Many children and adolescents are able to attend school because of the effectiveness of their medication. The health circumstances requiring medication are diverse. Medication may be essential for continued functioning, either as a component of an elaborate treatment plan for the student with a complex disability or as the only treatment necessary for a student to maintain or regain control of his/her chronic illness. In rare instances medications may be necessary for life-threatening emergencies. For most students, the use of medication will be a convenient benefit to control acute minor or major illnesses, allowing a timely return to the classroom with minimal interference to the student and to others. A student may also symptomatically benefit from nonprescription medications.
The school board and the school superintendent, in conjunction with other school personnel and in collaboration with the physician or medical advisory committee for each school (district), should develop a policy for the administration of medication in the school setting. The guidelines should indicate what age and/or class levels are included, such as kindergarten through grade 12 or, alternatively, separate guidelines for different grades. Individual school districts also should seek the advice of counsel as they assume the responsibility for giving medication during school hours. Liability coverage should be provided for the staff, including nurses, teachers, athletic staff, principals, superintendents, and members of the school board. Any student who must take medication during regular school hours should do so in compliance with the school's regulations.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that each school include or consider the following sections in its medication policy.
- Received May 13, 1993.
- Accepted May 13, 1993.
- Copyright © 1993 by the American Academy of Pediatrics