BOE updates medication policy, approves others

Published 5:54 pm Friday, September 18, 2015

Thursday evening, the Decatur County Board of Education unanimously approved multiple policy revisions and two new policies as a result of recent state legislation.

One of the policies deals with medication and allows school nurses to provide a student with an epinephrine pen for an actual or perceived allergic reaction, regardless if the student has a prescription for epinephrine. That policy was expanded to also allow the nurses to provide students with apparent asthmas attacks with an inhaler, regardless if the student has a prescription for one.

“It gives them opportunity to identify a life-threatening situation and have the inhaler on hand to give a student who does not have one,” Decatur County Superintendent Dr. Fred Rayfield said at the BOE work session.

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“I think it’s a reasonable thing to do,” Chairman Dr. Sydney Cochran, who is also a local physician, said. “It’s a judgment call, any calls you make. These are the kind of things EMTs provide on an ambulance on the way to a hospital, and this allows them to provide it if they feel the situation required it before the EMTs got there. That’s pretty rare, but that can be life-saving.”

Rayfield said that the system will partner with a doctor to prescribe the EpiPens and inhalers that the system’s school nurses will have available at their stations. He said that they will only be used for a child who does not have such treatments already available.

“We’ve talked to our director of nurses, Christy Harrell, on speaking with her nurses to make sure there’s a comfort level with having those two products in their nursing station and they’re comfortable using them at the right time,” Rayfield said.

The updated policy also states, “Any school employee who in good faith administers or chooses not to administer such medication to a student in such circumstances shall be immune from civil liability.”

The board also approved updates on the system policies concerning suspected child abuse, weapons and bullying. The two new policies approved are suicide prevention and one on professional development opportunities for educator effectiveness.

Board policies are available to view online at the system’s website