Fourth grader Emma Gonzales had a rough welcome back at school on Monday after a weekend in the hospital, where she was prescribed an inhaler for her coughing fits. Emma's parents have three kids and none of them have ever had any medical issues that required taking medication in school, so they sent her off assuming she'd be able to actually use the inhaler. Psych! Enjoy coughing till you puke, Emma, because that's what your school administrators recommend!
Since her folks didn't fill out the appropriate paperwork confirming the new medicine was Emma's, her inhaler was taken away from her when she pulled it out and she was told to go to the principal. She was made to push through her coughing fit without any medical aid. Emma described what the fits are like, "When I get into the coughing fit, I kind of hurtle up on the ground, can't breathe and then I start to kind of feel a little nauseous.” In the end, she added (sadly), she ended up puking on her pants, which is perhaps the most humiliating thing that a fourth grader can experience in public.
Does Columbia Elementary regret their decision now that the media spotlight has been shined on them? NO. They insist they did it for her safety. The district spokeswoman Sandy Riesgraf says:
“There could be all sorts of problems if children were just allowed to take any medication and we didn't have that verification. Again, this is for the student's safety.”
That does sound like a reasonable precaution. However, Emma's parents are still pretty understandably pissed, since the school called Mr. Gonzales and he verbally confirmed it was her medication and begged them to give it to her. They refused. Her parents have pulled Emma from school until they can get the paperwork figured out, since they don't want her to go through anything so scary again. Meanwhile, Columbia Elementary is like, "No air? Don't care."