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What would you do about this potentially dangerous situation?

(39 Posts)
colditz Thu 13-Dec-12 16:40:52

My children were taken to a pantomime by the school this afternoon. They were half an hour late back for pick up time.

They were both told to leave leave their bags behind, which contain their inhalers. Both children asthmatic.

Ds1 is autistic, and cannot be relied upon to communicate distress. He was in difficulty by the time I picked him up from the theatre, due to not having access to his inhalers.

I've told the school how angry I am, and how dangerous this decision was, and also that I will not be sending ds1 on the school trip next year, which is four nights away from home, as they couldn't even keep him safe for two hours.

Have I over reacted? What would you do?

FivesGoldNorks Thu 13-Dec-12 16:43:36

Definitely not!

Tingalingle Thu 13-Dec-12 16:43:41

Goodness. no, you haven't overreacted, but the onus has to be on the school to review its asthma policies, not on you to remove your children from trips.

Just for comparison:
DD has asthma, very mild these days as it's well controlled by steroids. She rarely needs her blue inhaler.

School still check she has it with her for every trip, even across the road to the church hall.

FlojoHoHoHo Thu 13-Dec-12 16:47:33

No you haven't over reacted at all. I'm a ta and wouldn't dream of taking the kids anywhere without their inhalers. No matter how mild, if a child is prescribed one, then the school should take it and be extra vigilant of all children with asthma or any additional needs.

LIZS Thu 13-Dec-12 16:47:41

Complain - surely one of their policies (H & S, Risk Assessment, CP) should cover medical requirements and it ahs failed. If they do not allow children to bring it themselves they should have a system for a nominated member of staff to do so.

FlojoHoHoHo Thu 13-Dec-12 16:48:55

Just to add, I would make a formal complaint to make sure this kind of thing never happens again, next time it could be much worse.

SantasNaughtySack Thu 13-Dec-12 16:51:27

How old are your children? When I was at school, we had to leave our bags behind but it was expected that we'd take medication etc in blazer pockets. Could it be that the school have assumed this was the case? Obviously they should have checked, but a situation like that might be less awful?

TheProvincialLady Thu 13-Dec-12 16:51:29

I think a letter to the head and the chair of governors is in order. Next time a child could become seriously ill. There is no excuse - busy time of year, pantomime, running late etc.

mrz Thu 13-Dec-12 16:52:23

Does the school know they have inhalers in their bags? We keep inhalers in a secure place and the teacher carries them on external visits.

TheProvincialLady Thu 13-Dec-12 16:52:47

Incidentally, what was the school's reaction?

Shallishanti Thu 13-Dec-12 16:53:44

yes, governors, they will be responsible for the policies
very, very bad practice

EarlyInTheMorning Thu 13-Dec-12 16:54:39

This is extremely dangerous and you haven't overreacted at all. I also think a letter to the ht and the governors is an absolute must.

colditz Thu 13-Dec-12 16:56:55

The school know they have their inhalers in their bags, they have always had their inhalers in their bags, and I tell each new teacher every year.

I think I am going to have to formally complain. I really wanted ds1 to do this trip, he's nine and it would have been his first. I don't see how I can send him now.

mrz Thu 13-Dec-12 17:01:39

We don't allow children to leave medication in bags where other children could potentially access the medicine which in itself is a safety concern.

SauvignonBlanche Thu 13-Dec-12 17:03:23

That's bad! shock

RiversideMum Thu 13-Dec-12 17:21:59

I too am surprised that the school allows them to keep inhalers in their bags. We keep them in medical boxes in the classrooms. They are always taken with us on trips (however short). We also have a tick sheet for inhalers so that we know how many puffs the children have been given.

You are understandably angry. But maybe, you need to give the school the chance to remedy the error in its policy and assure you that your child will be kept safe in future. There are lots of children using inhalers, and they must have dealt with them on residential trips before.

coppertop Thu 13-Dec-12 18:59:18

Ds wasn't allowed to keep his inhaler in his bag until he got to secondary school. At primary school the staff took it with them on trips, even though he rarely needed it at school.

Their policy needs to be reviewed asap.

Arithmeticulous Thu 13-Dec-12 19:12:02

At our school, there's a tub of inhalers/epipens/whatever that goes with the class, to the extent that it is taken from the school to the school swimming pool in the playground

KingscoteStaff Thu 13-Dec-12 19:19:39

There is no way that they should be allowed to keep inhalers in their bags. All inhalers/epipens/diabetic emergency chocolate should live in a bag/box in the class teacher's desk so that the whole thing travels with the children on trips/out to PE/etc.

The only exception to that in our school is that Year 6s are allowed to keep inhalers in their pockets to prepare them for secondary.

colditz Thu 13-Dec-12 20:06:09

I don't want to send them to school tomorrow. I feel almost betrayed, as silly as that sounds. I spend the majority of my time keeping them both safe from ds1s autism, their dad is useless, I am a single parent, and now even the school have let me down. I feel so alone with their needs ATM. At least if I keep them here with me nobody else can fail them, because I know I won't.

Narked Thu 13-Dec-12 20:14:46

I'm not surprised sad

I think you need a meeting with the head, the teachers and anyone at the school who has SEN/health & safety in their job title. I would write down your concerns in a letter and hand that over so it's official (keeping a copy for yourself) and ask for a copy of their policy on this and a review of that policy.

It really is a big deal when your DS can't communicate his distress.

Narked Thu 13-Dec-12 20:15:44

Sorry, that should be their policy on medicines ^

butterflymum Thu 13-Dec-12 20:17:09

For future benefit of your children and others at school with asthma, I would direct your school to this site:

and in particular the Guidelines and How To Packs available for download.

littlestressy Thu 13-Dec-12 20:19:05

That is very very bad practice, this school needs to review its asthma/inhaler policy asap.
Normally on a school trip a child's inhaler should be with the leader of their group, basically in case the child loses or leaves their bag somewhere. Then, on return to school the inhaler can be put back into the medical drawer/tray where they should live.
I think it would be a good idea to talk to school/teacher and arrange for your children's inhalers to be kept in class in a special place. They can then be taken on a trip with their leader.
What was the response by the school when you explained how angry and dangerous them not having their inhalers was?

SavoyCabbage Thu 13-Dec-12 20:20:56

I would be furious and I understand that you now feel,like you can't trust the school.

My dd's teacher has to take all the medication for her class on all trips. Even epipens and things to swimming where they aren't eating or anything.

The school should have the inhalers stored in the classroom or the office. They shouldn't just be in bags. If it was needed they would then be searching through bags to find it. There are so many things that could go wrong with that.

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