “For the people who are going to yell at me that I don`t understand how serious asthma can be, I just want to reiterate that there is zero indication in the story that she even has asthma (inhalers are prescribed for lots of temporary, minor conditions)”

    No, the word “asthma” is not normally used until the condition is chronic, but that’s largely a matter of definition. A temporary asthma-like condition can be every bit as dangerous as one of long-standing. E.g., all the sons of my one sister have had serious respiratory problems over the years; not all have been diagnosed as “asthmatic, ” but even the ones who aren’t have all, at one point or another, been pushed in that direction for a few weeks or months by a bad cold or an allergy – and been prescribed the same medications for it as they would be if it were labelled “asthma.”

    And who’s asking the teacher to administer medication? The issue was whether the child could administer her own medication. In my opinion, by the age of nine, having anyone but the child herself administer an inhaler would be bizarre – what could be more time-sensitive than breathing, and who could better know when the inhaler is needed?

  41. SteveS October 1, 2015 at 12:47 pm #

    I have read several stories about parents going to court and judges explaining to school administrators, in VERY strong language, that “Zero Tolerance” anti-drug policies do not superseded the law.

    I am involved in some litigation involving a school district and can tell you that there are an unfortunate number that believe certain laws do not apply to them. I was pleasantly surprised to find that my state (MI) was one that allowed kids to keep an inhaler on them at all times and use it when they needed it.

    That being said, I agree with Warren’s point that kids should be allowed to keep and take their own medications at school.

  42. Maggie in VA October 1, 2015 at 12:49 pm #

    OK, I am an asthmatic, and I have been following the frankly insane progress of schools denying children access to prescribed medications and legitimately-needed OTC ones, such as painkillers for menstrual cramps, etc. before these Drug War-addled bureaucrats kill someone. Inhalers have virtually no abuse potential. I plan to write my state delegate and ask him to propoe a law that would require schools to allow asthmatics and other children with respiratory problems to carry prescribed inhalers.

  43. AJ October 1, 2015 at 12:55 pm #

    “And who’s asking the teacher to administer medication? The issue was whether the child could administer her own medication. In my opinion, by the age of nine, having anyone but the child herself administer an inhaler would be bizarre – what could be more time-sensitive than breathing, and who could better know when the inhaler is needed?”

    You’re right. That’s what I want, too. I’m just saying it’s not unreasonable to give the school a heads up, is all. Especially if it’s a serious condition.

    I’m not saying the school handled it perfectly, but I think they were in a difficult position. If they’d had a note or a call from home advising them and they still denied her because “proper” forms weren’t filled out or what have you, I would be as angry as the rest of you (and I would really like to know what was said on the phone call to dad during the coughing fit). But it’s hard for me to understand how none of you seem to think that the parents dropped the ball on this one at all.

  44. Hannah October 1, 2015 at 1:00 pm #

    My daughter has SEVERE chronic asthma. She has been trained by medical professionals to use her inhalers and WHEN she needs them. If she had to go to the school clinic in order to use it, she’d be dead! Her asthma hits hard and fast, she is unable to talk, or walk. This situation is beyond unacceptable…
    I guess I am very glad I don’t live in Utah.

  45. Jane J. October 1, 2015 at 1:11 pm #

    AJ–You’re right. The parents should have done more. For sure. But they didn’t. Who knows why but that’s what happens at time. Whether it’s because they didn’t know, didn’t prioritize, were lazy, were unconcerned–it really doesn’t matter the reason is. The reality is that there will be times when certain paperwork is complete.

    So, then do we just let the kid suffer? In this specific case, it seems that the girl started coughing, she pulls out an inhaler to use it and the teacher makes her go to the office. What is truly the likelihood of a girl faking a coughing fit AND somehow finding someone else’s unmarked inhaler? And the keeping up the fraud long enough to throw up? That’s so unlikely that’s it’s nearly impossible.

    So, in this specific case, the school staff should do what makes sense. Teacher says, “Where did you get the inhaler?” Kid, between coughs: “At the ER last weekend.” Teacher: “Do you know how to use it?” Kid: “Yes.” Teahcer:”OK, do it. and I’m going to call the office while you do it and also your parents so they can come in and get you.” Kid: “OK” (And at this point, if the kid was pulling a prank, pretty sure the coughing fit would miraculously clear up fast.)

    That is a reasonable scenario. That is what we do to protect our kids. And teach them how to react in emergency situations (using critical thinking, judgement and common sense). Isn’t that what we want our kids to be learning these days??

  46. Jane J. October 1, 2015 at 1:12 pm #

    (Oops. Meant to write above: “certain paperwork ISN’T complete.”

  47. Beth October 1, 2015 at 1:16 pm #

    Dean Whinery, I didn’t think about that but you’re right. I have asthma, and my inhalers always come in a box, with the label from the pharmacy plastered on the box while the inhaler itself is pristine and free of labels. I guess one could write the child’s name on it with a sharpee, but who would really think of that when the inhaler is in the kid’s backpack?

  48. Brian October 1, 2015 at 1:18 pm #

    Sorry, i have to side with the school district on this one. I’m a registered nurse and i think the school did the right thing.

    We’re talking about a prescription drug, not an over the counter one.

    It’s a complex issue, and maybe I’m indulging in worst first thinking, but i worked emergency for thirteen years and did telephone triage for several as well. I have seen countless numbers of people taking prescriptions incorrectly or not prescribed for them, etc AND resulting in harm.

    Do you read the drug information sheets the pharmacy gives you when you pick up prescriptions? Realize that is just a small over view; doctors, pharmacists, and nurses usually have to read a lot more before meds are administered on a case by case basis.

    So, a child brings in a prescription medication without a name (the pharmacies attach a transferable label with instructions and patient name on the Albuterol box, why didn’t the patent attach it to the device line they’re supposed to? Glad they could follow instructi… oh wait). Medications can be beneficial, but they can also be very harmful if given the wrong way or to the wrong person.

    Next, coughing fits can induce vomiting. It happens. It’s gross, tastes bad, but it is not a severe health risk in otherwise healthy kids.

    For those people clamouring about how asthma kills. True. Did the article say if there was actually an asthma attack, or just a severe coughing fit? Who actually is indulging in worst first thinking here?

  49. pentamom October 1, 2015 at 1:20 pm #

    “OK….I started having a problem as soon as the child actually listened to the teacher to go to the office. I’m *trying* to raise my children to respect authority – but only so far as the authority is *right*.

    If you’re struggling to breathe, and a teacher tells you to go to the office *first*…sorry, the teacher is an idiot – ignore them.

    What are they going to do?”

    Okay, that’s all reasonable, but she was nine and in the middle of a physical crisis. It’s not necessarily a failure of parenting if a kid in that situation just does what she’s told and what she hopes will result in being able to use her inhaler. She’s suffering from a condition that is defined by depriving her of oxygen at times — clouded thinking and responses aren’t necessarily someone’s “fault” when that happens.

  50. pentamom October 1, 2015 at 1:30 pm #

    Parents just coming off an exhausting, scary trip to the ER, bring home the inhaler, and don’t re-attach the inhaler label from the box to the inhaler. This may well all be new to them, and they’re probably not at the top of their game anyway. If I just brought a kid home from the ER after something as scary as a coughing fit that required going to the ER, sticking labels onto things is NOT going to be my first priority and I am NOT going to feel guilt over that.

    School officials see kid with an inhaler, doesn’t have a label on it. They do not let the kid use the inhaler, do not call the parents to see if the inhaler was prescribed for the kid, they just stand there and watch the kid cough, choke, and vomit.

    Who really bears the responsibility here? Who did the bigger “bad thing”? The people who failed to stick a label on something, or the people who stood around watching, hoping it wouldn’t get bad enough to call in the screaming sirens and the people with rescue equipment?

    It’s like Donna said, there has to be some room for judgment. Nine year olds abusing stolen inhalers and making up stories about how they got them is just not a thing. In a situation where some kind of abuse actually happens, maybe more caution is warranted. But that’s where adults have to be adults and use judgment.

  51. Fiamma October 1, 2015 at 1:32 pm #

    All that went through my head was what in the ever loving fuck were they thinking? Sorry for being crass, but there it is.

  52. Jenny Islander October 1, 2015 at 1:38 pm #

    @Brian: Do you have data on the actual incidence of albuterol overdose in school-aged children who are allowed to carry their own inhalers? A big part of why this site exists is adults doing things that actually hurt children because they imagine that they are protecting them from dangers that are very, very rare or nonexistent. The Texas sunscreen thing comes to mind.

  53. Emily Morris October 1, 2015 at 1:40 pm #

    As a Utah resident and teacher, I want it to be known that this particular school district is rather locally infamous about the state…

  54. Fiamma October 1, 2015 at 1:46 pm #

    I don’t normally like to get into internet fights, but Brian, you kind of pissed me off.
    How about we try this scenario. Girl gets sent to school nurse who, because she/he is skilled in all things medical, calls the parents to verify inhaler is for her use. Then after allowing the child to you know, inhale, maybe the nurse asks parent to email or fax ER form or copy of prescription if possible. If not, maybe pharmacy can verify but in the meantime, again, let’s allow the child to take the meds since it is clear she is having a very difficult time and needs help.
    I believe nurses, like doctors, are also under obligation to do no harm and quite frankly this whole scenario is bullshit just like not being able to hand out aspirin or sunscreen. We have EMR’s and perhaps schools should have access to them and find a way to help a kid out if an emergency arises.
    In all honesty I blame our court system that has allowed many a bullshit lawsuit, hot coffee/swings/etc, to come through and win that it has completely annihilated all common sense in people.
    I have a feeling once my kid is in school I am gonna have a real hard time with a lot of their policies. Damn shame.

  55. Betsy in Michigan October 1, 2015 at 1:56 pm #

    Have they not heard of the kids who have died because they were denied inhalers or epi-pens (what rock are they living under)? I don’t know, that kind of news sticks with me as being truly horrifying, even if it only happened to one child (and it’s been more than that).

    Michigan, in the last year or so, has mandated that public schools all have current epi-pens on hand to be used in case of emergency. It has already saved some lives (or prevented life-threatening circumstances) in people who have had their VERY FIRST allergic reaction. Sometimes I’m not so happy wit “states rights” and the vast variability there can be in various systems – educational, judicial, public safety, etc.

  56. Jason October 1, 2015 at 2:03 pm #

    Those of you defending the school are obviously unaware that we have a God-given right to be ignorant and lazy, and to blame someone else for the results of that ignorance and laziness.

  57. Donna October 1, 2015 at 2:15 pm #

    Yes, the parents were less than perfect. They should have filled out the proper forms or sent a note to the teacher about the inhaler. A reasonable response to a clerical oversight is to let a child cough until she vomits while you hold the medication that will make it stop a foot away from her but refuse to let her have it? Of course not! The proper response to to give the child the medication and then complain to the parents who made the error. The child has no control over whether or not her parents fill out a form.

    I like how even here people treat kids like idiots. Yes, there are lots of medications that can harm you if used incorrectly. Yes, there are people who take medications incorrectly. Why are we treating all children as though they are likely to do this and with all medications. I have a 4th grader. There is absolutely no reason that a 4th grader, absent some mental limitation, can’t use an inhaler properly. There is also nothing I can find that indicates that using inhalers incorrectly causes serious injury or death or anything other than poorly controlled asthma.

  58. pentamom October 1, 2015 at 2:16 pm #

    Ignorant and lazy? Failing to file paperwork within a less than one business day turnaround is now ignorant and lazy? Seriously?

  59. James Pollock October 1, 2015 at 2:35 pm #

    There’s a tendency to assume that if one side is wrong, the other side must therefore be right.

    Sometimes, there’s no right side, and this is one of them. The school administration was wrong, the teacher was wrong, the parents were wrong. Not equally wrong, but all were wrong. The only one blameless here is the actual victim.

  60. Liz October 1, 2015 at 2:55 pm #

    I never, ever had to have someone give me my medication, even as a child (I kept them in my room and took them myself when I was supposed to). The only time I remember having to hand it over to someone else to give to me was in high school on the music department trip. I thought I was insane but we handed over some of the medication, the rest I kept on me in case THEY forgot (you can’t tell someone taking anxiety medication to “trust us”). I didn’t trust them. Which is sort of the point here, that if the rules make little to no sense or are directly harmful we have to advocate breaking them. Yes, it does teach kids not to respect authority, but authority does not deserve blanket obedience when doing so hurts the individual.

  61. Caiti October 1, 2015 at 2:57 pm #

    I’m surprised nobody has mentioned the most obvious (to me) reason the parents didnt notify the school about their daughters medication; namely, that they were worried about the school taking the inhaler away from their daughter and keeping it under lock and key in the nurse’s office, where it is not as readily available to her. Since they know their daughter is responsible enough to use it on her own, they would rather she have access to it immediately. I would have done the same.

  62. Havva October 1, 2015 at 3:18 pm #

    Maggie in VA, if you are still in Virginia you/your kids are covered by Va Code Ann §22.1–274.2 (2002).

    “Local school boards shall develop and implement policies permitting a student with a diagnosis of asthma or anaphylaxis, or both, to possess and self-administer inhaled asthma medications or auto-injectable epinephrine, or both, as the case may be, during the school day, at school-sponsored activities, or while on a school bus or other school property. ….”
    Paperwork however, is still required you would have to check with your district for the form to allow it.

    For anyone wondering about their state, this article lists every state with a right to carry inhalers as of 2004. ….. For those in the 5 states which have laws “broadly providing for the self-administration of medications” be careful. My childhood state is on the list, yet my old middle school still forbids students to carry their inhalers, despite the laws being such that they could allow the inhalers if they wanted too. So I’d say any such state should be lobbied to force schools to allow students to carry their medication. One can also work on the school board level to make it politically untenable for them to continue withholding life saving medication.

  63. Emily Morris October 1, 2015 at 3:29 pm #

    So, my thoughts put together on the article itself.

    Was this a life-threatening emergency? Doesn’t sound like it. Do I support schools being aware of moderate to major medicine and medical devices required by students? I sure do. Should the parents have let the school know? Of course.

    But… I feel those are details beyond the real issue here.

    If we really want kids to be responsible, we need to let them be. Sure, I can see cases where a little more scrutiny and security might be required, but at my school every kid that requires an inhaler and can handle the responsibility (which is what we ought to be aiming for) has the inhaler on his person or in his backpack.

    A kid responsible enough to handle a personal medical issue ought to be allowed to handle it. Have a process in line for major things and perhaps individual circumstances, but otherwise stop stupid policies that aren’t helping anyone.

  64. lollipoplover October 1, 2015 at 4:01 pm #

    Even if it wasn’t life threatening, vomiting all over yourself is probably Top 5 worst things that can happen at school. I just don’t understand why this escalated to the level it did when the 9 year-old could have handled it herself, even without all the proper paperwork in place.

    “We’re talking about a prescription drug, not an over the counter one.”

    OTC drugs are just as dangerous as Rx drugs!
    Kids getting high on OTC cough syrup is a HUGE problem. Look up drug abuse statistics: 1 in 8 teens admits to getting high off of OTC cough syrup. Not prescription Albuterol. OTC.

    @ Brian-
    As a registered nurse, please educate yourself on medications teens are more likely to abuse and don’t give a lectures about the importance of reading a PI. And please, please, learn some compassion so you don’t make statements like “coughing fits can induce vomiting. It happens. It’s gross, tastes bad, but it is not a severe health risk in otherwise healthy kids.”
    Being covered in your own vomit because the adults around you are morons may not be a severe health risk, but it is embarrassing and humiliating. She should not have been treated this way.

  65. klgs24 October 1, 2015 at 4:02 pm #

    I just have to chime in that pharmacies will split prescriptions such as antibiotics etc. (IDK how it would work with an epipen or inhaler). So you don’t actually need two scripts for something like that. My kid takes a maintenance medicine 3x per day, so one dose is at school, and no pharmacy has had a problem with giving us an extra empty bottle, properly labeled.

    Also, if your doctors office takes two weeks to sign a form and makes you see them for it, you need to switch doctors.

  66. Puzzled October 1, 2015 at 4:21 pm #

    > Overdramatizing the potential consequences of the school`s decision hurts the free-range movement just as >much as overdramatizing the potential consequences of having allowed her to have it.

    Let’s see. You’re a teacher who, as stated, hasn’t been told of a medical problem. You observe a child having trouble breathing and taking out an inhaler. You prevent the child from using that inhaler because you’re a good brown…er, teacher. Tell me – how do you know if the child has a life-threatening problem or not? Clearly you don’t, all you know is they are using a medication route commonly used for life-threatening problems, with a problem presentation that looks like a life-threatening problem.

    My point? The same logic used here would stop the use of life-saving albuterol as well.

    In 15 years in EMS, 10 as a paramedic, I have seen 0 albuterol overdoses. I have seen people who overused their inhalers, leading to severe attacks in the future, but no instances of “call 911 – he took a hit off an inhaler without really needing to!” Albuterol doesn’t make you high, and 9 year olds generally don’t seek out opportunities to get high either.

    Finally, 9 year olds are not morons. Yet they are being treated as such (or, I guess, as liars). That sends a nice message, as does the implied message “my comfort level with you using your medication is more important than your ability to breathe.”

  67. Anna October 1, 2015 at 4:29 pm #

    Brian: “I have seen countless numbers of people taking prescriptions incorrectly or not prescribed for them, etc AND resulting in harm.” No doubt you have. But do you really think adding a few lashings of red tape at school is going to fix that? Do you think the teacher or school nurse is going to carefully read those pages of fine print that you’re complaining patients don’t read?

    Also, what type of harm are you talking about? Serious harm from an inhaler would generally require extreme over-dosage or improper long-term usage, no?

    As to your “It’s not lethal, it’s just vomit,” are you serious? We should stop 9-year-olds from simple and non-drastic self-care that keeps their breathing under control because the asthma attack probably won’t be fatal? No adult would tolerate being treated that way. Why don’t we think discomfort, pain, and humiliation matter for kids?

    When I was a first-year teacher, I once asked a little girl if she could wait a moment to go to the bathroom because we were in the middle of something, and being very docile and timid, she actually wet her pants instead of telling me “No, I’ve gotta go NOW!” I’m ashamed and regretful about that to this day (and never, ever, ever second-guessed a kid about their personal needs again). But on your reckoning, I shouldn’t feel bad: after all, peeing your pants never killed anybody, right?

  68. Dhewco October 1, 2015 at 5:18 pm #

    I’m wondering about what bus students (especially the ones with long routes) are supposed to do. I’m assuming they can’t recover the meds for their bus ride home? When I was a kid, it took me almost an hour to get home. What is the bus driver supposed to do when a asthmatic kid has an episode? Can an ambulance even get to them in time? Do EMT’s have albuterol on their truck?

    This is one of the few times I’ve been really glad to grow up in the 80s. I was allowed to carry halls cough drops, tylenol/aspirin, and other medications with me. I couldn’t imagine interrupting class to go to the school nurse for a headache pill. (Of course, I also carried a pocket knife until high school, but that’s another thread)

  69. Warren October 1, 2015 at 5:25 pm #


    Harmless? Okay, having your stomach contents, including bile and stomach acids, come up and out is harmless?

    I sure hope you are a forensic nurse, and not dealing with living, breathing, feeling patients.

  70. Papilio October 1, 2015 at 5:30 pm #

    Hey, safety first, people! If it just kills one child, it’s totally worth it!

  71. Andrea October 1, 2015 at 5:35 pm #

    “Again, this is for the student’s safety,” said district spokeswoman Sandy Riesgraf.

    No, it’s not for the student’s safety, it’s for the financial safety of the school district. Because if she was hanging out at the park off school property and this happened, I guarantee that, had they been there none of these so-called adults would have taken her inhaler.

  72. Andrea October 1, 2015 at 5:39 pm #

    “any adult who has charge of a child is in fact legally entitled and obliged to make emergency medical decisions for that child.”

    @Anna: yes, that used to be the culture in the US — it’s the idea of /in loco parentis/, when a parent dropped off the child as school, the school stepped into the shoes of the “parent” in the parent’s absence, and not necessarily just for emergency medical decisions. Juries and insurance companies have changed that culture, though. Now it’s a “not without a form” culture.

  73. theresa hall October 1, 2015 at 5:44 pm #

    I hate kids can’t be trusted but it too much work for those in charge. we send these messages over and over kids aren’t to be trusted and girls are too distracting for boys. how can we expect kids to grow up when we won’t trust at any point?

  74. Anna October 1, 2015 at 6:29 pm #

    “Now it’s a “not without a form” culture.”

    Right, but I was wondering what the law itself says here on these matters. And by the way, from what I learned in that same education law class, those forms mean diddly squat, anyway. As teacher, you’re still liable if you did something irresponsible or unreasonable, whatever you go the parents to sign off on beforehand.

  75. ChicagoDad October 1, 2015 at 6:50 pm #

    Well. Here’s a lesson to all the school principals, HR managers, and business owners out there. You need to hire at least one person on your team who will be willing and able to “break the rules” to do the right thing at the right time. If all you hire are “yes” people who will blindly follow the rules without question, you’ll get crap like this. Hire a few people who demonstrate good judgement about when an exception to the rules is needed, and you will have a stronger, more adaptable team that doesn’t do stupid things like this. Sadly, there may not be enough people with good judgement to fill those positions….

  76. AB October 1, 2015 at 6:53 pm #

    Did anyone ever think the girl could have inhaled and/or choked on her vomit which would have caused serious lung injuries? A friend of mine has lung damage as she inhaled vomit and water during an asthma attack, and due to the damage to her lungs she has had many health complications.She also has diabetes due to the steroids she has had to take due to the lung damage and asthma, and has to sleep with a CPAP machine and mask as her lungs don’t work well when she sleeps.

  77. James Pollock October 1, 2015 at 7:03 pm #

    “I was wondering what the law itself says here on these matters”

    The answer, of course, is squishy. You are at the intersection of many different areas of law. The Controlled Substances Act determines who may, and who may not, possess various prescription medications. States can (and do) write laws about drugs that operate differently at or near schools. Then there is the question of just how much authority (and how much responsibility) a school has (or doesn’t have) with respect to individual students.

    There’s no set answer.

  78. Jane J. October 1, 2015 at 7:09 pm #

    ChicagoDad–VERY good point! Thank you! I wish administrators everywhere would read it!!!!

    And teachers–be that teacher.

  79. amy October 1, 2015 at 9:26 pm #

    Sorry, Lenore, but I think uou’re dead wrong on this one. The parents dropped the ball and endangered their daughter when they neglected to share important medical information with the adults she spends her days with. They endangered her when they put them in the situation. It is easy to sign the damn form. It’s been required at every school ever for decades. I wish I had a dollar for every time I found out mid crisis that the kid I was caring for had a condition or medication about which I should have been informed, when that information would have enabled me to quickly mitigate the situation but no……..instead I’m in a full blown crisi, which I will be blemed for by those same mind bogglingly stupid and irresponsible parents.

  80. Warren October 1, 2015 at 9:54 pm #


    You’re agree with the staff withholding the student’s medication? Please tell me you are no longer in a career, that puts you in charge of any human being. No form=no meds? You are one sick individual.

    If the student is capable of self medicating there is no reason for the school to be involved. It is that simple. Keep your hands off of other people’s prescriptions.

  81. CrazyCatLady October 1, 2015 at 10:00 pm #

    Amy and other who feel the parents let the kid down, here are the rules for medication at school for my district:

    Medication is defined as all drugs whether prescription or over-the-counter. If your health care provider has ordered medication to be taken by your child while he or she is at school, the following conditions must be met:

    The parent must submit an Oral (or Injectable) Medication Authorization Form, signed by a licensed health care provider and the parent.
    The medication must be brought to the school by the parent or legal guardian, in the original container, in an amount not to exceed a 20-day supply. The container must be labeled with the student’s name, health care provider’s name, drug name and dosage.
    Medication requests shall be valid for the current school year.

    For the safety of all students, please do not send medication of any kind to school with your student. This includes Tylenol and cough drops. If you or your student bring medication to school without the signed Oral Medication Authorization Form the staff WILL NOT BE ABLE to administer the medication. You, the parent, are always welcome to come to school to administer the medication yourself.

    Copies of the Medication Authorization Forms are available for download using the links above. Additional forms are available in the school office or health room. Contact the school secretary or school nurse if you have any questions.

    High School Students Only: Richland School District’s medication policy allows responsible high school students to carry one dose of medication with them. They must have approval from their parent, health care provider, principal, and school nurse. They must carry the single dose in the original, properly labeled bottle along with the permission form. The health care provider must check the Single Day Self-Carry box on the medication form.

    Legal References:

    RCW 28A.210.260
    Public and private schools – Administration of oral medication by – Conditions

    WAC 246-839-010

    So, these parents, took the child to the ER, possibly the night before. While at the ER, they need to have the presence of mind, before they leave, taking valuable ER room space and staff time, to first go to the district web site, find the regulations and the form, get someone to print the form and then get the doctor after another hour or so, to take the time to SIGN the form. Nope….not sure what hospital you use, but that would NOT happen at any of the ones I have been to.

    Instead, the ER staff will say to see the child’s regular doctor. Which at my clinic….that could be a wait of up to two weeks. Sure…maybe there is an urgent care they could go to. But again…that is another co-pay and probably another day out of school, which means another day out of work. Schools are all about attendance, so that the kids will do well on the tests. Being out of school extra days is not cool, and is generally frowned on.

  82. TD October 1, 2015 at 10:14 pm #

    Hello all,

    I’m the teacher who has to administer children’s meds. I do so without hesitation when paperwork and a long convo with parents is in place. Without paperwork, I do so as well. The “good Samaritan law” usually will cover me if -as hard as I try to keep the child in good health- something goes wrong.

    In this case, I’d call parents/guardians ASAP. Failing that, I’d administer and pray I’m doing the right thing. The likelihood of a child carrying medication that’s NOT intended for them is fairly low.

    I’ve also taken kids to the hospital for seizures AND. for asthma-induced conditions because parents did not provide meds. I went to the hospital and acted as the judicious parent until they arrived, carrying a puffer and feeling like crap. I didn’t judge, I just consoled the parents, who learned and changed their ways (mom learned to trust the school with her son’s puffer afterward). So, faced with a child who can’t breathe -whose heart rate is fluctuating, and is rushed by ambulance to hospital- or using meds, I’d use the meds, with or without paperwork.

    However, make no mistake: I’d get sued SOFAST for gambling like this. I’d never regret putting the health needs of the child before everything, but in all honesty, please don’t judge the school too harshly. We try to do the right thing and we have dozens -DOZENS- of meds to track and administer on a daily basis, including antipsychotics, anaphylactics, sunscreen, puffers, headache meds, digestive aids, etc. If your child needs meds, PLEASE be proactive and discuss this with the school. Your child’s health is more imprtant than their education, isn’t it? If you can sign an agenda, you can write a quick note like “my son/daughter needs a puffer, FYI” to get the meds ball rolling.

  83. Barry Lederman October 1, 2015 at 10:30 pm #

    Did the school make any effort to contact the parents?

  84. Puzzled October 1, 2015 at 10:35 pm #

    I’m really, well, puzzled, by all the references to teachers “administering meds.” Hint: there is a difference between administering a medication and simply not interfering while a 9 year old, who is a real, live human being, takes their own medications.

  85. Frank DiSalle October 2, 2015 at 12:04 am #

    I don’t see where the parents were notified. Was this done? Were they uncontactable? If the parents were not going to be home OR at a place where they could be reached, then they should have given the child a note so at least the school would be advised that she might get sick. I’m no doctor, but I’ve had asthma for years, and I didn’t know that asthma inhalers were prescribed for coughs. I never cough before I have an attack.
    The fact that so many parents treat school like Day Care, contributes a great deal to the Schools’ “Take no chances” attitude. These same parents that write no notes, aren’t home, and have no contact numbers, will come screaming into school with a lwyer if something happens to their “little darlings.”

  86. Laura October 2, 2015 at 12:06 am #


    I will agree with you and say that when a child has a medical condition that requires prescription medication, the parents should be responsible enough to contact the school and let them know about it, however, the amount of paperwork and doctor permission slips required and government regulations regarding medication (including over-the-counter meds like Tylenol or cough drops) at public schools in the US is ridiculous at this point. In the district I used to teach in, high school kids could get in-school suspension for bringing cough drops to school if they have a cold. In my state all medications (prescription or over-the-counter) that a child needs to take at school must be brought to the school by a parent, left with the school nurse, and when the child no longer needs the medication, the parent must go to the school and pick up the medication. Children (K-8) are not allowed to take the meds to or from school in their backpack or self administer any medication unless done in the health clinic with the nurse in attendance. High school students can not take the meds to school, but can bring them home themselves. They still are not allowed to take even a cough drop without it being in the school clinic and a school official present. This is state law.
    For a parent, it complicates things when your child needs an inhaler for a few days for a cough, or needs a cough drop for a cold, or your high schooler needs some ibuprofen for an occasional headache. Who wants to pay a doctor (or waste a doctor’s time) just for a permission slip for something your child can take by themselves when they need it (because they probably take it by themselves at home). Many parents don’t have the time to drop medications off at the school or pick them up everytime their kid gets a cold or a headache. If you try to keep you kids home from school you risk the school calling CPS on you and accusing you of “educational neglect” because your child didn’t have a doctor’s note for every single day of school they missed (no longer is a parent’s phone call considered an excused absence).
    So while this child may not have been having an asthma attack, clearly she had a severe cough that required an inhaler (no child should be denied an inhaler puff if they’re coughing to the point of vomiting). The school surely had the parents’ phone numbers, as well as her doctor’s name and number, on file. Did they call the parents or the doctor’s office? I’m not sure, but even if they did and couldn’t get hold of them, they could’ve let the girl use the inhaler once and then had her leave it with the nurse until the nurse could reach the parents. To not let her use the medicine at all until she threw up (and then surely had to go home for vomiting) is wrong and regulations need to be changed to keep this sort of thing from happening.

  87. Mike October 2, 2015 at 1:09 am #

    To a bureaucrat, only one thing matters: Was process followed? Results are less than irrelevant. If the girl had died, well, that’s unfortunate but was process followed? Yes? Then there is no problem.

  88. Steve October 2, 2015 at 1:44 am #

    In this internet age, I’m appalled by how many people still don’t know about EFT and that it can stop an asthma attack in minutes. This means a non-drug intervention that works is available to everyone. Pure ignorance on the part of the asthmatic and the school staff drove this episode at the school that Lenore posted.

    Re: EFT for Asthma

    Some asthmatics have gotten rid of their asthma symptoms all together using EFT.

    Asthma is emotion based.

    In research about the nocebo effect:

    ( )

    Asthmatics were exposed to saline solution but were told they were inhaling irritants. Guess what happened? “Twelve asthmatic subjects developed full-blown attacks that were relieved by the same saline solution presented therapeutically. ”

    Now, think about that! Remember it. Those asthmatics did NOT, I repeat, did not have an attack because of an irritant. The attack was brought on because the asthmatic “thought” an irritant was present. Do your homework. Google EFT for asthma symptoms.

  89. James Pollock October 2, 2015 at 2:50 am #

    “I will agree with you and say that when a child has a medical condition that requires prescription medication, the parents should be responsible enough to contact the school and let them know about it, however, the amount of paperwork and doctor permission slips required and government regulations regarding medication”

    … is ridiculous. Sure. But this isn’t a case where the parents did try to notify the school, and were turned away because they didn’t fill out the right forms. There’s no sign they did anything at all to say “Hey, school employees? The child we’re putting into your care had a medical condition serious enough that we had to seek emergency medical care, and now she has prescription medicine for it. Could you make sure she gets it if she needs it? Thanks.”

  90. sexhysteria October 2, 2015 at 3:27 am #

    Thank God we have the government to protect our childen.

  91. Donna October 2, 2015 at 7:44 am #

    “There’s no sign they did anything at all to say ‘Hey, school employees? The child we’re putting into your care had a medical condition serious enough that we had to seek emergency medical care, and now she has prescription medicine for it. Could you make sure she gets it if she needs it? Thanks.'”

    Which would be something that they should do … if they actually expected the school to do anything for their child as far as the medication. But I don’t know any parents who send their children to school with secret medication, expect the school to frisk the child to find the medication and then administer the medication properly as if it is some super fun spy game. If the parents have seen fit to give the child medication to take at school, it is usually with the belief that the child is mature enough to take the medication as directed themselves without any school intervention.

    Do you go into your boss’ office every time you are sick and announce that you now have a prescription medication that you are going to be taking during the day each day? That could get pretty embarrassing. “Boss, I was diagnosed with gonorrhea yesterday so I need to take antibiotics at noon each day. Please make sure I do that.” Of course not. Once children are able to handle their own affairs, they should both be allowed to and be allowed to keep their medical conditions private if they choose.

    The only reason that the parents were less than perfect is that I assume there is some rule about needing to fill out paperwork for an inhaler in school, There is absolutely no reason whatsoever that such a rule should exist, but it likely does and following it would have short circuited this issue.

  92. bunger October 2, 2015 at 7:58 am #

    This is so unsafe.
    One of the problems is the pharmacies who put the prescription label on the box and not on the actual medication!! Once the inhaler is taken from the box it is no longer labelled. Parents do not even think of this – especially after a weekend emergency room visit.
    Common sense is needed here – the child must be about 9 years old – if we cannot believe our nine year old’s and take their word for which medication is theirs, when they are in the middle of an obvious medical emergency, what is our world coming to. When did common sense, care and compassion take over the fear of being sued?
    Granted the parents have a responsibility for informing the school – but deal with that after the potentially life saving medication is delivered. This school board and school need to do some research on the number of deaths related to untreated asthma every year.

  93. Beth October 2, 2015 at 8:40 am #

    Steve, this is really not the appropriate place to tell us to “do our homework” and for you to pitch whatever you’re promoting. No one here is talking about their own kid with asthma and it’s not necessary for us to do our homework when we’re talking about something that’s already happened to another person. Who, obviously, should be stigmatized because they didn’t do their homework in the emergency room that night.

  94. pentamom October 2, 2015 at 9:17 am #

    Amy, there would have BEEN no “crisis” if the solution would have been as simple as, “She can use her inhaler as needed.” You’re trying to take responsibility for something that doesn’t require you to be responsible, and then complain that you weren’t informed about your responsibility.

    If you’re talking about situations where the child suffers a really potentially dangerous condition that cannot be dealt with by self-care, you have a point about making sure that the responsible adults need to be informed, and if not, the parents would have been at fault bigtime.

    The problem is, this is not that.This is a kid who was handed an inhaler, told to use it when needed, and needed to use it. That’s all it was.

  95. James Pollock October 2, 2015 at 9:43 am #

    “Which would be something that they should do … if they actually expected the school to do anything for their child as far as the medication.”

    As I understand your argument, it’s that you wouldn’t tell people who take responsibility for your child’s well-being about his and/or her medical condition, because you don’t want to tell your boss about your STI treatment. Um, OK.

    But when you don’t provide people all the information they need, they tend to make bad decisions. If you’re contributing to the lack of information, then you share the blame for the bad decision that results.

  96. Havva October 2, 2015 at 10:17 am #

    ‘amy’, allow me to tell you why my school nurse didn’t have information on my asthma. Believe me I was all prepared to tell. When I returned to middle school after serious illness, I had in my backpack 2 sample size inhalers and a signed note from my dad (who conveniently was also my doctor) explaining my condition, the scheduled use of my inhaler, and the emergency instructions for me to use my inhaler. The plan was for me to go straight to the office and give the nurse the note and one inhaler to keep in the office in case mine ran out or was lost/stolen, and for me to retain the other one to use appropriately. On the walk to school I explained my absence and my new asthma diagnosis to a friend, who despite being the most meek and rules abiding kid you could hope to know, BEGGED me not to tell the school, and never to hand over my inhaler. You see this girl was severely asthmatic, on 5 different inhalers, none of which she was allowed to carry, and she was regularly searched (despite never breaking the rules) to insure she wasn’t carrying any life saving medication for herself. Her older sister was even more asthmatic, 7 inhalers, several of them rescue inhalers, her parents fought like mad to get her older sister permission to carry the rescue inhalers, threatened to sue, had her doctors testifying to the school the urgent need that this girl not be separated from her inhalers… eventually the school realized that the girl’s dead identical twin might make it a loosing issue for them to take all of this girl’s rescue inhalers. Seeing as the identical twin had died of an asthma attack that started right in a hospital. They let her have only one of the rescue inhalers though. And they subjected her to frequent searches as well to insure she was only carrying one rescue inhaler.

    So I came home that day with both inhalers and the note still tucked away in my backpack. I told my parents about it, and I asked them what they thought. They (including my doctor/dad) thought I should have my inhaler in my backpack. They determined that was more important that I be able to treat an asthma attack before I turn blue, than that the school nurse should know why I was turning blue (after all if she couldn’t tell that sought to loose her license). … Which brings me to Dhewco’s question, which I will break into a separate post.

  97. Havva October 2, 2015 at 11:49 am #

    @Dhewco, as to the question what happens when a student rides the bus. Well the short answer is the student prays like hell that s/he doesn’t have an asthma attack on the bus or on the walk home. My friend relied on her sister as the one person in the school allowed a rescue inhaler. When her sister went to high school, my friend relied on me and my contraband inhaler. Since my asthma was a secret, I wasn’t being searched like she was.

    But she wasn’t the one who wound up needing an inhaler on the bus. It was me.

    My bus driver’s personal protocol (or sensibility) was apparently to count on the good sense of a student to have a contraband inhaler. He also had the good sense to know that we would be too scared to admit to it right off. He was right in my case. I was too weak to open my backpack, never mind use the thing, my hands were purple! But the bus driver, found the inhaler, administered it, and I was feeling relief in seconds.

    Just a guess, but had I not had an inhaler, his next move might have been to ask other students if anyone had an inhaler. And baring that, he would have had to radio for help and (in our case we were still near the school, get me to the nurse’s office or send someone to fetch the nurse). Had the attack waited until we were on the route, and had no one had an inhaler, that could have gotten interesting. The ambulances were stationed one at each station about every 6 miles. Of course the nearest station could always be empty handling another emergency. It’s a somewhat risky time. And I don’t really like to imagine what I would have gone through had my inhaler not been on me. Every second without enough air was bad. But at least on a bus surrounded by people,and with the radio, help would have been summoned. It’s not like having an attack on the walk to or from school or the bus stop.

  98. Warren October 2, 2015 at 12:27 pm #

    You know when we discuss these issues as they come up, one by one, we are not seeing the entire picture.

    1. Metal detectors in schools.
    2. Security/Police officers, sometimes armed, in schools.
    3. Random locker, and vehicle searches, sometimes with K9 units, in schools.
    4. Secure points of access in schools.
    5. Restricted movement in schools.
    6. Zero tolerance for everything in schools.
    7. Charges laid for what once was a trip to the office, detention, and facing your parents.
    8. Searches of lunches to make sure they comply.
    9. Searches and seizures of medications. Not illegal drugs, but OTC and properly prescribed medications.
    10. Hair and dress code compliance.
    11. Restrictions on transportation to and from school.
    12. Parents and visitors must go through basically security screening/checkpoints. In some cases obtain a security badge to move within the school.
    13. Security clearance/background checks to participate on school property.
    14. Security procedures must be followed to have the prisoner/student released from the facility.
    15. Lockdowns for just about any reason your imagination can come up with.
    16. Police active shooter drills.
    17. Security cameras.

    And I am sure there is more going on in the school system. Though these individual issues may seem somewhat small, when you take them all into consideration as the environment that kids are meant to be educated in. This is not education it is incarceration. Nice to know that once you hit school age in the US, you are automatically convicted and sentenced to 13 yrs without the possibility of parole.

  99. Dhewco October 2, 2015 at 1:05 pm #

    I wonder if the kid’s parents had been knowledgeable enough to teach the kid to surreptitiously (sp?) use her inhaler…or, at the very least teach her to giver herself a couple of quick shots so as to get some medicine in her before it got confiscated.

    If I had an asthmatic kid, that’s what I would teach her. I don’t have asthma, so I don’t know if there’s warning time to prepare. If there is, they could teach her to reach for the inhaler and get a couple shots off quickly.

    However, as people have noted in other cases, now that they know…the school will probably search her to make sure she doesn’t have medicine on her.

    I just don’t get this fear of OTC or prescription medicines. It’s illogical to me. How is my tylenol supposed to be risky? If there’s allergies, don’t kids get taught not to use those medicines? Are we saying kids are too stupid to be taught when something’s dangerous? Or do they not believe their doctors and parents? Or are we saying they’re so self-absorbed that they don’t stop to think about what’s in a pill? What are these laws/rules saying about our kids?

    I’m sure I could google this and find cases of kids getting OTC medication and being sick (maybe fatally). I’m too lazy for that, lol. Do any of these rules exist in less litigious societies? Do the Germans or the Italians restrict OTC medications? A school’s job isn’t to save kids from their parents’ stupidity or that of the kids. It’s to educate and prepare them for entering the adult world.

    I’m waiting for Colleges to start being sued because of stuff like this. Can you imagine a state college requiring their thousands of students to register their medicines? That would almost be funny. “Hey, my 19yo son accidently took his roommates’ aspirin and he was allergic. Georgia Tech should have known. Give me recompense! The state of Georgia owes me!” Hah.

  100. BL October 2, 2015 at 1:12 pm #

    “You know when we discuss these issues as they come up, one by one, we are not seeing the entire picture.”

    At least in my experience, with the exception of 10 and 11, this is all quite recent. Big-city schools may have been more restrictive – I remember hearing of things called “hall passes”.

    10. We had some sort of vague dress code, very loosely enforced.

    11. Only HS seniors could drive their own cars to school.

  101. Donna October 2, 2015 at 1:21 pm #


    No, I am saying that my child’s school is no more responsible for administering my child’s medication than my boss is mine. I am also saying that my child’s school has no more right to know my child’s medical history than my boss has mine. There are certainly things that I may decide to reveal to both my child’s teacher and my boss, but the vast majority of our medical history should be able to remain private if we choose.

    If I send my child to school with medication, I am not asking the school to do anything other than not stop her from taking said medication. I am not asking for them to supervise her taking of medication. I am not asking them to remind her to take her medication. I am not asking them to make sure that she takes her medication correctly. I am asking for nothing from them at all.

    “But when you don’t provide people all the information they need, they tend to make bad decisions.”

    Why do you think that the school needs to make any decision at all about my child’s medication? There are, again, certainly things that I would bring up that I believe that the school needs to be aware. Anything that impacted learning. An allergy that causes an anaphylatic reaction. Asthma or other things that may lead to an emergency situation. But the vast majority of our medical care is really not pertinent to our schooling.

    “people who take responsibility for your child’s well-being”

    I haven’t asked the school to take responsibility for my child’s general well-being by sending her to school. Outside of calling 911 in the case of an emergency (something I expect from every human being) I actually don’t expect them to be responsible for her health beyond controlling the environment around her as best they can to make it not be a risk to her health. I certainly don’t expect them to overrule her doctor on when medication is needed or my opinion that she is fine to take said medication on her own.

  102. Red October 2, 2015 at 1:36 pm #

    I also have to say something about the whole “it only takes 15 minutes” to fill out a form. My kid is lactose intolerant, has been since he was a toddler. At his previous school, we put it on his record by simply filling out the form and he was provided alternate options whenever he bought lunch at school.

    At his current school, I filled out the form and turned it in. I didn’t hear anything more about it from the school. A while later, there was a day when a problem happened with my son’s brought-from-home lunch (his applesauce exploded all over everything and drenched his sandwich). All the school options for the day were drowned in cheese (that was why he had brought a lunch from home that day).

    He told the school that he couldn’t eat anything unless they were able to remove the cheese and everything just blew up. The school nurse called me and demanded to know why it wasn’t on his record that he couldn’t have milk/milk products.

    I scratched my head and said that I put in on his paperwork and turned in the form.

    She responded that even with the form (which did not say anything about this) they won’t put anything in his records about him being lactose intolerant without a note from his doctor.

    I told her that they also had a copy of his medical form on which the doctor had written that he was lactose intolerant.

    She looked and told me that the date on the medical form was more than a year prior (it was about a year and a few months old), thus she still could not put in his records that he was lactose intolerant. I had to get him another appointment with his doctor and get a new note saying he was lactose intolerant. I have to get a new note about it every year. I also have to sync up his appointments with the school year, so that note doesn’t go out-of-date while he’s in school for the year. This is more than just 15 minutes of work.

    Lactose intolerance doesn’t magically go away. It’s also not a disease which needs to be monitored and managed through yearly appointments with a doctor.

    Luckily, it also isn’t something that is going to kill my kid. After the mess above, I told him that if this ever happened again, to eat around whatever had the dairy as best he can, and throw out the rest of the food. I also packed some additional packaged snacks in his backpack so he won’t starve if this happens again.

    (The other thing the nurse told me is that marking him lactose intolerant would only get him a milk alternative. It still wouldn’t give him the option to have a lunch not drowned in cheese if all lunch options were drowned in cheese.)

  103. Warren October 2, 2015 at 1:59 pm #


    Hall passes? I thought those only existed in movies and tv. Never seen a school, mine or my kids that used hall passes.

    The only time we ever saw a locker search was when one student was arrested on the weekend for dealing in pot. So, after he was arrested the police also searched his locker for more evidence. Which is understandable. But there was never any random or other searches.

    As for dress codes, there may have been one, but it was never enforced. Guess the school was just happy to have butts in the seat.

    And there was never any of this hand over your medication crap. Hell we didn’t even have a school nurse. No wonder the education system is going downhill. All the wasted budget on things like school nurses. And yes school nurses are waste, as they really can’t or won’t do anything more than basic first aid while waiting for paramedics. Something our phys ed teachers were all designated to do.

  104. Dhewco October 2, 2015 at 2:14 pm #


    My school had hall passes, at times. Not in high school, but in middle and the later elementary grades (we started changing classes in the 4th grade and that’s when they started doing the hall passes). Of course, this was the 80’s and the hall pass often doubled as the paddle.

  105. James Pollock October 2, 2015 at 2:15 pm #

    “If I send my child to school with medication, I am not asking the school to do anything other than not stop her from taking said medication”
    That’s a reasonable request. But, I don’t see anywhere in this story where this request was made.

    “Why do you think that the school needs to make any decision at all about my child’s medication?”
    Because they are responsible for your child’s health, safety, and well-being during the time she is at school.

    ” I certainly don’t expect them to overrule her doctor on when medication is needed or my opinion that she is fine to take said medication on her own.”
    They didn’t have either of these pieces of information to act on, however. They had nothing from any doctor saying this child needed any medication (much less a specific notice that this child’s doctor had prescribed this particular medication) and they didn’t have anything that said that the parents had authorized the child to determine if, and when, it was needed.

    See how this fits my thesis? The parents didn’t provide the school with information needed in order to make the proper decision, which contributed to the poor decision that was reached.

  106. Red October 2, 2015 at 2:40 pm #

    I’m also going to leave this here:

    “The attendance of every child at every public school in the state shall be conditioned upon the presentation before or on each child’s first day of attendance at a particular school of a medication or treatment order addressing any life-threatening health condition that the child has that may require medical services to be performed at the school. Once such an order has been presented, the child shall be allowed to attend school.”

    Our school has sent home multiple letters this school year informing parents that if their child has a health condition like asthma which has not been reported to the school and is subsequently discovered by the school, the child will be forbidden from going to school until a health plan is in place. Which means that some of the solutions suggested here, such as teaching your child to manage his or her own inhaler and not telling the school about the condition, are now illegal in Washington state.

  107. Megan October 2, 2015 at 2:51 pm #

    To Steve: “Asthma is emotion based.” This is the kind of bullshit my mother lay on me when I was gasping for air (for seven years) because she couldn’t/ wouldn’t get rid of the cat I was allergic to. This nonsense has another name–blaming the victim–and this, as well as belittling the problem of asthma (including by doctors) and waiting for kids to “outgrow” regular near misses with asphyxiation was, as far as I can tell, the norm in the 1970s. Unfortunately, despite the sympathy toward asthma sufferers in most of these comments, there is still too much neglect of asthma, as I know of multiple, seemingly loving parents today who keep cats in their homes despite having children who are allergic to them. Wonderful. My point is that, regardless of what schools do, there is still a huge dearth of empathy for asthmatics on the part of many people, a lot of them parents of sufferers, and the horseshit that “asthma is emotion based” encourages that insensitivity. Thanks. If it were all in my head, my asthma wouldn’t have improved immeasurably when I got off gluten……On another note, Fred Schueler: What’s the name of the mom & pop research institute you run?

  108. Suzy October 2, 2015 at 4:10 pm #

    My son also has asthma and the school has said he needs to have his inhaler at the nurse’s office for her to let him use when he needs it. But when he needs it, he needs it right then, not after a trip to the nurse’s office. He keeps an inhaler in his backpack so that he has it with him when he needs it. He knows his asthma and he knows best when he needs his inhaler. These policies are ridiculous and can be extremely harmful for our children.

  109. Steve October 2, 2015 at 4:21 pm #


    I find it fascinating that your response (as an asthmatic) to my “new, potentially life-saving information” which could actually lead to “your” ability to control your own asthma, was not: “Thanks, I hadn’t heard about this great possibility with EFT. I’ll check it out. Maybe this is THE answer I’ve been looking for. It’s time for me to step up and take care of the condition I’ve had to live with all my life. I am tired of being a victim.”

    I provided 2 links that could easily allow anyone to begin researching this subject. And those websites are not mine. I have to wonder about the real motives of asthmatics who don’t want to learn new information that could lead to getting fast relief from asthma symptoms.

    Your response, Megan, was so cool, calm and collected, you certainly proved you’re not an asthmatic being ruled by your negative emotions. I still wonder why anyone with asthma would “avoid” learning a new technique “for free” that could relieve asthma symptoms. Strange.

    The technique I mentioned is one I’ve used with an asthmatic and it did relieve her symptoms within minutes. My wife has also used the process to erase her allergies. Just because an ailment is emotion-based does not mean it’s easy to control. Many peoples emotions are NOT easy to control. You know that.

    You said, “If it were all in my head, my asthma wouldn’t have improved immeasurably when I got off gluten.”

    Well, didn’t you “believe” that if you got off gluten your allergies would improve? And they did? A lot of people take sugar pills and their “condition” improves, even if they know the pill is only a sugar pill. “Belief” and emotion has a lot to do with how our bodies respond. There are many references in medical literature to stress being the cause of physical ailments. And stress is negative emotion.

  110. lollipoplover October 2, 2015 at 5:09 pm #

    I had the pleasure of serving jury duty today and was seated next to an elementary school principal and discussing these policies of *safety*. He spoke of his genuine concern of parents not getting their children the medical help they need (and he’s in an upper-middle class district) for conditions like asthma and allergies. He makes countless calls to parents on behalf of their teachers and the nurse to get them doctor treatment and medication because a lot of parents don’t. He says his nurse is on top of things and a contraband inhaler is the least of her worries.

    I also just signed my daughter up for middle school sport. I had to fill out an online questionnaire/waiver asking if she ever had a neck x-ray and how many menstrual periods as well as every possible medical/allergy/thirdnipple scenario that could ever occur in a 7th grader. The sport also required doctor’s forms (6 pages) and certify that she meets the 100-point checklist to play basketball.
    When I was in middle school, you showed up after school and were shown the box of sticks or balls and given your choice of smelly old uniforms.

  111. Jessica October 2, 2015 at 5:44 pm #

    @Red, that is insane. If it’s a chronic condition, why on earth would you have to remind them of it anew? My son is allergic to milk and eggs and may or may not grow out of them. He’s also color blind, something that will never change. The idea that I would have to get a doctor’s note every year simply to remind them that he has these conditions makes me irate, and he’s not even in school. Dairy allergies and lactose intolerance are not uncommon and there should always be options that don’t include the most common allergens (yes, I’m biased, but it’s frustrating that people in these positions are willfully blind to these facts).

  112. Red October 2, 2015 at 6:18 pm #

    @Jessica: it’s gotten especially bad this year. Apparently last year he could get a hamburger without cheese when the menu listed “cheeseburger” but he says that this year everything is coming pre-packaged and there are no hamburgers without cheese.

    I just pulled the menu down (he marks it up so he knows what days he needs to make a lunch) and over half the days of the month have no dairy-free entree option. For example, next week Monday is A. Cheesesticks with Marinara or B. Cheese Ravioli with Marinara. Next day is A. Beef Nachos (he says they come with the cheese on, or B. Bean & Cheese Burrito. Then another day where it’s A. Beef & Cheese Burrito or B. Cheesy Quesadilla.

    And available daily: a yogurt and muffin!

    Really, looking closely at this menu … it’s actually just kind of gross 🙁 His previous school usually had a C. entree option which didn’t include cheese or dairy (and since that district had quite a few kids keeping kosher, the cheese didn’t go on most other entrees until the kid asked for it).

  113. Dhewco October 2, 2015 at 6:39 pm #

    Not apropo of anything, but I thank the heavens that I never developed a intolerence of Lactose. I would be miserable without cheese. It’s bad enough that I have to have diet everything because of diabetes, but to have to have sandwiches without cheese, no mac’n cheese, or tacos…well, I’d cry.

  114. julie5050 October 2, 2015 at 6:42 pm #

    I am taking a break from teaching after 23 years. However, the nurse at our school did not want to keep inhalers or epipens in her office. She didnt care what “district protocol was. She felt the last thing a kid who was having an attack breathing needed to do was walk to her office. We were to make the child comfortable and call her to come to the room. If the kid was capable of “dosing” his/her self allow them to. We were all trained on how to use epipens

    Rg–you probably know this but a lot of the product food schools order in use fish sauce as flavoring which can contain oyster….it is in a lot of steak sauces too

  115. Donna October 2, 2015 at 6:49 pm #

    ““If I send my child to school with medication, I am not asking the school to do anything other than not stop her from taking said medication”

    “That’s a reasonable request. But, I don’t see anywhere in this story where this request was made.”

    Despite my failure to announce my headache and request that nobody stop me, my medication was not wrestled from my hands by deputies when I took it in court today. See, that is the way it works. The request to be left to ourselves is implied in the not asking for help.

    Your argument is akin to the people who insist that they are required to babysit because we sent our children to the park alone.

    “See how this fits my thesis? The parents didn’t provide the school with information needed in order to make the proper decision, which contributed to the poor decision that was reached.”

    Your thesis is based on the faulty premise that the school has any place whatsoever to make any decision in this situation. No previous generation has believed this. Previous generations didn’t have to check prescriptions into the office, inform anyone they had them or request to be left alone. They simply brought them to school and took them. Nobody took them out of our hands and held the while we puked because we failed to tell them beforehand that we were bringing them.

  116. James Pollock October 2, 2015 at 7:08 pm #

    “Despite my failure to announce my headache and request that nobody stop me, my medication was not wrestled from my hands by deputies when I took it in court today”

    Gee… almost like the rules for a workplace (even court) and the rules for a school are different, or something.

    “Your thesis is based on the faulty premise that the school has any place whatsoever to make any decision in this situation.”
    Welcome to the real world.

    “Previous generations didn’t have to check prescriptions into the office, inform anyone they had them or request to be left alone.”
    I consider mine to be a “previous generation” (my daughter has friends with children), and we certainly did. The “war on drugs” is a couple of generations old, now. We had Nancy telling us to “Just say ‘no’!” and, yes, zero tolerance policies in schools (with about the same effectiveness then as now.)

  117. The other Mandy October 2, 2015 at 7:21 pm #

    I have asthma that only acts up when I’m sick or in the presence of an allergen. The first symptom is coughing, which can go from annoying to really scary very quickly. Once when I was on a foreign trip, I had an attack and when the inhaler didn’t help, I took out my epipen. I couldn’t do it because I was shaking so badly, and the people helping me accidentally set off the epipen into the air. Fortunately they quickly got me to a hospital. I later found out that it was even more dangerous than I had realized.

    For a kid to not have access to her inhaler for the sake of rules is ridiculous. For the adults to actively prevent her from using it while they watch her cough and gasp is sick, disturbing, and should not be tolerated. I hope her family sues.

  118. Beth October 2, 2015 at 7:41 pm #

    Donna hit the nail on the head, and it’s probably worth a whole separate discussion, when she said ” I am also saying that my child’s school has no more right to know my child’s medical history…” Doesn’t the HIPAA Privacy Rule apply to kids? It doesn’t seem like the school should have any right to health information about kids who can take care of themselves, much less requiring them further give up their health privacy by parents having to jump through so many hoops.

  119. Jenny Islander October 2, 2015 at 8:21 pm #

    Oh someone just did NOT pull that “Get your emotions right and you won’t have this potentially life-threatening respiratory condition anymore! :D” nonsense out and wave it around!

    Yes, because my tiny child who couldn’t even read a list of ingredients believed herself into life-threatening attacks of environmental asthma and believed herself right out again when we isolated the environmental trigger–one particular petroleum-derived food colorant–and removed it from her environment.

  120. James Pollock October 2, 2015 at 8:29 pm #

    “Doesn’t the HIPAA Privacy Rule apply to kids?”
    Sure does.

    45 CFR 164.506(c)(4) does, too.

  121. pentamom October 2, 2015 at 8:58 pm #

    “Gee… almost like the rules for a workplace (even court) and the rules for a school are different, or something.”

    Gee, it’s almost like that snarky tone implies that you’ve given a real reason why they should be.

  122. hineata October 2, 2015 at 9:13 pm #

    @Steve – asthma is an immune system disorder. If an irritant is present an asthmatic will have an asthma attack. Some ridiculous treatment for the emotions is not going to prevent a bodily response to an irritant, so please stop peddling this rubbish.

    @Jenny – yes, isn’t it amazing how our wee, often pre-speech infants somehow have the subconscious emotional control to send themselves into asthma attacks in the presence of a few things that irritate their systems. ..Maybe we’re raising geniuses! ☺☺

  123. James Pollock October 2, 2015 at 9:37 pm #

    “Gee, it’s almost like that snarky tone implies that you’ve given a real reason why they should be.”

    Children are different from adults? Is this news to you?

  124. Donna October 2, 2015 at 10:19 pm #

    “Children are different from adults?”

    How exactly does being under the age of 18 make you incompetent to responsibly swallow a substance or breathe into an inhaler without adult supervision? Hey, I’m not judging if it took you that long to be able to master these skills, but the rest of the population should not be held to your standards. Most of the rest of us manage to achieve this great feat somewhere in elementary school. Once those skills are mastered “children are different than adults” ceases to be a real reason for treating them differently.

  125. James Pollock October 2, 2015 at 10:31 pm #

    “How exactly does being under the age of 18 make you incompetent to responsibly swallow a substance or breathe into an inhaler without adult supervision?”

    I don’t know? Enlighten me.

  126. CrazyCatLady October 3, 2015 at 12:21 am #

    Steve, here is what stood out to me about your emotions based asthma treatment:

    ” You can control your asthma and avoid an attack by taking your medicine as prescribed and avoiding the triggers that can cause an attack. It’s just as important that you remove the triggers in your environment that you know make your asthma worse.”

    Key words: Take your medication as prescribed. Just like this little girl was trying to do. Sure, emotions can make asthma worse…my son has had several attacks when he had viral infections (trigger) and took acetaminophen (trigger). When he can’t breath and thinks he is going to die, it does make him move into panic mode and makes things worse. But….it was not the panic that got him there in the first place. It was waking up in the middle of the night (always) not able to breath. THEN he panics.

    He does not have an inhaler and hasn’t had an attack since we removed the acetaminophen from the house. My son is not my friend’s daughter who can’t visit because of our cats and dogs. (Only comes over in the summer when she can be outside.) She also has asthma attacks when she gets sick. As she is around other people at school, church, grocery shopping, doing her plays….can’t avoid that very well. She takes her medication as prescribed.

  127. Elaine October 3, 2015 at 3:22 am #

    @Steve, your views about asthma are so wrong I don’t know where to start. Asthma is not caused by emotional problems. TWELVE people thought their asthma improved after taking a saline solution. So what does that prove? Were they given a reversiblity test to prove their asthma wasn’t psychological? Or were they picked because they had psychological problems?

    I use to volunteer for clinical trials and a few involved using fake inhalers, always under medical supervision. We could always tell which were the fakes (after use) because the results of our lung function tests were very different. Those trials were done properly over a period of time, at different locations and with a number of properly selected subjects. The inhalers were prepared at a separate location and nobody involved in the trial knew which were the fakes (a real double-blind test). Can you say the same about your tests? The only reason I no longer participate is because my asthma is now very stable, a result of finding a preventive that works very well for me.

    Parents, don’t be afraid to buck authority, fight for your children. Childhood asthma can be very volatile and it is imperative that their inhalers are with them. Also, trust your children to take care of themselves. My mother made me take charge of my inhaler at 7 because she knew she couldn’t be with me all the time.

  128. Dhewco October 3, 2015 at 6:41 am #

    Wow, James. You’re trolling harder than usual. I used to see you as the good guy in the whole Warren-James rivalry, but you’ve flipped. The snarkiness is unproductive and uncalled for. Are you frustrated more than usual?

  129. James Pollock October 3, 2015 at 8:31 am #

    “Are you frustrated more than usual?”
    Not that I’m aware of. What am I (apparently) frustrated BY?

  130. pentamom October 3, 2015 at 8:53 am #

    Yes, children are different from adults. I’m not one of those people who has a problem with that concept, though you will find them occasionally commenting here.

    Now explain why that fact is relevant to this particular point.

    The mere fact that children are different from adults does not justify any rule we can come up with. In fact, the mere fact, doesn’t justify any rule at all. There ought to be some specific way in which they are different, that pertains to the actual situation about which the rule is being made, to justify the rule.

  131. Warren October 3, 2015 at 10:36 am #

    Dhweco, I believe James is attempting to bait me specifically, but failing. So now he is trolling for anyone to go at.

  132. James Pollock October 3, 2015 at 11:12 am #

    “The mere fact that children are different from adults does not justify any rule we can come up with.”
    Never claimed it did.
    Did claim that intentionally withholding information (for whatever reason(s)) means that you share some culpability in bad decisions reached because someone was missing that information. You wanna talk about that, or keep on about this? If the latter, leave me out of it.

  133. Papilio October 3, 2015 at 3:16 pm #

    Can the people who choose to feed the troll please clearly address their comment(s) to said troll, so the rest of us can easily skip those comments?
    Thank you in advance.

  134. James Pollock October 3, 2015 at 6:10 pm #

    Papilio: If you insist.

  135. Joel Arbic October 4, 2015 at 4:22 am #

    Insane. What kind of liability would they have if the girl had been hospitalized or even worse from withholding the inhaler. We have really lost all common sense in this country.

  136. J.T. Wenting October 4, 2015 at 10:46 am #

    “Insane. What kind of liability would they have if the girl had been hospitalized or even worse from withholding the inhaler. We have really lost all common sense in this country.”

    None. The parents no doubt have to sign all kind of waivers protecting the school from any liability for anything that happens to the children during school hours, including death, even if the event is a direct result of actions by the school staff.

  137. EricS October 5, 2015 at 10:33 am #

    Bahahaha! Educators = Stupid smart people. If I were the parents, I’d sue the school. The stupidity they displayed in compromising the girl’s well-being cannot be looked passed. They took the inhaler away (that could have solved all the problems) because they were afraid something might happen to the girl, and they didn’t want to be liable. Guess what, by not being smart, they put the girl’s life in jeopardy anyway. She was sent to the ER. You can’t get more troubled than that. So sue them anyway. If suing schools got them this stupid, maybe suing them will make them start actually using common sense when dealing with issues. Not just some stupid guidelines made in haste.

    Funny, their “worse case” thinking has bled into the actual health of children. They are now gambling with actual medical conditions. In an emergency situation, use the damned inhaler. Deal with anything else that MIGHT come up later. Better than a child dying because you didn’t help.

  138. Megan October 6, 2015 at 3:10 am #


    Actually, I got off gluten for an entirely different reason. (My acupuncturist recommended I go gluten-free,not an allergist.) I was not expecting to get off the inhalers I’d been on since age 11, so it was a pleasant surprise when that was the most significant effect of cutting out gluten. So there was no placebo effect here. Sorry. You’ll have to readjust your callousness.

  139. Jennifer Scheller October 8, 2015 at 5:44 am #

    I just ran into this yesterday, I brought my daughter’s prescription albuterol with her name on it as well as a doctors note telling when and how much to give her. My daughter had trouble breathing during gym class and she went to the nurse to get her prescribed medication. The nurse refused to give her the inhaler because they lost the doctor’s note.when she came home she was wheezing and throwing up.I called the school to ask why my child was not given her meds and thet tried to tell me I never gave them the doctor’s note. I then asked why they did not call me and was told that she did not have the authorization to call me. My daughter is fine now no thanks to that idiot. I am headed to her school this morning to lay down the law.

  140. BL October 8, 2015 at 8:43 am #

    “I called the school to ask why my child was not given her meds and thet tried to tell me I never gave them the doctor’s note. I then asked why they did not call me and was told that she did not have the authorization to call me.”

    Are these people running a school or playing a game of Simon Says?

    Simon didn’t say give her meds.

    Simon didn’t say call her parents.


  141. Warren October 8, 2015 at 10:47 am #


    I wonder. Has anyone ever tried calling CPS and reporting the school? Let’s face it. If the school is trying to say they are the parent during school hours, then they should be held responsible, and if you were to be caught withholding your daughter’s medication like that, I’m sure CPS would be all over you.

  142. Havva October 8, 2015 at 11:56 am #

    Oh Jennifer Scheller, that is appalling.
    Please report the nurse to your state board of nursing.
    You should be able to find it on this list.

    I get that school regulations put paperwork above children and force, or at least empower, the nurses to practice cruelty on the students. But I don’t see what rule or regulation could have possible allowed her, never mind compelled her, to send your daughter away untreated (!!!) in the middle of a life threatening medical emergency.

    I certainly hope that the school administration, and school board, is appalled and takes immediate disciplinary action. I hope none of them were aware (never mind involved) in what happened to you daughter. And, though I know we all consider this a life ruining, nuclear option. I also think that a call to CPS (or any agency responsible for inspecting the school for safety etc) could be in order here, particularly if it extends beyond the nurse, or the administrators are hostile to the concept of correcting the obvious health and safety deficiencies in their practices. What the school nurse did was both abuse and medical neglect, and it had a non-negligible potential for a fatal outcome. And, while possibly less serious, think other parents have right to know how many other medications have not been administered this school year, without the parent being told, because “she did not have the authorization to call” a parent or guardian.

    I also don’t buy that lack of authorization for a second. My daughter’s preschool won’t even send the kids to the playground without the teachers carrying a set of emergency contact cards for the class. And of course the teachers are intended to use those cards. They contact me immediately about bumps, scrapes, and bruises. And they sure as hell contacted me when she had an emergency that required me to bring and administer a medication (the ER doctor didn’t fill out medical forms we didn’t even have, or think of, at 4am that morning). My daughter’s school has, on multiple occasions, explained the difference between what they legally can do (limited and loaded with red tape), and what a parent legally can do (just about anything, including administering medication contrary to labeling, and performing “invasive” medical procedures). The school is quick to get a parent on hand if what should be done, and what the school can do, differs in any way. They even hold some supplies for me that they can’t legally use. That is taking care of children while maintaining strict compliance. What the school nurse did to your daughter was just neglect and dereliction of duty…. and I hope your daughter will be able to carry an inhaler of her own from now on.

  143. rJchEQlViyUxwFp October 11, 2015 at 10:04 pm #

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