Teachers aren\'t obligated to administer EpiPen - Opinions please

Posted on: Mon, 07/05/2004 - 11:58pm
meadow's picture
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Joined: 10/21/2003 - 09:00

Hi everyone,

We had our first 504 meeting with our district. The meeting went remarkably well, we are not working on a final draft.

One thing that concerns me is that the superintendent told us teacher do not have administer EpiPens, or any injection, if they don't feel comfortable. They are protected under the teachers union. Has anyone faced this issue? Is here any way around this this - waivers, etc...? If a teacher didn't help our daughter during an anaphylactic episode, I'd be livid. If they helped and weren't successful I'd be grateful they did their best.

Also, since we live in the middle of nowhere, not sure why we're here I'm a city girl, the EMS squad where our daughter will be going to school is volunteer! I'm more than a little concerned.

I'd love to have other people's perspectives, advice or comments.

Thanks so much!!

Posted on: Tue, 07/06/2004 - 3:02am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

I'm in Canada so things may be a bit different, not sure.
The liability waiver that I was asked to sign when I first moved to this town three years ago included the line about "failing to administer the Epi-pen". I posted about it here and also spoke with my lawyer and what I did was cross out that line, initial it, and sign the document. Meaning that, as far as I was concerned, the school personnel would be held accountable if they did NOT administer the Epi-pen. If they administered it and something still happened to my child, then at least they tried.
I would think that somehow Duty of Care falls into this. Also, doesn't the U.S. have the Good Samaritan Law? Would it not fall under this as well?
Through the years (and certainly not this one, it was horrid [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/mad.gif[/img] ) we have had custodial staff trained on the use of the Epi-pen and it has never been presented to us that it is against union laws for teachers or anyone else to administer medication, especially in a life threatening situation.
Here, in Ontario, we are routinely given, if we tell the school our child has ANY medical condition, forms that we fill out and give the school allowing them to administer medication. This can be a simple as them being able to administer Tylenol for a child with a migraine but also for administering the Epi-pen.
What about teachers in the U.S. who have to administer Ritalin (or other ADD/ADHD medications) to children during the school day?
I know that when I posted my written school plan here (written by another PA.com member), Chris from PA.com did come into the thread and ask me about the administration of the Epi-pen part, or what to do if my son should have a reaction. But here, that is covered separate from a 504.
I believe it is something that you cover in your 504, but you really need some American answers.
To counter what they have said though, I would mention Duty of Care and also the Good Samaritan Act.
Also, when I was first presented with the liability waiver to sign, EVERYONE on this board who responded told me NOT to sign the waiver the way that it was worded. Because it is a legal document, you do have the right to change any wording that you don't feel okay about and initial said change and carry on.
Best wishes! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]
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Posted on: Tue, 07/06/2004 - 3:05am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

Duty of Care:-
[url="http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/Forum7/HTML/000365.html"]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/Forum7/HTML/000365.html[/url]
Best wishes! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]
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Posted on: Tue, 07/06/2004 - 3:08am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

Advice I received here (and also includes advice I received from my lawyer) re signing of a liability waiver:-
[url="http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/Forum7/HTML/000513.html"]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/Forum7/HTML/000513.html[/url]
Bets wishes! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]
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Posted on: Tue, 07/06/2004 - 4:41am
Nutternomore's picture
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Joined: 08/02/2002 - 09:00

Meadow,
What state you are in?? You'll need to scour state law to see if any legislation has been passed that speaks to this issue.
For example, while researching this issue last year in California, we discovered that state legislation had been passed in 2001 that specifically allowed nurses to delegate this type of care (i.e. Epi-Pen administration), subject to certain conditions.
Depending upon the answer, the 504 team could look at other types of accommodations, (e.g. the hiring of an aide).
By the way, sometimes a school is just "blowing smoke" when they make a statement like that (not saying that's necessarily the case here). I'd ask for [i]written materials[/i] that prove that under union contract that teachers are not required to assist a child in a medical emergency.
[This message has been edited by Nutternomore (edited July 06, 2004).]

Posted on: Tue, 07/06/2004 - 4:55am
meadow's picture
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Joined: 10/21/2003 - 09:00

Nutternomore & Alternative to Mainstream,
Thanks for the suggestions. I am in Ohio - actually I'm a transplant from Ontario so this is all very new to me.
I am shocked that a school superintendent would even suggest a teacher would rather not get involved than administer an injection. Thank you for reminding me to ask for this in writing.
As far as an aide is concerned, our school district is one step away from going into receivorship - we are sending our daughter to this school strictly for socialization. We pretty much homeschool her now, but she is really wanting to be with other kids her own age. Anyway, considering the school's economic circumstances I'm not sure an aide is feasible - does the 504 make it mandatory?
Thanks so much, this has all been such a whirlwind of emotions. I'm torn in so many directions. I'm trying to remain positive,but it is difficult.
Thanks again!

Posted on: Fri, 04/08/2005 - 12:26am
Momcat's picture
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Joined: 03/15/2005 - 09:00

Nutternomore, could you point me to this law, or give me more details? I am also in California and have been told by the district that only staff members with CPR training were allowed to administer EpiPen. I said, "ok, then you can train the classroom teacher and playground monitors." The response was that the district cannot require them to take the training!

Posted on: Fri, 04/08/2005 - 4:04am
Nutternomore's picture
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Joined: 08/02/2002 - 09:00

Momcat,
Check this out....
[url="http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/Forum7/HTML/001472.html"]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/Forum7/HTML/001472.html[/url]

Posted on: Fri, 04/08/2005 - 10:41am
Momcat's picture
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Joined: 03/15/2005 - 09:00

Thanks, I found it!

Posted on: Fri, 04/08/2005 - 11:05am
Momcat's picture
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Joined: 03/15/2005 - 09:00

Have most teachers and staff members been willing to take the training?
Has anyone come across a classroom teacher who refused to administer the EpiPen?
Two years ago, I was forced to remove my daughter from the city-run preschool she was attending when the teacher informed me that she was no longer allowed to administer the EpiPen due to liability issues. I am concerned that this issue is going to create problems again!

Posted on: Fri, 04/08/2005 - 11:41am
falcon's picture
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Joined: 07/03/2004 - 09:00

I had a similar problem in the preschool a few years ago. Luckily there was also an asst. teacher in the class and the administration offices were right next door to my son's class. The asst. teacher and every other teacher in the class was fine with giving the epi-, so they all accepted responsibiility. The teacher agreed to take him to the office or another teacher immediately if she noticed any symptoms and the asst. teacher was not there for some reason.
I was really upset by the teacher's reaction and resistance. However, I would rather someone acknowledge the discomfort upfront so that I could be sure whoever was going to give the epi had a confident and positive feeling about doing it. I wouldn't trust someone who had an issue about the idea of administering the epi for any reason.
Are the other teachers and administrative staff comfortable and trained to give the epi? Is the particular teacher who is resisting able to identify symptoms so your child can quickly be taken to someone in the school who will give the epi?

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