Transportation to school and epi-pen availability

Posted on: Mon, 02/08/1999 - 11:22am
Janet Laflamme's picture
Joined: 02/08/1999 - 09:00

My five year old son started school this fall and like many families we've had our ups and downs in dealing with the school system. Our school system has a zero tolerance to drug policy which means that my son cannot carry his own epi-pen on school property until he's 18! The nurse has his epi-pen in her office in an unlocked cabinet. Since he's 5 and the classroom is around the corner from her office my husband and I are fairly comfortable with that for now. What we aren't comfortable with is the fact that he doesn't have access to an epi-pen on the bus ride to and from school. His doctor specifically noted in my son's medical records that he must have 24 hr. access to the medication including the bus ride. From everything I've read this is one of the key points to dealing with this problem. After a disappointing meeting with the nursing supervisor when several ignorant things were said to me one of which was that I should feed my son 2 hours before riding the bus if I was concerned about a delayed reaction to his breakfast. (My son has enough restrictions on his life as it is now.) My husband and I hired a lawyer to speak for us. The school system's response after a letter from our lawyer was to agree to shorten the bus ride from 45 min to 10 min and to announce that food sharing was not allowed. We have been transporting him with no end in sight. Has anyone dealt with this problem? Any information or insights would be appreciated.

Posted on: Mon, 02/08/1999 - 11:47am
anonymous's picture
Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

<p>Janet, </p>
<p>My only suggestion would be to contact Anne Munoz Furlong, Founder of the Food Allergy Network and let her know about the obstacles you have been presented with - Perhaps she could direct you.</p>
<p>I have not had to work with the public schools yet. My hopes for the school system would include allergic reaction education/training by the teachers, bus driver, in addition to the school nurse. On the bus, I will request that my son has the first seat behind the bus driver so he can call out for help (or if he is unable, he will be more likely to be spotted by the driver.)</p>
<p>Keep us posted on this topic! We all may be faced with some of the obstacles you have mentioned!</p>

Posted on: Mon, 02/08/1999 - 12:07pm
tracy's picture
Joined: 02/03/1999 - 09:00

<p>My child is only 13 months old, but as soon as he is able to use an epi-pen by himself, he will carry it with him at all times and I don't care about any school policy. </p>
<p>Of course, I'm a bit emotional now, having just found out about his allergy and I'm probably over-reacting to what I'm reading. And I don't have experience dealing with schools. I just think an exception should be made in this case.</p>

Posted on: Tue, 02/09/1999 - 3:14am
Greg's picture
Joined: 01/16/1999 - 09:00

<p>The first thing you MUST fight for is the right for your child to have direct access to an Epi-pen at all times. Our Daughter(2nd grade) carries one at all times,bus,school,playground... With peanut allergies minutes can make all the difference. Being next door to the nurses office works great,but what happens when they begin to go out on the playground? By the time someone recognized a problem,contacted a teacher,found the Nurse(who could be anywhere,lunch,meeting,etc..) got the Epi-pen and brought it back..,well, in the case of our daughter that would be about 10 minutes too late. One way or another that Epi-pen needs to be in the very same location as the child at all times.<br />
Our bus experience has been We set up a program with our school district where the bus drivers would get a short education in anaphalaxis and in the use of Epi-pens. Further,our daughter's bus would carry a picture of her along with instructions on what to look for and do in an emergency situation. Also the bus is equiped with a two way radio,capable of contacting the EMT's in case of an emergency. This worked fine the first two years,we had an excellent bus driver who really looked out for our daughter. Unfortunately this year,we got a new driver who is cold,mean and unresponsive. And worse,has no control of the bus. Recently,our daughter got hit by a muffin thrown by one of the children. It wasn't purposely aimed at her but nonetheless had it been something with peanuts or peanut butter the results would have been disastrous. We got a weak response from the district(child removed from bus for 2 weeks,nothing else done) so we've been driving to school every day since.</p>

Posted on: Tue, 02/09/1999 - 2:40pm
Cynthia's picture
Joined: 02/04/1999 - 09:00

<p>Janet; This could have been my message! We are in exactly the same situation with the exception of the daily bus ride. I live in California and thisngs are not much better here - YET! I feel very guilty for allowing this situation to occur and continue. I am now in the process of writing a letter to the principal and organizing a meeting with the nurse, principal and class teacher. There must be a way around the drug -free policy with regards to the Epi-pen. We are protected by the ADA - just as those with vision problems are allowed to wear their glasses. I am not sure ho other areas work this, but many places allow children to carry their Epipens. I would be just as happy if the teacher carried it. In my situation the teacher does not want to have anything to do with learning how to administer the Epipen. I am going to demand that my son gets a teacher next year who can deal with his meds. I will let you know anything more that I find out. Good-luck! We need to hear from people whose children carry their own Epipens and how the school fits this into their drug-free policies.</p>

Posted on: Tue, 02/09/1999 - 3:09pm
Colleen's picture
Joined: 02/04/1999 - 09:00

<p>Cynthia: I like your comparison to prescription glasses. Just as glasses would be of no use to a child if locked in a cupboard in the nurses office, the same can be said for a child in anaphalactic shock needing epinephrine. The medicine is needed immediately, no time to waste!! It just seems that with this allergy (and some others), the standard policies in place for so many things just don't apply, and are no good. The rules need to be rewritten to fit the unusual scenarios that can come up with this very unpredictable life -threatening healh issue. </p>
<p>------------------<br />

Posted on: Wed, 02/10/1999 - 9:51am
Janet Laflamme's picture
Joined: 02/08/1999 - 09:00

<p> You are not over reacting, but I hope by the time your child is in school we can make some progress nationwide on this issue. It has already been made clear to us that if my son were to get caught carrying his epi-pen, it would result in expulsion.</p>
<p>[This message has been edited by Janet Laflamme (edited February 10, 1999).]</p>

Posted on: Wed, 02/10/1999 - 11:23pm
brenda's picture
Joined: 01/22/1999 - 09:00

<p>Janet,<br />
Not letting your child carry an epi-pen because of a zero tolerance policy is the most ABSURD thing i have heard of!!! Doesn't the zero torerance pertain only to illegal drugs not prescription drugs??? What about the kids who need inhalers for asthma, are they restricted too? Maybe you can ban together with those parents.</p>
<p>Another suggestion would be to contact Ellie Goldberg. She is an Educational Rights Specialist and Child Advocate. She has alot of information on students rights with health conditions (including food allergies). Call her and request some of her articles. Her number is 617-965-9637 or [email]ERG_HK@JUNO.COM[/email]</p>
<p>good luck.</p>

Posted on: Thu, 02/11/1999 - 2:38pm
MAC's picture
Joined: 01/23/1999 - 09:00

<p>I would think that all schools now have zero-tolerance to drugs, even mine, but my dtr as always carried her epis and meds in her fanny packs. I think you will find many school do allow this. I think they must have some hang up about this! </p>

Posted on: Wed, 02/24/1999 - 3:04pm
Larry's picture
Joined: 01/18/1999 - 09:00

<p>My two daughters (ages 8 and 11) do not leave the house without their fanny bags containing their epi-pen and benadryl. It is essential that they carry their medicine on the bus ride to school. It sounds like a lawsuit under the ADA is required to force the school district to do the right thing. In seven years, we have never had an incident concerning misuse of an epi-pen.</p>

Posted on: Wed, 03/17/1999 - 2:05am
Coco's picture
Joined: 03/14/1999 - 09:00

Please Look at the "Article on Food Allergy in Child Magazine" posting under Main Discussion Board. I think there is a solution for you legally a few entries down! Good Luck. The bus is not an option where I live. Are any of your bus drivers trained to use epi-pens? The public and separate schools in my area have all drivers trained. This is something I will work on next year for our school's bus company.


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