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ES-M PTOs address dangers of drugs

The Parent Teacher Organizations (PTOs) of Pine Grove Middle School and East Syracuse-Minoa High School held a joint meeting Jan. 7 for a panel discussion on teens, over-the-counter and prescription drug use. Its purpose was to provide parents with information on recognizing the warning signs among their children, as well as educating them on legal and medical issues involved.

We're trying to cover all the bases, said Ed Ames, principal at ES-M High School. This is not a reaction to a problem we've had, it's proactive to give the parents some information as to what they can do if they suspect something or if the school suspects something, and give them all the legal and medical issues.

Connie Baniewicz, school nurse at the high school, highlighted how parents can legally have medications - prescription and over-the-counter - administered in school.

They need a doctor's order and they need their signature on the form as well, she said, noting this is state law, not a district policy. The state education department requires it and the nurse practice act states that a registered nurse cannot give any medication without a doctor's order.

Why? Baniewicz explained that at the secondary level, it's not unusual for parents to give their children Tylenol in case they get a headache during the day. The problem, however, occurs when that Tylenol gets offered to a friend who has a headache.

[Kids] intend to help but they don't know that that student might have an allergy to what they're given them, or they really shouldn't be taking that medication. So then some harm has happened.

Additionally, the medicine could be misplaced, someone else picks it up and it's used inappropriately or again, there may be an allergy factor, she said.

Officer Matt Ware, school resource officer from the Manlius Police Department, discussed legal issues associated with carrying drugs in school. Without a prescription for a controlled substance, a student would be criminally arrested, he said.

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