sons school nurse keeps epi-pens, not in class room

Posted on: Tue, 03/05/2002 - 6:03am
maryann221's picture
Joined: 08/20/2001 - 09:00

I registered my PA son for kindergarten a month ago and briefly met with the school nurse who informed me that she keeps all epipens with her (she's got about 12 allergic kids now). It *seems* to be the school policy. We asked DS's allergist to write a note requesting his epi-pen be on him at all times. The doc said he'd do it, but he didn't think it would make the school change their policy since we live in a state (PA) where not all EMT's are allowed to carry and/or administer epinephrine (so the teachers probably aren't allowed to either). Does anyone have any advice on how to get them to let my son keep his epi-pen on him and train his teacher to use it? I will be requesting a peanut free classroom, but just in case. thanks.

Posted on: Tue, 03/05/2002 - 8:31am
Chicago's picture
Joined: 04/21/2001 - 09:00

My PA/TNA daughter is also not allowed to have here Epi Pen on her. They are kept (unlocked)in the office and in the PE office. Every year I train her teacher and whatever support staff in the office and lunch room need to know how to use it.
This is OK with me because the school is small, the office is very close to the lunchroom. This policy developed due to an older PA student who was allowed to carry his Epi Pen and used it, shall we say improperly, in a playground incident.
Obviously it goes with her on all field trips and the PE teacher takes it with him out to the soccer field etc...
[This message has been edited by Chicago (edited March 05, 2002).]

Posted on: Tue, 03/05/2002 - 1:28pm
anonymous's picture
Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

hmmm...I'm not sure how to go about it, however our son began kindergarten this year and carries two epi-pens in a Thomas the Tank Engine fanny pack along with an information sheet. He is the second child with a very severe peanut allergy in the school district and the other boy carried one in his fanny pack too, so we approached it as a given. Because he leaves the classroom for recess, lunch and specials we all felt safer having him wear the fanny pack everyday and included it in his 504 plan. We also keep two epi-pens in the classroom and two in the nurses office. They would not allow him to carry Benadryl in the fanny pack. All staff at the school has been trained on the epi-pen and viewed the video that accompanied the School Allergy Kit offered by the Food Allergy Network. I spoke to the staff about his allergy at an in-service and to his classmates on the first day of school so everyone was aware and there was no curiosity about what was in the pack. With proper education I think the fanny pack is a win-win situation for everyone and hopefully your school will come around and feel the same way! P.S. Not all EMT's are equipped with epi-pens in our state either.

Posted on: Tue, 03/05/2002 - 10:10pm
anonymous's picture
Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

I asked the school how far away from the office all the places are that my son may be in a day's time. The farthest was 2 minutes. If he is taken to the meds, it might only take 2 minutes, but if someone needs to go get it, it'll take at least 4.
We don't know yet if our son will be able to carry his on his person, but we've shown the principal the Epi belt, and emphasized that it would be very well hidden under his shirt. I think the school policy is for all meds to be kept in the nurse's office. We may have a difficult time with this, but I can't tell for sure yet. We'll be meeting again soon. The principal didn't come right out with a "no" so maybe that's a good sign.
Good luck. Stress the importance of time in the matter.

Posted on: Tue, 03/05/2002 - 10:39pm
anonymous's picture
Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

I'm going to have to see how this goes for my son too. However, a nurse at the pediatrician's office told me (she was a school nurse at one point) that a doctor's note supercedes school policy. Well, we'll see...I'm expecting this to be an "issue."

Posted on: Wed, 03/06/2002 - 4:09am
anonymous's picture
Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

I would suggest that you read AAAAI's Position Statement 34 regarding anaphylaxis in schools and other child care settings. The AAAAI recommends that for younger children, the Epipens should be kept in the classroom in an unlocked cabinet. This document is available at the following address:
Hope this helps.

Posted on: Wed, 03/06/2002 - 5:14am
maryann221's picture
Joined: 08/20/2001 - 09:00

thank you all so much for your feedback, especially colleens mom. I printed out the article and will bring it with me when I meet with his teacher and school nurse this summer.

Posted on: Wed, 03/06/2002 - 11:55am
joeybeth's picture
Joined: 09/01/2006 - 09:00

My PA kindergartner's epi pens are in the school nurse's office too. That's the way they do it where we live. The nurse's office is right next to the cafeteria, which is good, but is quite a walk (run!) from my child's classroom. I do worry about that. I have tried to stress the importance of getting to her meds right away if a reaction is ever suspected. I would feel better if there was one kept in the classroom too. Joey

Posted on: Wed, 03/13/2002 - 5:42am
Kathryn's picture
Joined: 02/17/1999 - 09:00

Personally I would not have allowed my son to go to school if his epipens were kept in a room separate from him.
Nurses leave their offices and other personnel may go looking for the nurse not the epi-pen. In a reaction the earlier the pen is administered the better and 3 minutes, 5 minutes, 10 minutes etc is a very long time. All of the research says use it fast. Also what if someone forgets to retrieve it to take with your child onto the playground outside or on a trip etc?
In the kindergarten my son attended the teacher had one in an unlocked cabinet and there was always one in an epi-belt around his waist. In grades one and two there are 2 in a double epi-belt around his waist and one in the teachers' labelled, unlocked desk drawer. Ds always wears his epi-belt with 2 pens whenever he is outside the house and now that he is 7 he has been practising with expired pens on a grapefruit so that he knows what to do in an emergency if no one else is willing or able to do it for him.

Posted on: Thu, 03/14/2002 - 4:49am
hkymom's picture
Joined: 11/17/2001 - 09:00

Mary Ann,
Very good question. I also live in Pa. When my son was in elementary school his epi remained in the nurses office(it was very close to classes as well as lunch room). Now that he is in fifth grade of course the middle school is much bigger. I was very concerned with the amount of time it would take to get to the nurse should he need her. He has three at school, nurse,caferteria and bookbag. I was able by school policy to have my sons doctor write a note grating permission to carry an epi on him. The cafeteria is very far from the nurse so the principal appointed himself the epi injector should my son ever need it at lunch. Seems he has had to use them in the past for bee stings so he felt comfortable volunteering. I do not see why the school would have a problem with the request, it is a valid one.
Good Luck

Posted on: Thu, 03/14/2002 - 5:49am
Kathryn's picture
Joined: 02/17/1999 - 09:00

I just had a thought--someone else in a school where the pen was going to be kept in an office used this strategy. She asked for a written guarantee that anytime that her son was at school there would be someone in that office. She wanted confirmation that the school was willing to schedule shifts of personnel to ensure that someone was always available in that office in case the epipen was needed. Her written request to them was accompanied by a note from her child's allergist suggesting that the best place for the epipen was in the classroom at least and on the child at best. Confronted with this expectation the school realized that their expectation was unreasonable.


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