CCLE Actions Resources 

BOARD WEIGHS DRUG POLICY; LAW LIMITS ROLE OF SCHOOL STAFF
THE HARTFORD COURANT, October 12, 2001 Friday
By: OSHRAT CARMIEL; Courant Staff Writer

The board of education is considering a new policy that would bar school officials from recommending drugs such as Ritalin and Prozac for students, a policy the state legislature is requiring all school districts to implement.

The proposed policy in Newington, which board members first saw Wednesday night, explicitly prohibits all school personnel from recommending the use of psychotropic drugs for any student.

The policy does allow the school medical staff to recommend that a medical practitioner evaluate a student -- but the staff may not specifically recommend a drug. Staff members may also consult with a medical practitioner about whether the student should be using psychotropic drugs.

Under state law, the policy must be implemented in all school districts this month, said Pat Krin, head nurse at Newington schools.

The state law was sponsored by Rep. Lenny T. Winkler, R-Groton, who said she introduced the bill after hearing too many stories about parents feeling pressured by school officials to treat their children's problems with psychotropic drugs. Winkler said earlier this year that she does not believe school officials are qualified to make recommendations about such drugs to parents. But since teachers are held in high esteem, Winkler said, parents would listen to their medical recommendations.

The school board is scheduled to vote on the policy Oct. 24.