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School Replies to Inhaler Incident

Posted on 10/14/2003 3:10:39 PM PDT by arjay

I received the following reply from the school district regarding the inhaler incident in Texas. I thought this group would be interested.

From: "Gregory S. Poole"

Your Email is based on erroneous information. It is also an example of how the Internet, with all its glory, often misses the key ingredient of information gathering, which is substantiation.

Ø No student was ever in any life-threatening situation. Student confidentiality does not permit us to be specific but it has already been reported in a Houston paper that the student in question went to the clinic for a minor headache. During both incidents, three clinic personnel were present including a registered nurse.

Ø No student was ever expelled. (The student was withdrawn by his guardian shortly after the incident) . We had a mandatory expulsion hearing where we could finally use discretion. Our decision is that while the student could have been harmful, it does not merit expulsion. So why was it portrayed as an expulsion? State law requires an automatic expulsion hearing when dangerous drugs are involved.

Ø No student is “in jail”. The police are forced by mandatory requirements to send the case to the juvenile system but they did not accept the case based on our expulsion hearing.

Is this much ado about nothing? No. It is sad that our nurses and police do not have more discretion without violating the law. Where is the common sense? Our answer is that common sense did prevail. It just did not happen with internet-like speed. The system is set up to err on the side of caution when drugs are involved. It is also sad that many have labeled our school because of erroneous information. Caney Creek is rated Exemplary and produced three National Merit Scholars last year. Our students, parents and staff are very proud of our school and we are convinced if you had all of the facts, you would be also.

Caney Creek Administration

TOPICS: News/Current Events; US: Texas
KEYWORDS: asthma; inhaler; zerotolerance
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1 posted on 10/14/2003 3:10:40 PM PDT by arjay
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To: arjay
Thing to remember is PEOPLE WANT TO BE OUTRAGED, oddly enough, which is the opposite of what one might expect. It feels good to be mad at something.

In their burning desire to be outraged, people often won't let facts stand in the way.

The e-mail you got doesn't seem to be spin in any way....certainly puts things in a different light.
2 posted on 10/14/2003 3:14:27 PM PDT by John H K
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3 posted on 10/14/2003 3:14:52 PM PDT by Support Free Republic (Your support keeps Free Republic going strong!)
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To: arjay
Even this email represents that the asthma inhaler is somehow "dangerous drugs." Tell me, is aspirin a dangerous drug?
4 posted on 10/14/2003 3:17:03 PM PDT by coloradan (Hence, etc.)
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To: coloradan
I do understand your point. But inhalers can also have impressive side effects like very rapid heart rates. These issues are unlikely to be a problem in an otherwise healthy adolescent. And if the choice is dealing with a rapid heart rate or difficulty breathing, well the choice is pretty obvious. But no medication is entirely without risk. Not even Aspirin. There are many deaths each year as a result of aspirin. Most of these involve GI bleeding, but there are other reasons. It's been commented upon my many in the medical field that if Aspirin had to be approved through todays FDA it wouldn't make it.
5 posted on 10/14/2003 3:39:34 PM PDT by not_apathetic_anymore
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To: coloradan
An inhaler is dangerous if used incorrectly. It is also a presciption medication where aspirin is not.
6 posted on 10/14/2003 3:56:24 PM PDT by luckystarmom
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To: John H K
This spin doesn't match what both Moms said on TV the other night.

Also, the young lady and the young man said that the young lady was having difficulty breathing because of her asthma and the young boy loaned her his inhaler. She said it helped right away. These two students have asthma and they also date each other. They see each other daily.

The parents defended the stories by their children, the students, and the parents could not figure out why the boy was targeted and disciplined by this expulsion by the school system.

I think what would exonerate the school is that the students had been warned repeatedly about this, or that these people did not know each other, or that this was part of some drug sale. Otherwise, the school appears to be off base... and the concept of zero tolerance is just a smoke screen for an over reaching school bureaucracy.

7 posted on 10/14/2003 3:57:51 PM PDT by Hop A Long Cassidy
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To: luckystarmom; not_apathetic_anymore
Your two posts cancel each other out: is aspirin a killer, dangerous drug or is it an OTC, non-prescription medication? Either way, the harm posed by the inhaler isn't more than from aspirin when you consider that both people in the story had scrips for that particular medication. Furthermore, NOT having an inhaler has its own risks: people die from lack of access to asthma medication just like they die from overdosing on aspirin.
8 posted on 10/14/2003 4:03:31 PM PDT by coloradan (Hence, etc.)
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To: luckystarmom
Even when used correctly albuterol can produce side effects. I spent the night in the ER last June when I had a BP spike and tachycardia. Many of the same symptoms as a heart attack - nausea, sweating, radiating pain, crushing pain, but just not as painful. After several hours, I got back to normal. ER doc said it happens occasionally. Have not had a problem before that or since, but my use since June has dropped off to only when I absolutely need it. Of course, the girl didn't have a bad reaction, and even if she did, it would have happened whether she was using her own inhaler or that of her friend. It is not wise though to share as not all medications are identical.
9 posted on 10/14/2003 4:05:34 PM PDT by Kirkwood
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To: Hop A Long Cassidy
I disagree. The law says there has to be an expulsion hearing. It doesn't say there has to be an expulsion. The school administration says that, had the boy not been withdrawn from school, he would not have been expelled.

I'm in California. You don't hear about zero tolerance crap here. Our schools have all the usual problems, but not this one, because we have several layers of hearing requirements which are strictly enforced and our eddicrats aren't that mindless. Yet.

11 posted on 10/14/2003 4:12:21 PM PDT by Thud
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To: coloradan
Actually, I don't see that they cancel each other out. I believe Aspirin can be both - dangerous in some circumstances and OTC. Ephedra is another example. Phenylpropamine another. All OTC and all associated with some risks.

Certainly if an inhaler is needed not having it is risky. Having said if the choice is between not breathing well or dealing with a rapid heart rate, the choice is obvious, I don't believe we disagree on this. Yes, both apparently had a prescription for the same inhaler and that would give credence to the argument that someone had thought the prescription was suitable for the student. But how was the nurse to know this for sure? People confuse the names of their medications all the time.

I think both sides need to chill out on this. The school nurse reports she didn't see any difficulty breathing. Could she be lying? Sure. Could the kids have done something strictly against the rules and now embelish their story a little to stay out of trouble? Sure.

As is so often the case, the truth is probably between the kids story and the nurses. None of us were there. But I also don't think that portraying inhalers as completely benign is a helpful.

12 posted on 10/14/2003 4:31:59 PM PDT by not_apathetic_anymore
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To: coloradan
To these zero tolerance bozos everything but Ridilin is a dangerous drug. They pass that stuff out like candy on Holloween.
13 posted on 10/14/2003 4:37:43 PM PDT by i are a cowboy
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To: Thud
Bullshit on what the school says. There have been plenty of cases in TX where kids have been screwed over by administrators for zero tolerance and wound up in "thug" schools. TX doesn't allow expelled students to stay at home. They get the ignominy of going to a "thug" school which forever ruins their chances of a college eduction.

Apparently, this kid's mother knew what was going to happen and decided not to roll over and play dead. She alerted the press and made a stink. The principal reportedly was fielding telephone calls from Germany. He was made to look like a jerk -- good.

Believe me, if the school could have expelled this kid, they would have. The only thing that stopped it was a lot of bad publicity.

In CA last week some kid is in trouble for having a knife in an emergency kit in his car. The stupid school officials feel it's a weapon. Most people would agree that it's a tool.

14 posted on 10/14/2003 4:42:04 PM PDT by ladylib
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To: luckystarmom
What are the specific dangers of an Albuterol Inhaler, and at what doses? I've given Albuterol to patients THOUSANDS of times, and have yet to see anyone have a life-threatening reaction to it (even at high doses).
15 posted on 10/14/2003 4:48:19 PM PDT by Born Conservative ("Forgive your enemies, but never forget their names" - John F. Kennedy)
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To: arjay
Posted today on Best of the Web Today from

Zero-Tolerance Watch
Caney Creek High School of Conroe, Texas, has decided to expel 15-year-old Brandon Kivi because he let his girlfriend, Andra Ferguson, use his asthma inhaler when she had an attack after forgetting to bring her inhaler to school. Although the two teens both use the same prescription medicine, the school deemed Kivi's actions a violation of its zero-tolerance antidrug policy. (We noted the case Thursday.)

"On Friday, school officials decided to expel Kivi but not press criminal charges," reports Houston's KPRC-TV. Says Kivi: "I'm happy. Everything's final. I'm expelled till after Christmas and I can come back after Christmas, but I won't." He and Ferguson are both leaving Caney Creek High to be home-schooled.


16 posted on 10/14/2003 4:53:05 PM PDT by Born Conservative ("Forgive your enemies, but never forget their names" - John F. Kennedy)
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To: arjay
Seems to be a little confusion here...this email says no expulsion; however, says otherwise.

17 posted on 10/14/2003 4:56:19 PM PDT by Green
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To: ladylib
I can't tell whether to believe a Texas school administrator.

I am familiar with California school kids though, having raised three and been one myself. There are so many who'd use administrator idiocy as a vehicle to boost their college applications that our admnistrators are mighty careful. If a kid was suspended or expelled for accidently bringing a plastic knife to school, half the senior class would bring one the next week and dare the administrators to expel them all. California kids know all about civil disobedience.

18 posted on 10/14/2003 5:10:58 PM PDT by Thud
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To: Thud
I'm glad. And I hope it happens in this case.
19 posted on 10/14/2003 6:02:46 PM PDT by ladylib
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To: arjay
I am pretty sure all schools in Texas are rated "Exemplary".
Look up the definition for yourself.
20 posted on 10/14/2003 6:35:14 PM PDT by whipitgood
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