Okemos school board introduces EpiPen to medication policy

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Okemos Board of Education members Vincent Lyon-Callo, Felix Sharpe and Am Lothamer read through the Medication Policy changes during Monday’s meeting.

Okemos Board of Education members Vincent Lyon-Callo, Felix Sharpe and Am Lothamer read through the Medication Policy changes during Monday’s meeting.

By Samantha VanHoef
The Meridian Times

The Okemos Public Schools Board of Education announced Feb. 9 that the Okemos Public School district would be reviewing the current medical policy dealing with the administration of anaphylactic prescription drugs.

Board of Education Parliamentarian and Policy Committee Member Tonya Rodriguez explained that the change proposed is consistent with state law, but now includes education and providing the anaphylactic drugs by the schools.

“Basically (the review) is to comply with law that emergency anaphylactics, or two EpiPens, per building be provided,” Rodriguez said.

The policy was read during the meeting to address the education of staff and administration on EpiPens and their use. The Michigan Department of Education Guidelines for Responding to an Anaphylaxis Emergency at School define anaphylaxis as “a severe and life-threatening allergic reaction.” This reaction is controlled by the use of epinephrine auto injector devices (or EpiPens). Along with the superintendent, there will now be two employees in the school who have been trained in the use of the medications and keep documentation of its use.

“We have had people trained on the use of the EpiPen,” Superintendent Catherine Ash said. “We do get individuals trained especially when it’s a significant health issue and it’s a particular medication that we want to make sure we have additional training for. It’s not just handing over a prescription.”

To provide this training for staff, the schools worked with a school nurse to train the required people, including the secretary, principal and classroom teachers who may come into contact with students who use EpiPens to control their allergies.

“We actually layered the training so the school nurse also did training with the the full staff in more of a ‘this is what is looks like’ way,” Deputy Superintendent Patricia Trelstad said. “They could have a student that gets stung by a bee and they’re on a field trip, so they all need to have some knowledge.”

While the Medication Policy is not a completely new for the district, incorporating the new terms will be “taken seriously” according to Ash.

“We want to support our staff members,” Ash said. “There are some things that they might not feel comfortable doing, but they have to. So we bring in extra training for those individuals to build that comfort level, because they need to do those medical pieces.”

Other aspects of the Medication Policy include keeping prescription drugs in the school labeled with instructions and dosage information, and the self-administration of drugs by students. The Board of Education made no changes to the aspects of self-administration.

Kiwon Kang, economist and father of Chippewa Middle School seventh grade student Michelle Kang and Central Middle School sixth grade student Ryan Kang, is not worried about the Medication Policy. Kang said that the staff distribution and education of the medication will better serve the students than parents distributing it alone.
“The demand control (of the drug) should be done not only by parents at home, but also by schools,” Kang said. “The demand control program in school may include the counseling program, the standard drug education, and EpiPens.”

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