The Ache with Painkillers

By Hayley Cotrau

The cap lock prevents toddlers and small children from taking pills that are dangerous to them, which is why school officials agree that parental consent should always be in place.

North Royalton High School students need supervision from the school nurse to take over-the-counter pain killers in school. Since the district changed the phone policy this year, several other policies have been questioned by students. Although this issue has been raised, school officials aren’t budging because they said it’s a safety precaution to protect students from substance abuse.

Ms. Babiak, the school nurse, explained that the school’s medicine policy for taking over-the-counter painkillers is that the nurse needs a completed Administration of Medication Request, a medication form that is filled out by parents only.  If the nurse does not have the proper paperwork or medication specifically for that student, then she will call home and explain the procedure to the parent and the school’s policy.  The form and medication provided is labeled and locked up in the clinic.

¨Students with headache pain can go down to the clinic and rest until they feel better,¨ said Ms. Babiak. “But if it’s unbearable then I will call home for parental consent.¨

“The reason students cannot take over-the-counter painkillers without parental consent is it’s a behaviour issue,” said Officer Karl, the school officer who has experience with substance abuse. He also said, “It’s important for staff and parents to know and acknowledge the process of medication. It deals with a history of substance abuse, and people tend to take unprescribed medicine and that has caused the policy to be the way it is.¨

Many times Officer Karl has caught a student taking over-the-counter painkillers in the hallway, and he said there is a possibility of other dangerous behaviour involved because they are doing it outside of the school policy. “It could lead to substance abuse, even though the student is probably just taking it for a headache, so it’s a protective measure not to target one student,” said Officer Karl.

Senior Samantha Edmison said,“I feel like since there isn’t an age on buying over-the-counter painkillers, students should be able to take it when they need to.” Samantha also stated that she thinks the policy is too harsh.

When a student is caught taking over-the-counter painkillers in the hallway it becomes a minor infraction. It’s also a violation of school rules and school discipline would be put in action, where the student would need to talk to a school principal.

Officer Karl and Ms. Babiak agree with the policy and would not let their children take over-the-counter painkillers unsupervised. “Overuse of the medication can lead to other health complications. Even though it is effective it should be supervised, ” stated Officer Karl.

Edmison said people who take Advil aren’t necessarily doing other drugs.  “If I could change the policy, I’d allow students to take over-the-counter painkillers when needed,” said Edmison.

Despite some students’ dislike for the policy, Officer Karl said, “I don’t believe the policy is too harsh, and there are good reasons for why it is how it is.”

Hayley Cotrau

Hayley Cotrau is the middle child, with three brothers, one older, and two younger. Her favorite color is red, and her favorite place to go is Brecksville Reservation. Her favorite drink is root beer, and her favorite movie is either Stephen King’s It or The Great Gatsby.