Common sense is dead. Litigiousness was one of its greatest assailants. As a result, those in positions of authority have found themselves painted into a corner.
In the interest of full disclosure, I begin announcing this week's winner by sharing with you that one of my remarkable kids has severe multiple allergies as well as asthma. Few things are as alarming as seeing your child having difficulty breathing. It ranks right up there with seizures, vomiting, and severe frank bleeding.
That being said, I have to wonder here what was going through the heads of the adults in charge of a 9 year old girl in Utah this past week. It seems this young student had recently visited the emergency room over the weekend for severe coughing and was prescribed an inhaler to manage the problem. When she returned to school during the week, and had another coughing spell, she pulled out her inhaler in class. The teacher promptly sent her to the principal's office where the prescription was confiscated. As a result, the girl coughed to a point where she vomited on her pants.
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In my estimation, there is enough blame to go around with every adult in this child's life.
In a perfect world, teachers would be so well-acquainted with their students that they would have no fear of them abusing medication that was not actually prescribed to them. Schools and parents would be in such good communication with each other that the school staff would know that the student is coming to school with a new medication. Educators would not live in fear of being sued by parents for allowing their child to take medication that could belong to another student. Everyone would work as a team and the child's best interest would be first and foremost in the minds of both parents and schools alike.
Sadly, our world today is the exact opposite of this "perfect world" scenario. Stories like this one are the fruit of that systemic dysfunction. Clearly, the parents neither notified the school of their daughter's new medication nor did they fill out the proper paperwork for her to use this inhaler at school. At the same time, the school was merciless in the way that they treated this young girl, who was obviously in need of help.
Somewhere in between, there must be a place where common sense can be resurrected. Where can we begin? Start with building a positive relationship and communication with your child's school.
~ Barb Dittrich
9-year-old girl denied inhaler during coughing fit at school, per Jordan District policy