question about medications and teachers


New Member
Last week, my difficult child had a pediatrician. appointment. While we were there, difficult child mentioned that if she has a bad day at school, the teachers and or principal always asks her if we forgot to give her her medications before school. The pediatrician. said that the school has no business asking this question and if they ask again, she is to tell them that they aren't supposed to ask her this. Well, the very next day, the teacher asked her again, and difficult child said that she wasnn't supposed to be asked that question. The teacher said that she has every right to ask her this because it's her business to find out. When difficult child told me this she said that the teacher was angry when she told her not to ask this. The school also asked me to send a few extra pills to school so they could administer them if they felt she needed them. I told them I wasn't confortable with this as I was worried that she would get a double dose. They said that they would call me at work to find out if she had taken her medications that morning, but I told them that my husband gives the medications before school as I am already at work, and I wouldn't know if she had taken them or not, so I couldn't give them permission. The pediatrician. also said that the school wasn't to be asking for medications. The pediatrician. said she would be sending the school a letter explaining this to them, but the school still feels they have the right to do what they want in this matter. Anybody else had a similar experience?


New Member
I know that in the States (at least some states) this is definitely against the law. I once complained to the principal because my son's K teacher was pushing medications. They sound way out of line. That said, I don't know what Canadian policy is. I would research it, because I bet there are policies against it.

I would go to your province's ministry of education and to the special education part and see what kinds of policies exist.

Perhaps your daughter could say that her medications are being supervised by her doctor, and that is between her doctor and her. You too obviously make the same comment, I would think in a letter to the principal.

You might want to take this to the Special Education board. I bet they have some good responses.


Well-Known Member
I would be typing up a letter right away to send certified to the principal of the school with copies to his/her boss the superintendent of your school district. I would tell them that your difficult child mentioned the teacher asking about medications to both you and her doctor. Let them know that you and her doctor told her that they were not supposed to ask her that, that only her mom and dad are to talk about her medicine with the school.

Let them know about this latest incident and then advise them that no one at your daughter's school is alowed to discuss medications with her. If they have any issues regarding your daugher's behavior, they are to contact either you or your husband.

I'm not sure whether this crosses the illegal line, but it certainly is a stupid, uncaring, moronic thing for the teacher to do. Make sure the principal and the district are aware.

The school has absolutely no right to ask this question. If the teacher or the principal uses the "it is our right" excuse again, ask them where it states they have that right and you want it in writting.

Sorry you have to deal with this from your difficult child's school and sorry that difficult child has to go through this. Hopefully difficult child understands that she has not culpability in this.


Sara PA

New Member
In the USA the 2005 extension of the federal regulations that govern Special Education prohibit schools from requiring that children be given stimulants to attend school so even if a child didn't take her medication, it simply isn't the schools business. If it were to happen in this country, theoretically there is a legal response so a USAn parent might have options to handle things differently.

That's a pretty intimidating position the school has put your daughter in. It seems from what the pediatrician has said that the question is out of line in Canada. Unfortunately by pursuing the question, your daughter is caught in a situation where she has to defy one or the other group of adults -- either not answer the teacher/principal's questions or not give the non-answer you/the pediatrician have told her to give.


Well-Known Member
I have no clue why some countries feel stims are the answer to all problems anyways (in he case of many kids, it makes them worse), but I hope in Canada there is a law prohibiting this kind of forced medication issue from non-medical people (teachers) from putting their noses where it doesn't belong. Why is it this teacher's business? Why does the principal feel qualified to administer medications? For the short time that my son was on stims (and what a horrible experience it was!), I never sent them to school. He got them before and after school only. I didn't like medications at school. The school didn't know when he started taking them and when he stopped. They're educators. Nothing else.

timer lady

Queen of Hearts
We had issues with the SD trying to control wm's treatment plan & questioning diagnosis's. It was frustrating (& against the law) beyond belief!

Our mental health case manager straightened SD out quickly with a letter from psychiatrist, therapist & the entire assessment team. SD's job is to by law, educate with therapeutic supports in place as dictated by our difficult children challenges.

I hope you can find a way for your school to back off on what they have no business in.


Active Member
I don't think the issue here is whether the school is insisting that the child be medicated (which I agree with being illegal) - I read it as the school, knowing that the child is SUPPOSED to be medicated, is asking if this did indeed happen this day. Is THIS against the law? They're not doing anything like, "if you don't medicate this child we will not teach her."

In our situation - we didn't have any problem with the school asking this question. Our difficult children were SUPPOSED to be medicated - our decision - and if the teacher noticed that the kids were not 'on the ball' I ENCOURAGED them to ask (discreetly). They were not supposed to screech across the classroom angrily, "Did you get your pills this morning?" and in fact they never did.
But I did occasionally get a phone call asking me, "Did difficult child 3 get his medications today? Because he really is having a lot more trouble than usual staying on task."
I would check and report back. Sometimes I would call the school and let them know, "difficult child 3 forgot his medications this morning," and I would formally ask them to medicate him according to the previously-agreed regime. If I did not have written permission for this as a blanket arrangement with the school, I either had to fax my permission for that day, or go to the school myself to medicate him. Failing to medicate him meant that for the teacher and difficult child 3, the day was basically wasted. It is better to know early so you can cut your losses.

Back when difficult child 1 was 10, our Teachers Federation brought in a rule that teachers were not permitted to medicate kids, even with parental permission. This was really nasty - we had no long-acting medications in Australia back then and there were many reasons why a child needed to be medicated by school staff. A child might be on antibiotics; a kid might be asthmatic or severely allergic, and need emergency medications; a kid with epilepsy would need to take medications through the school day; some kids were insulin-dependent diabetics. In years past these kids ALL had to go to special schools - putting them in mainstream has meant much more responsibility beyond teaching, for our school staff. But with this nasty directive we had 18 months or more of parents having to trek to the kids' schools, several times a day sometimes, to medicate their kids. The kids were not permitted to carry medications with them. difficult child 1 was at a school over an hour's drive from home, and had to walk through city streets to where his father worked, to get his medications. A ten year old, walking through a fairly rough part of inner Sydney. Not good.

The situation now - a designated school staff member has the medications for each designated student in a locked cupboard. The student has to report to that staff member for medications. The parents have to supply a letter from the doctor; a letter from them authorising the staff member to medicate the kids with (name of drug and dosage); the medications in a bottle with a current prescription label for that child and confirming the dosage; and the teacher signs off on a sheet to indicate that the child attended to take medications.
This is only for medications which need to be taken while the child is away from parental custody. But our schools DO ask the kids, "I know you're supposed to have x medications, did you get it when you should have?"
I frankly think, in this situation, this is highly appropriate. I wish it weren't necessary, but there it is.

Our situation is far from perfect - the bas***ds never refused to medicate kids with epilepsy or diabetes, but DID refuse to dose ADHD kids "because it's not as serious." And now - if a kid with ADHD fails to turn up to be medicated (because they're impulsive, forgetful and everything else) then the schools generally will not pursue this - it makes me really angry, it does so much damage. THAT'S especially when schools SHOULD ask, "Have you had your medications? If not, report to Mrs X for your scheduled medications. She can check your chart and make sure."

I think the pediatrician in this case needs a reality check. Ideally the child is entitled to confidentiality, but teachers who teach the kid regularly will know when something is not right, and asking that question can help them and the child. This is about balancing the right to privacy vs the right to have your head on straight so you can focus on the lesson. If the child is normally on medications, is supposed to be on medications and for whatever reason there has been an error, I don't see a problem with the school asking the parent that question. If you choose to not allow the school to medicate her themselves, that is your choice. With the risk of double-dosing I would refuse too.
But in our case - when they rang and asked me, "Did he have his medications?" and I discovered he did not, I would apologise to the school. I had undertaken the responsibility of medicating my child (my reasons - not their business) but we both knew that without the medications, their job was much harder and he had an appalling day.



New Member
well where my son goes he has to take medications or he can not is a private school.the school has been great with me.last year when he would not take them for me the school nurse would come in a little early to help give it to him.i dont hide the fact that he takes medications.but if this bothers you you have every right to ask the teacher not to maby she is asking out of concern then you should have a meeting with the teacherand if she is fowlling your request co to the principle.olso what kind of medications does she take is it something that she needs.....cause my son can not go without medications..


Active Member
I've given medications at school because the child took them from anyone else besides her mom. I've also worked with parents to find the right medications. I would report to them how the child was doing. If the child had a rough day I'd ask the parent if the child had his medications. I figured that the parent would want to know especially if he had had the medications and was still having trouble. I don't see why the teacher would be getting upset if the child doesn't answer. It'd be better anyway if the teacher talked to the parents instead of the child. It would be unfortante if the sd was trying to control treatment. They just don't have the expertise.

Wiped Out

Well-Known Member
Staff member
This is just a teacher take. They shouldn't be asking the student but I would understand asking the parent if I noticed a major change on some days. I guess I feel like this because forgetting to give a medication does happen (I know of students that it happens frequently). If it happens frequently the student is at a disadvantage for learning if it is something they need. I don't think the district should have any right in decidint treatment. If the parents don't want the medications at school or to be called about it that should be respected as well. I know for me, and it's just me, I wouldn't mind a call-although luckily so far we haven't forgotten to give out medications. Just another take on the situation.


New Member
<span style="color: #3333FF">the problem seem to be more in the way/tone the teacher is using. can she not quietly have the nurse contact husband?? also, is husband consistent in making sure your daughter gets her medications? so you feel that the teacher is using this as a format to harass your daughter??? (i'm very pro teacher & would hate to think that she is doing this, but still it's worth asking.) is she asking about the medications in a private way or in front of the whole class & thereby breaching her confidentiality?

i think i would write to the teacher & direct her that all medication questions are to be directed to the parents only in a private way....not calling you & asking on the classroom phone IOW. put her on notice that any further questioning of your daughter would be considered harassment. send it certified....with-copies going to the principal & the superintendent.

kris </span>


Well-Known Member
Staff member
A teacher's job is to educate but that can't happen if the child is bouncing off the walls. The other students in the class are also affected.

My take may be different in that I deal with older students who are supposed to remember to take their medicine at school and often forget. So I see nothing wrong with asking them confidentially (in the hall) if they have forgotten to take their medicine when I notice a marked change in behavior. I have never had a student or parent complain that I asked.

I agree with Marg that I didn't read the original post as the school pushing medicine on the child. In this case, the child already is on medications and it is a question whether they have taken them or not.

However, if the parent feels strongly about this issue I certainly would not push it and would not ask anymore. I would then just deal with any bad behavior as non-medication related and apply the same consequences for that behavior as any non special-needs child.

by the way, kris, I was a little amused at the idea of a classroom telephone. In the 27 years that I have spent in the classroom, I have never had a telephone in the classroom. It's usually on the other side of the building at best. I'm always envious when I hear that teachers actually can pick up a phone in their classroom to contact parents or anyone else. :smile:



Well-Known Member
I don't think anyone should "push" children, or students, to take medication. However, I can see it from the view point of a teacher. Especially, if it is causing a disruption. The other students are being affected and valuable instruction time is being lost.

I try not to put my nose where it doesn't belong, but if I know a student is a difficult child on medications, I DO cut them a bit more slack and deal with them, behavior-wise, a little differently. I'm not so quick to lower the boom, they get an extra warning.

I do have one difficult child student who was really struggling with her peer relationships, and outbursts, in class. She comes and talks to me when she is really having a hard time. I didn't ask, but she confided to me that her Grandmother couldn't afford her medications anymore and she knew it was having a big affect on her behavior. That can be useful information for a teacher.

However, if it's becoming a matter of routine, I don't think I would like that myself if it were my difficult children. Don't overreact. Find out first why she is doing the asking. Then, take appropriate action. Yes, it is the law that she cannot ask. But, find out first her reasons for doing so, first.


New Member
I agree that some days if difficult child hasn't been given medications, it can be a very "hyper" day for all concerned at the school. I just don't like the way the teacher asks difficult child about her medications all the time, and alot of the time it's in front of other children. The other kids in her class are all aware that she takes medications, and sometimes they call her names because of that. Ultimately, that can cause difficult child to become agitated, creating a "bad day". There are very few days where husband has forgotten to give her her medications, but because he works midnights and is asleep during the day, I have no way of knowing if difficult child had her medications that day. As most of us know, our children being on medications isn't the magic cure ( although it would be nice) and most times if difficult child has a bad day, she is on her medications. The school has also asked if we could give her an extra half dose in the afternoon to help her finish the day. I find that on some days, difficult child is pretty "wound" by the time she gets home, but according to the school, this usually doesn't start until around 3:00. If I were to give her more medications in the afternoon, she would never get to sleep, as that's one of the side effects that I find bothers her the most. Sometimes I get the feeling that the school expects perfect behavior or else they want me to up the medication dose. I appreciate when they call to tell me if difficult child has had an "off" day because i keep track of this info for the pediatrician., but I just hate when they imply that "maybe difficult child could be taking a higher dose".


New Member
This seems quite odd to me the school district here doesn't like to do this at all. Only with strict info from dr.'s will they pass out medication's.

I swear it seems teachers are the first to think a child needs medications, I had a 5 yr old in kindergarden first school setting in his life, 1/2 day of school and his teacher swore up and down he had ADHD, so I got him tested they said oh yes he for sure did. 1 pill of Concerta and he almost died because of the effects, horrible. This year, 1st grade, and NO problems, best kid in class. Wonderful grades and no signs of ADHD at all.

It's just a little too quick to want to give the pills out.


Active Member
My concern here is that the pediatrician has said that the school shouldn't be asking AT ALL if difficult child has had her medications. Not asking the child, not asking the parents. I still can't see what is wrong with the school asking this, it would be a help, not a hindrance.

If the school were saying they would medicate the child if she said she had missed her medications, I would be concerned. Nothing should be administered without parental approval and a paper trail. But knowing the child is on medications, seeing a possible deterioration in behaviour and asking discreetly - I think the pediatrician's attitude is causing a problem here.

Kathy, I had to chuckle. You said, "by the way, kris, I was a little amused at the idea of a classroom telephone. In the 27 years that I have spent in the classroom, I have never had a telephone in the classroom."

Our local school (quite small and getting smaller) HAS got phones in every classroom. They're connected to the school switchboard (which is fairly primitive) and a lot of calls are directed through the office rather than from the class teacher, but that's more for confidentiality and not taking up too much of the teacher's time.
So maybe Aussie schools aren't as behind-the-times as I have been thinking?



New Member
<span style="color: #990000">lol, kathy. in our county all classrooms have phones in them. coming from jersey i found it odd when we first moved down here.

kris </span>