From: Robina Suwol
Date: 29 Oct 2001
Remote Name: 188.8.131.52
Cox News Service
School administrators at some of the 406 schools contacted did not know that asthma could kill.
"Schools can be a dangerous place for students with asthma and allergies," said Sharon Ifft, of the Virginia-based Allergy & Asthma Network Mothers of Asthmatics.
Even more frightening, the schools were reporting an increase in students with these disorders, yet AANMA found that many schools didn't allow students to carry inhalers or other medications used to fight asthma and allergies.
About the time that Barnard died, a desperate Pennsylvania mother called on AANMA to help her wage war against her child's restrictive school district.
The result: the Bristol Township school district overturned previous policies.
The letter the AANMA sent to the School Board, like the survey, was eye-opening for many of us who don't have to deal with these problems.
It said that 5,000 people die of asthma each year, and that most asthma deaths are preventable.
It went on to recount a heart-wrenching tale of a New Orleans high school student who sought permission to go to the school clinic to use her inhaler when she felt ill.
"Because she didn't look like she was struggling to breathe, security guards detained her for a short while before allowing her to proceed. She reached the clinic but found the inhaler was not helping.
"She asked for rescue services to be called, but even this decision was delayed due to lack of physical evidence that she was having a life- threatening attack and due to confusion about who was authorized to make such a call.
"By the time rescue services arrived, the young girl was dead."
Terrifying. No wonder the School Board was convinced. AANMA reports many states are now enacting laws to ensure a student's right to carry life-saving medication at school and school-related activities.
Florida is one of those states. A student is permitted, under state law, to carry an inhaler in school when the child has approval of parents and doctors, and when the school principal has a copy of the required approvals.
AANMA also suggests that parents set up their own action plans with their child's school, and offers a school packet for $10 at its Web site.
Copyright 2001 Cox News Service. All rights reserved.
Or parents can contact the American Lung Association at (800) 586-4872 for information on asthma.
(The Cox web site is at http://www.coxnews.com )