Public School Stupidity, School Nurse Stupidity, or Both?
Two recent stories raise the question. Today I read about a local incident of a teacher’s aide pulling out a student’s tooth:
Sabrina Grant of Framingham, Mass. says her autistic son Chris Quirk went to school last week with a loose tooth. Around lunchtime, she got an email from the aide at Woodrow Wilson Elementary, explaining that Chris had been playing with the tooth and she had pulled it out…
But Grant says when her son got off the bus after school, she realized the wrong tooth had been pulled.
“I noticed that the loose tooth that was in his mouth was still in his mouth,” she told CBS Boston. “And a molar behind his loose tooth [is what] they had pulled out. They pulled the wrong tooth.”
Compare that to another incident of another student at another school whose nurse refused the student his inhaler during an asthma attack:
A school nurse in Florida is being accused of denying a student his inhaler during an asthma attack because she couldn’t locate his parental consent form.
Michael Rudi, the student at the center of the scandal, and his mother, Su, joined Fox and Friends to tell their story.
As he was struggling to breath, Michael [Rudi] said he also had to fight to get help. He claims that at one point the nurse even closed the office door on him. Michael said, “I put my head to that window once I got to that door, and she was just sitting there smiling at me. She had a grin on her face, and I kept jiggling the door, begging for help. I got to the point where I couldn’t even jiggle the door knob.”
Su Rudi said that when she was notified that her son was having trouble breathing, she called the nurse and asked her to give Michael his medicine. When the nurse refused, Su asked her to call 911, but the nurse said, “No, I don’t have to.”
So while Michael Rudi was suffering an acute medical attack, officials at his school refused to allow him to use a medication that was prescribed for him for that purpose by a licensed physician and which he was legally allowed to use. But Chris Quirk, who was suffering from no medical malady, underwent an unnecessary and painful dental procedure performed by a school employee who was not licensed to practice dentistry.
Prosecutors should charge both school employees with child abuse (and, in the Quirk case, assault and the illegal practice of dentistry). The children’s parents should sue the schools—and refuse to settle out of court—in order to deter similar behavior elsewhere. And state legislatures across the country should enact laws prohibiting schools from preventing student use of legal medications prescribed for them and nullifying stupid “zero tolerance” policies that criminalize legitimate medical self-treatment on school grounds.