Bath School Board Will Keep School Medication Policy As Is
Warm Springs, VA – The Bath School Board votes to keep the school system’s medication policy as is, against the wishes of the school nursing staff. At Tuesday night’s Bath School Board meeting, the board considered a request to revise the medication policy to prohibit administering narcotic medication at school. The revision was requested by Registered Nurses, Jackie Baughan, Jane Wright and Cheryl Thompson.
The nurses said the policy has always been interpreted as non narcotic medication and that back when the policy was written, the school system had no school nurses. They wanted the policy to be clear by saying that only non narcotic medication can be given at school. The nurses are concerned about medication side effects and the safety of students who might drive while taking narcotics.
They also question if a student is fully functional and if he or she should be at school if pain is so bad that a narcotic is needed. And the nurses also have concerns about giving doses at appropriate time intervals between school and home to prevent overmedicating. They said they would not know for certain what time a student took a previous dose while at home.
The nurses said they have to protect their licenses, for they are liable when the give the medication and that regardless of school policy, they can refuse to give narcotics. Nurse Jane Wright said they were not usurping doctors orders, but as nurses they have the responsibility to be sure they are not doing something that could cause harm.
The school board first looked at changing this policy last June, but no action was taken. School Board Chairman Eddie Ryder said students have taken medications at school before there were nurses and there have been no problems during his 20 years on the board. He said good judgment is exercised by nurses and staff dealing with students and and medications. Ryder said if there’s a contract with the nurses and if they refuse to do this, they might refuse to do something else and refusal is insubordination.
He said he has faith in the nurses and they should administer medication according to what a Doctor prescribes. He said a policy change would discriminate against students with pain because they couldn’t go to school because they couldn’t take their medication at school. School Board member Joyce Hevener said if the board has confidence in the nurses and this is their opinion, then the board should give them the benefit of the doubt.
The board voted to leave the policy as is, which allows administering narcotics at school. School Board members Joyce Hevener and Mary Lynn Riner voted in favor of changing the policy, but Eddie Ryder, Barbara Waldeck and Dreama Burns voted against it.