DCHS calls attention to the medication policy

DCHS+calls+attention+to+the+medication+policy

Elyse Perry, editor

A new memo was added to the daily announcements this April, reading, “ATTENTION: NO student is to have any medication on them or in their lockers at any time.” While this announcement is just a reminder of an old rule, it came as a shock to many students and created some confusion about why the rule was suddenly being enforced.

Many DCHS students keep over-the-counter (OTC) medications like Advil and Tylenol with them in their locker, deciding to bypass the nurse’s office for convenience. However, according to the school handbook, students must keep all medications, both prescription and OTC, at the nurse’s office. As stated by the DCHS nurse, Mrs. Feeney, “We have to document when and how much medication a student takes to make sure they are not taking too much.” 

For a long time, the school has not been strict on enforcing this rule, causing many students to not follow it themselves. There are a few reasons for the change. One is that there have been changes in the nursing staff at most of the DCSC buildings. The new high school nurse noticed  some problems; Mrs. Feeney stated, “We were having students sharing medications in the middle school and the high school, so we decided to push that rule back out.” Sharing medications can be dangerous, especially among younger students, due to allergies and the dangers of mixing medicines. 

Another reason for the renewed enforcement, according to Mr. Sims, is that “[The school is] going to move in a direction where things that are kept in lockers are enforced better than they have been just because of the new environment.” With devices like vapes being kept in lockers, the school is aiming to crackdown on what students keep at school.

While all medications are supposed to be kept with the nurse, there are loopholes and plans in place for medical emergencies. Students are able to get doctor’s notes to keep things like inhalers and Epipens in their lockers. In the case of an emergency, the orange “EMERGENCY” bags kept in classrooms also contain some emergency medical devices. 

According to the handbook, there are some pretty severe punishments for keeping medication in your locker. For those worried about simple OTC medications like Advil, Mr. Sims stated, “Ibuprofen is one of those things that you can buy over-the-counter, so it probably won’t be taken as seriously as other types of drugs would.” Although they might not be taken as seriously, the handbook rule does extend to OTC medications, meaning they have to stay at the nurse’s office or there will be punishment, they just might progress slower. 

As outlined in the handbook, there is a progression of disciplinary action associated with being caught with medications, starting with a verbal warning and moving quickly to ISS and OSS. “If you bring medications to the school, they have to stay with me,” Mrs. Feeney stated. “It’s been in the handbook forever for safety. Our main goal is always the safety of our students.”