Education law that pertains to student safety historically focused on acts of violence that cause serious injuries or in the cases of Columbine and Sandy Hook, numerous deaths. However, over the past 10 years, the prescription of potentially harmful medications has taken front stage in the formulation of school safety law.
The legal questions in regards to school medications include the following:
From the treatment of diabetes to the management of ADHD symptoms, prescription drugs are a common school safety issue that just 20 years ago, did not appear on a school teacher’s or administrator’s radar. ADHD drugs have received the most legal scrutiny, as a growing number of parents and educators rail against the long term health implications of children taking powerful methamphetamines. Courts have issued a wide range of legal edicts that concern AHD and other prescription medications that counterbalance alleged mental shortcomings. However, states have passed laws that allow schools and school districts to determine student prescription medication safety policies. Some states allow school administrators to monitor drug dosage, while other states mandate that a state-licensed nurse must administer prescription medications.
Despite public pressure to implement uniform national student medication laws, the federal government has mostly refused to pass and implement policies that create legal precedents for courts to follow. Landmark legislation such as the Rehabilitation Act and Disabilities Education Act do not specifically mention self-administration medication regulations. States have passed a wide variety of laws for setting and enforcing self-administration medication regulations. State regulations include comprehensive language in regards to students with acute cases of asthma that need to carry inhalers throughout the school day. Yet, many states have not implemented public policy regulations in regards to students self-administering drugs such as Ritalin and Adderall.
Another hot legal topic is the growing controversy that surrounds school mandated student vaccinations. Some parents argue that school administered vaccinations take the decision for vaccinating students out of their hands. Although states have passed different student vaccination laws, the prevalent legal theme is that daycare, pre-kindergarten, and kindergarten students must demonstrate proof of receiving shots for polio, mumps, measles, hepatitis, tetanus, diphtheria, and rubella. Students who reach the age of 11 and want to enter the sixth grade must show paperwork confirming the administration of the vaccinations, as well as proof of receiving the shot for meningitis.
Some states allow vaccination exemptions for children that claim medical, religious, and/or philosophical reasons for not taking state mandated student vaccinations. However, the risk of contracting a rapidly growing number of new illnesses has forced states that allow vaccination exemptions to reconsider their legal positions.
Education law and school medications should remain a prominent legal topic for educations attorneys to litigate. We strongly encourage parents that have concerns about school drug administration policies to contact our California law firm to receive expert legal advice from one of our licensed education law attorneys. We offer a free initial consultation to set the legal wheels in motion for your student medication case.