He was only 12 and he ended up dying during recess at school from a severe asthma attack. Normally Ryan Gibbons would simply grab his inhaler. But his prescription inhaler was locked up in the principals office. The school had taken it away from him.
He gasped and gasped, and it was his friends who picked their buddy up, carrying him to the office, where his inhaler was locked up. But it was too late. Ryan passed out and never recovered.
The tragic event took place on Oct. 9, 2012, at Elgin County School in Straffordville, Ontario, Canada. Sarah Gibbons, the mother, is taking charge of a campaign to get schools to reverse the idiotic policy of locking inhalers up, denying sufferers from being able to have them on their persons.
It’s being dubbed “Ryan’s Law.”
It would force schools to let kids who have a doctor’s note to indeed carry inhalers in school, whether in their pocket or in their backpack or book bags.
Matter of fact, the young boy used to bring an extra inhaler with him for this very reason. In case he couldn’t get to the office in time, he could use the one on his person. But the school kept taking away his spare one.
Here’s Ryan’s mom:
“I received many a phone call stating Ryan had taken an inhaler to school and they found it in his bag and would like me to come pick it up because he wasn’t even allowed to bring it home with him. There’s supposed to be one in the office and that’s the only one he can have. I didn’t understand why.”
Very hard to understand indeed. What in the world this anti-inhaler policy was out to prove is totally unclear and indeed disheartening to learn about.
All 50 states in the U.S. allow kids to carry their inhalers by law. Yet still some American schools won’t allow it.
It could come down to liability issues as one expert stated that if a student administered it incorrectly or allowed another student to use it they are afraid of being sued.
“I understand these concerns, but what’s the liability in allowing a child with asthma to exercise without having access to an inhaler when a nurse may or may not even be at the school?” says Maureen George who is a nursing professor at the University of Pennsylvania.
She also says that schools use the general anti-drug policy to rationalize their inhaler bans.
“But do prescription medications really need to be grouped with illicit drugs?” George questions.
Indeed, a sad state of affairs and a law that definitely should be reversed before more students needing an inhaler are denied use of one.