12-year-old girl suspended because she lent her inhaler to a gasping classmate

A 12-year-old honor student from Texas got suspended from school for giving her asthama inhaler to another girl who was wheezing and gasping in gym class. She could also be tranferred to an "alternative school" for up to 30 days. The girl told Fox 4 News she feels the punishment is not fair. “I was just trying to save her life. I didn't think I was trying to do anything bad,” she said.

The district says 30 days at alternative school is an initial automatic punishment for sharing a controlled substance including prescription drugs like inhalers - until there's a hearing to weigh all the facts. The final punishment could change and range from no days to the maximum of 30 days.

First, albuterol is not a controlled substance. Second where was the teacher or coach and why didn't they do anything to help the girl who was wheezing and gasping?


Notable Replies

  1. Remember that scene from Man of Steel where young Clark Kent saves a bus full of children and his dad gives him a lecture about how that was a bad thing to do? And every audience member said "what the fuck, Pa Kent?"

    That's the world we live in.

  2. I had a history teacher who would respond this way whenever anyone told her they had a headache:

    "Well I'm sorry I can't give you the aspirin that's IN THE UPPER RIGHT HAND CORNER DRAWER OF MY DESK. I've just realized I need to go to the main office for a minute. I expect all of you to stay quietly in your seats. No one should look IN THE UPPER RIGHT HAND CORNER OF MY DESK, and if they do they shouldn't TAKE THE ASPIRIN I'VE GOT IN THERE."

    Sadly that teacher is no longer with us. She should be running the school where this girl is a student.

  3. Albuterol is a controlled substance in the US, as are all prescription drugs. They just don't fall under Schedule I which are the ones everyone gets really upset about. But are one of the lower schedules.

    Has anyone come up with a decent explanation why modern organizations have become so Kafkaesque? The response is still totally extreme.

  4. I understand why schools don't want students sharing inhalers as a general rule. There's a disease transmission issue as well as the potential for someone to experience negative side-effects due to allergies, interactions between medications (my puffers sometimes cause headaches, a known side-effect of using those two medications together), or other variables. You also don't really want to give a steroid or a bronchodilator to someone who doesn't actually need it.

    That being said, there is a time to apply the rules against sharing medication and an emergency situation is very obviously not the right time. This is especially true for students who are certainly insulated by Good Samaritan laws. I can understand a teacher maybe getting a mild reprimand for breaking procedure in an emergency because of liability concerns. I've had some first aid training and one of the things which was made clear to us from day one is that protecting life comes before everything else. You can break someone's ribs to keep their blood pumping. You can risk paralysis in a spinal injury victim by moving them if it means you get them breathing. The only reason to not help someone who would otherwise die is if there would be a severe risk to your person by helping them (if they are in an electrified pool of water, for example).

    If I'm off the clock (and therefore covered by those same Good Samaritan laws), you're damn right I'll give the person an aspirin if they're having a heart attack or a dose of my puffer if they are having an asthma attack (though with caveats and barrier devices and only if they have no medication of their own available), no matter what the official standard of care is for someone of my training. Anything that I know to do and know how to do, I will do, if I think it will do more good than harm in a life or death situation. On the clock, where I can get my pants sued off if I deviate from "standard of care" and something goes wrong, I'm going to be a little more careful about breaking the rules. Of course, trying to save the person will always take precedence.

  5. Whatever happened to learning experiences? This is a perfect time to set the kid aside and say, "it's great that it worked out this time, but it's important that you don't do that again because you never know if your medication could have an adverse effect on someone else." And then provide effective strategies for dealing with the situation, such as making sure an adult is present and trained to respond to basic medical issues at all times.

    It seems like the news is too full of stories about schools that go from zero to suspension or even expulsion for first, often ignorant offenses.

Continue the discussion bbs.boingboing.net

104 more replies