Administering Medications to Students

School Employees are NOT Required to Administer Medication or Drugs

 

I.C. 34-30-14-1 states that a school or a school board may not require a school employee who is not a nurse or a physician to administer medication or drugs. The board cannot discipline an employee who refuses to administer drugs. The statute applies to non prescription medication as well as prescription medication and insulin.

 

The Clark County Superior Court ruled that the statute means exactly what it says and that there are no exceptions.

 

Bus drivers who were our Education Support Professionals in the Greater Clark Schools were required by the administration to administer anti-seizure medication, known as a Diastat, to a medically fragile child if he had a seizure on the bus. The medication is administered rectally, by syringe, and the child's buttocks must be held closed for five minutes. Our members filed suit, seeking an interpretation of the statute.

 

The Honorable Cecile A. Blau entered Summary Judgment for our members. Her Entry states that the statute should be strictly interpreted. The school board argued that in a life threatening situation the employee was required to give the medication. The Judge stated that although civil immunity is provided to an employee who CHOOSES to give the medication, there is no provision that REQUIRES the employee to give it.

 

The Judge added: "If it was the intent of the legislature to require non-medical employees to administer medical services in life threatening emergencies, it should have been specifically stated and clearly mandated. It is not."

 

A Hamilton County Superior Court has also used similar analysis in holding that under the statute a second grade teacher could not be required to administer insulin to a child. The case was later dismissed when the semester ended.

 

The statute and these decisions do not apply to medical procedures which do not involve administration of medicine, like cleaning tracheotomy tubes, changing diapers, or inspecting wounds. (There are other avenues to protect members who are expected to do those kinds of procedures.) The statute does apply to Epi-pens, aspirin, Tylenol and all other medications.