Teachers gave out pills on excursion
NOBODY enjoys long-haul flights with children but teachers taking two classes on an excursion to Italy are under fire for handing out sleepinducing antihistamines to teens.
In a move that has alarmed some parents, three students from Freeman Catholic College in Bonnyrigg Heights are understood to have been given over-the-counter Phenergan pills.
The school insists that written parental permission was given for students to receive appropriate medical treatment and giving the drug did not breach guidelines or policies.
While Phenergan’s primary use is to counter an allergic reaction, some doctors recommend using the drug to help children sleep.
However, the practice remains controversial with others in the medical community warning against its use as a sedative instead of an antihistamine.
Online mothers’ groups regularly hold fierce debates on its use to help children sleep.
Some schools keep Phenergan as part of the first aid and emergency response to incidents such as anaphylactic shock from an allergic reaction.
One parent, who did not want to be identified, initially claimed students had been given “sleeping pills” before learning it was Phenergan. Another parent, who also requested anonymity, said teachers should not be giving sedatives to teenagers.
“Teachers should be calming students down by talking to them, addressing their fears, not teaching them to resort to medication,” the parent said.
Eight teachers accompanied the Year 10 history and Year 12 Italian language class students on the 15day trip to Rome, Florence and Pompeii.
A school spokesman confirmed three students were given “medical assistance” for a “range of anxietyrelated issues”.
Executive Director of Sydney Catholic Schools, Dr Dan White, said written parental permission was given for students to receive appropriate medical treatment while on the excursion.
Parents had also received briefings prior to the excursion.
Dr White said no breach of any mandated guidelines had occurred, with teachers following all relevant school policies.
He said he was disappointed the concerned parents had not taken their complaints directly to the school.
“This is especially disappointing when teachers go over and above to ensure that students are given the opportunity to access the curriculum in such an enriching way through an overseas excursion,” he said.
“Our teachers are committed to the wellbeing of our students and take their responsibilities of acting in loco parentis very seriously.
“The provision of over-the-counter medication to assist children and young people who are ill or distressed, are the types of decisions parents make each and every day.”
Freeman Catholic College.