The Philadelphia teachers union says the school district is violating state regulations by having principals and counselors hand out prescription medication to children.
The union filed a complaint over the weekend with the state Department of Health asking it to investigate the district’s policies.
Jerry Jordan, president of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, said state guidelines stipulate nurses cannot lawfully delegate administration of medication to a principal or teacher.
“We don’t want to be standing here in the future talking about a child who was given the wrong medication and is in the hospital as a result of the district violating these guidelines,” Jordan said at a news conference Wednesday.
Lauren Perez has a diabetic son about to enter Kindergarten in the district.
“While I think that it is very kind that people who are not medical professionals would want to hand out medications to children, it’s irresponsible,” Perez said. “You don’t understand the intricacies of dosing medications with children.”
The district has long had a policy allowing principals or their designees to administer medication when a nurse is not in the building.
A school spokesman maintains the policy is within the requirements of the law.
The complaint from the union comes after a new round of nurse layoffs in December.
The district cut its nursing staff by more than a third since last year as it struggled to deal with a $715 million budget shortfall this academic year.
That means more days when schools are without a nurse in the building.