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The in's and outs of school medication

(WEAU) - Taking a pill and putting in eye drops is something the average adult can do, but what about kids while they're at school?

It’s a concern many parents worry about, that is how can my child take their medication at school? Students may have to take ADHD medication or an allergy med and a local principal says it’s a process that has gotten stricter over the years.

For most kids, going to school is a daily adventure but when parents aren't around, who gives out needed medicine?

"The staff goes through different kinds of training on how to give the different kinds of medicine. You have to be certified to give the medicine," said Todd Johnson, Principal of the Chippewa Valley Montessori Charter School.

The principal says he has about 11 staff members that are certified. But it’s organized in a way so there are no mistakes.

The school has to fill out paperwork whenever a student takes his or her medicine to avoid repeats. Therefore teachers aren't allowed to hand out something as small as ibuprofen.

"We keep all the medicine locked up and keep it secure," said Johnson.

The cabinet is organized by student name and the medicine is found in their drawer. Yet some students require more than medicine.

"If a child is a diabetic, we really need to work closely with the families to make sure that you know things are being monitored,” said Johnson.

Todd Johnson says this year the Eau Claire School District decided to switch from having county nurses to having their own.

"What we’re noticing is there are more children with allergies coming to school, it was starting to tax the county system," said Johnson.

But what about students who have behavioral problems? The American Psychiatric Association says 3- 7% percent of school-aged children have ADHD.

"Only a medical person can prescribe medicine, schools really can't diagnose," said Johnson.

The question is how do you know when a kid is being a kid or needs behavioral medication? It’s a question Todd says a lot of people struggle to answer.

"Do I think we’re overmedicating? I think we need to be very cautious, I think a few years ago we were definitely over medicating," said Johnson.

Todd says his team will also brainstorm behind the scenes and do interventions in the classroom, which involves staff observing without the child knowing. He says helping the child hands on can be more effective than medicine.

"What we do is look for patterns. Is this happening over a lengthy period of time, or does it just crop up once in a while?" said Johnson.


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