I'm not going to attempt to justify or berate the nurse's actions, since we don't really know what happened. But for those unfamiliar with school procedures, I'll explain the normal routine for meds at school:
Requirements vary by state law and district policy, but for the most part, for a student to receive medication at school, the medication must be necessary for school attendance and must be required during normal school hours. (For example, if a routine medication can be given at home outside of school hours, it will not be accepted at school.)
For school personnel to administer meds at school, there must be a written physician order AND signed parental consent. One or the other doesn't cut it. The medication must be provided to the school in it's original container, with the original label clearly displaying the student's name. Bringing in pills in a baggie, a prescription vial with someone else's name, or an unlabeled inhaler is unacceptable. Just as nurses don't administer unprescribed medication in a hospital or clinic, neither can nurses in a school setting.
Most states have laws allowing for the self-carrying and self-administration of emergency medications (usually inhalers or epi-pens) by students who are documented to have the knowledge and awareness of safety to do so. This requires physician documentation, parental consent and the agreement of the nurse that the student meets the criteria. This is usually appropriate for older grade school students (4 or 5th grade and up) and teenagers. If a student violates the safety rules attached to self-carrying a medication, such as allowing other students to play with the medication, it is removed from the child's posession and goes under lock and key.
Some kids carry inhalers without consent and without the school's knowledge because their parents don't want to be bothered with filling out the necessary paerwork. We all know this, and do our best to get these kids into compliance by implementing self-carry paperwork. I don't confiscate inhalers, period, but will raise holy he** when I find them being used without authorization. These are the parents that refuse to be bothered by providing us with the necessary information we need to assist their children safely in school, but they will also be the first to sue when their child suffers because s/he hid in the locker room and ineffectively self-administered an empty, expired inhaler.
Lastly, some states and districts have emergency protocols, signed by physicians that allow school personnel to administer asthma and allergy drugs while awaiting 911 in the event of a severe, presumed asthma attack or anaphylactic reaction. This is the best of all worlds, because it allows school nurses and personnel to do what is right, even if the parents haven't bothered to.
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