Efforts Underway To Repeal Law That Limits Schools Ability To Treat Common Ailments

On March 1st, changes in the law governing how medicine is given to children at school went into effect. These changes make it more difficult for parents and school districts to make sure kids have access to non-prescription medications during the school day, for simply things for such things as a stomachache, headache, or a sore throat. Under the new law, all non-prescription medication given to children at school must now be provided by the parent/guardian and be in the original packaging. These include ordinary over-the-counter items like ibuprofen, Tylenol, Benadryl, and cough drops.

The practical effect of these new regulations means that each child’s parent or guardian needs to supply their own bottle of over-the-counter medication to the school. This leads to schools storing and organizing hundreds of bottles or containers of the same medicine. Some have chosen not to do this because it is an administrative nightmare. This means kids may have no access to simple medications for common ailments during the school day.

I am co-sponsoring legislation that would repeal these regulations and return to previous policies for how schools administer non-prescription medication to students. To ensure proper administration of medicine, safeguards would continue to be in place requiring written consent by the parent or guardian as well as documentation of the administration of each dose.

Please let me know what you think about this legislation or other topics of concern you have by visiting HarsdorfSenate.com, or by visiting my facebook page at facebook.com/harsdorf.sheila.

20 Responses

  1. Debbie Keller

    Senator Harsdorf – I agree with you on this; however, I won’t hold my breath waiting for a response from you. Judging from prior experience, you don’t respond to your constituents who contact you. I doubt I’ll hear from you even if I agree with you (as is the case here). You might run the risk that I’d ask questions you don’t want to answer. I can’t tell you how frustrating it is to have someone elected to represent you who won’t talk to you. You should be ashamed.

  2. Brent Plackner

    Went to the harsdorfsenate.com website and there is no option to contribute an opinion on this bill or any other. It is a site to receive info from Sheila but no way to contact her. Therefore will respond to your request for input in this forum: YOU WILL BE RECALLED!

    1. jane

      I signed a release at the beginning of the school year to allow a school nurse to administer tylenol or basic meds. You do not need to sign the form but it would save time from them calling for a minor health problem. Not sure the exact policy but I could see a storage problem if 400+ students all bring in 1-3 kinds of over the counter meds.. they would have to be labeled by childs name and in original packaging also.. In the overcrowded schools in my district I don’t even know where they would put it. They are already using closets as classrooms and have portables. Also the chance of my children even getting any meds from the school nurse are slim to none because they rarely use any at home.

  3. I would like to know more about the intent of the changes and the impact that repealing these regulations would have on school liability and costs.
    Can you provide a link to the bill?

  4. Carrie Olson

    Yes – I strongly support this. Example – Friday my daughter was having a headache. The school refused to provide her with tylenol.

    No matter how hard i tried to force my child to remain in school that day, she couldn’t take the headache. She left school sick. She missed 4 hours of classes that she could have easily attended if someone would give her some tylenol.

  5. Janet

    It is a great idea for parents to supply medication for their children regardless of what it is for. A school is just that – a school; a place for learning. It is not a daycare center nor a medical clinic. Get back to the basics of teaching in the classroom and leave the rest up to the parents. And quit wasting taxpayer money on things that should be required to be supplied by the parents. Including mediction, both prescription and non precriptions and let us throw in their meals too. Let the parents feed their own kids! Teachers are not babysitters or nurses – they are teachers so let them teach.

    1. jane

      I would think the school nurse, NOT the teachers are the ones administering the meds…while the teachers are left to teach the rest of the class. I wouldn’t want a unqualified person to give my child meds. Yes, the parents should pay but would it really wouldn’t make sense for the entire student population to all have their own bottle(s) of meds. Where would they put all of these in overcrowded schools? Maybe the parents could sign and agree to pay per pill or dose so the school could be reimbursed while not having to carry hundreds of bottles of pills. There is No such thing as a free lunch but why give the drug companies any more extra business for pills that would just be expired anyway?

  6. Stan

    People why don’t we use plain old common sense? It seems like we laws for every thing ,just use the mind we all have aka common sense !!!!!!!!!!!

  7. Pat

    Sheila, You Rock! Keep up the good work. Kids and health assistance in the schools need your kind of support.

  8. Katie Chaffee

    I think that of all the bills, actions, and directives coming from Madison at this time, discussion of this rather benign issue is merely a red herring. This CANNOT be the most important thing you need to communicate with your constituents about at this time. What about telling us your opinion on some of the extraordinary budget cuts being made to various state agencies like the Wisconsin Arts Board, or the new rules changes to Health & Human Services that allow no public discussion of eligibility requirements for public medical care services, etc.

  9. Dexter M

    For those parents that want their children/teenagers to have easy access to medications they can/could simple give it to them to keep in thier lockers. If Ms. Olson’s child could have self-medicated (hopefully she’s old enough) she could have remained in school. It’s sad that schools are in such bad shape that we can no longer trust them to give out a simple pill (aspirin) without fear of being sued or accused of wrong doing.

    Keller & Plackner – try to stay on topic. I know it’s hard when you’ve been educated by union gorillas but really…this is about the kids and their health; not you’re misguided political agenda.

    1. Candace Bettendorf

      Unfortunately, kids are not allowed to have even Tylenol or ibuprofin in their lockers. They can be disciplined for this.

  10. dJack & Marilyn Bostrack

    Keep up the great work. We are backing you 100%. Thank you for all you do and this legislation you are proposing is needed.

  11. Think of all of the money the school will save by not having to spend taxpayer money to keep an ample supply of non-prescription drugs at the school. Come on parents, you should be able to afford the costs of paying for your child’s medications. Every little bit of saving help don’t they?

  12. Bob

    Say, where you with your little column when all the protests were going on in Madison? Why don ‘t you report on something with substance and something that has a real impact on the people of western Wisconsin?

  13. Pamela

    I think it is a good idea for parents to provide their own medication. Most children never require medication from the nurse. Parents know if their child tends to use over the counter medicationss and could then provide them at school. Maybe it would not be such a storage nightmare. Parents could make sure the medication had an expiration date beyond the school year and take the unused med home at the end of the year. Medications could be labeled with the child’s name and lunch pin then kids could access them this way. Sheila I am very disappointed in you.

  14. T Bauer

    Keep up the good work Sheila. Sounds like good legislation.

    Keller – I get responses when I email or write letters to Sheila. I don’t get responses on everything, but most of the time.

    Plackner – you can send Sheila a response on her web page under the “ask Sheila” tab. There are also links to “track legislation” right on the front of her website that sends you to the Wisconsin Legislature home page where all bills are published. All those links are right there an easy to see. Not sure why you are spouting nonsense.

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