MONUMENT, Colo. (CBS4) – She says she was just trying to help a friend, but now two students from Monument face expulsion after one loaned another her asthma inhaler.

Alyssa McKinney thought her friend, Breana Crites, was having an asthma attack during gym class. It happened at Lewis-Palmer Middle School. Both Eighth-graders were suspended for 10 days.

The principal told CBS4 he couldn’t talk about the case but said it comes down to two students sharing prescription drugs, which is against school policy.

The girls told CBS4 that even though they are facing stiff consequences, they’d do it all over again.

“I thought I was having and asthma attack and she’s seen people have asthma attacks,” Crites said. “So she thought I was having one too and she was worried. She’s like, ‘Just use this, it will help you.’ ”

Crites suffered an allergic reaction to the inhaler and had to visit the school nurse. The principal found out what happened and suspended both girls.

The principal sent a letter home to McKinney’s parents.

“I’m extending the suspension for five more days … and recommending expulsion from the Lewis-Palmer School District,” the letter stated.

The letter claims the students violated the school’s drug policy.

“The inhaler is actually a prescription drug,” the Lewis-Palmer School District superintendent said.

The superintendent wants the students to learn from the incident.

“They could have an adverse side-effect that they’ve never thought about,” he said. “I think, absolutely, the suspension is appropriate.”

“I would never give someone a medication and risk them dying,” McKinney said.

Crites doesn’t have asthma.

Students and parents believe McKinney did the right thing by trying to help her classmate. They don’t think the punishment is fair.

“It’s not like they were maliciously doing it. She was in a panic, her friend thought that it was an asthmatic attack, and so they did it,” Crites’ mother said.

“I missed high school registration. I’m missing out on all of this because I tried to help someone,” McKinney said.

The superintendent said the expulsion will be determined when school officials get all the details.

Comments (371)
  1. google says:

    This is a very good tip especially to those new
    to the blogosphere. Brief but very precise info… Many thanks
    for sharing this one. A must read article!

  2. Dan says:

    It would do us ALL good to keep our children away from these MORONIC,
    STUPID, INCOMPETANT sorry excuses for school administrators.
    What the H..ll were you thinking.
    Hows that for child development WHOA!!
    These kind of people are REALLY!! scarey

  3. Josh Taylor says:

    Since the two did the crime, they will be held indefinitely under the NDAA and their birth records will be deleted and lose their birthright under the Enemy Expatriation Act. Remember that sharing inhalers count as terrorism.

  4. ml66uk says:

    Can we not suspend the principal?

  5. waywayout says:

    The girls did nothing wrong – both are fine except for being expelled which is sad. The principal is the one which needs permanently expelled from school. He has already proven he no longer is human. Terminate his employment and hire someone that still has a heart beating.

  6. Louis says:

    I will remember who this superintendent is. If I ever see him in need of medical attention I will simply ignore him and keep walking.

  7. Waycinden says:

    Colorado has a Good Samaritan law which should apply in this situation: it makes no distinction based on the age of the person attempting to give aid, and protects that person from civil liability in the case of a medical emergency, except in the case of gross negligence or “willful and wanton” acts. Why should a child face expulsion from school for a well-intentioned act that would have had no legal consequences for an adult? What lesson are we trying to teach?

  8. chris says:

    The best part of this whole argument is that everyone is assuming that these girls are telling the truth….14 year old girls never lie…..

  9. John King says:

    More people die having sex then die from an inhaler.

  10. JMLieder says:

    Ok, so giving another person a prescription drug isn’t a good idea and should be cause for some kind of discipline and taught to not ever do it again and made aware of what the dangers could have been. But expulsion??? Come on!!! A reason to kick the kids out of school, sounds like a great idea. They need to have their butts in the classroom, not kicked to the street. Schools rely entirely too much on no-tolerance policies that it’s getting ridiculous. Why just rely on expulsion? When you violate a school policy rather than use it as a learning experience, just take them out and shoot them. Hell, no learning goes on in schools anyway.

  11. Daisy says:

    The girls were suspended by the same mindless bureaucrats who have demanded that every other school child be placed ON prescription drugs so that the befuddled unionized bureaucrats who ‘teach’ them can have a more manageable classroom.

    Homeschool.

  12. JAFCO says:

    If you noticed the wording in the report. “because of what could have happened” their facing expulsion. WHAT … And by the way, whose idea was it for the student to keep the inhaler in his/her possession. Most districts keep all students medication in the nurses office. Sounds like someone’s covering their own mistake, “My Principal” …

    1. My $.00002 worth says:

      They are called “rescue inhalers” for a reason. Just like an epi-pen, when things go critical, seconds count, and you don’t want your meds locked away in some administrator’s cabinet. You need it in your possession NOW. At any given time I probably have half a dozen inhalers around: in my home office, on my nightstand, in the glove box of my car. When exercising, I either have one in my hand or perched directly in front of me on whatever apparatus I’m sweating on – because I don’t want to be too far away from one when I need it. And my condition is relatively mild most of the time.

  13. Kevin says:

    fine. suspend the kids for breaking policy. but an expulsion??? really??? this wasn’t two kids freebasing coke in the girls’ room. this was one girl trying to help another. what good will it serve to kick the kids out of school? THAT is how they need to go in order to teach them a lesson? i am SO tired of the zero tolerance policies of schools that are being instituted by lawyers. common sense left the room long ago.

  14. David Lisowski says:

    A student using a rescue inhaler in a situation like that should be applauded.When I was down on the barrier island, far from the hospital my wife’s niece had a major attack – and she forgot her nebulizer. We called her doctor, told him I had albuterol, he said to do it. Wham situation over, back to vacation, not the emergency room 20 miles away. As a former Rec League soccer coach I often had kids dropped off all the time that were one breath away from their last. Yet, because of these laws if one of them had a major attack I was told that I was to NOT use my inhaler in any situation. It is preferable for the kid to die than to give them a “drug” without the proper procedures being followed. Good think I don’t soccer coach anymore. What a strange country it is.

    1. Waycinden says:

      David, Colorado has a Good Samaritan law that should protect someone who offers an inhaler to someone having an asthma attack. I wonder if the person who told you not to offer an inhaler in that situation knew about the law.

  15. Kim says:

    A severe asthma attack can cause death – and children HAVE died in schools and at home because of this. These are two children – and yes, she was wrong in sharing her medication but her compassion was amazing. She was being a good samaritan, a good friend and was actually acting quite sensibly and quickly. 10 day suspension seems extreme. It was not like she was sharing her ADHD meds for kicks – she was truly worried about a schoolmate. I am a school nurse and I believe the school acted a bit hastily.

  16. tnmccoy says:

    Sounds like the principal and school system are peopled with first graders. Would they have been happier if the young girl had died without help? The rule is wrong, and the principal is wrong in applying it. Compassion and help have been replaced by iron PCism, and the Country is the worse for it.

  17. Jubal says:

    Not to worry, parents. When your child is having a critical asthma attack in school and seconds count, 911 and/or the School Nurse (if they have one) is only minutes away. Yes, the girl made a mistake and needed a course correction. The principal needs an expulsion, and the other girl’s parents need a lesson in preventative medicine.

  18. AlwysReady says:

    I have asthma and I take medications everyday. I am allergic to many things and when I have an attack I will use any inhaler I can find. The article I read doesn’t say what the allergic reaction was, if it was an allergic reaction, there are no specifics. The young girl said she thought she was having an asthma attack and her friend let her use the inhaler. If the girl thought she had an attack and never had one before, she would certainly feel hyped up. My heart rate goes from 65 to 120 in a matter of seconds, if that is what happened she might have been frightened and the report may have called that an allergic reaction. I am disheartened by the bureaucracy we have in this country that leads people to make insane judgments in these cases. The principal needs to be suspended for a couple weeks so he can think about what he is doing. This is ridiculous. I am sure the girls were not “practicing medicine” as I read in one of these. This country is in trouble.

  19. hondo says:

    The girls were getting high. They got caught because one of them had an “alergic reaction”. Thirteen year old girls are having sex and using drugs. You guys actually believe that she was trying to save her friends life?

  20. M BAUMAN says:

    This principal is no pal.
    A suspension is adequate punishment, expulsion isn’t warranted.

  21. Em Spearing says:

    Well THANK GOD that girl didn’t give the other a peanut! Dismantle the Department of Education, destroy the NEA and GET YOUR KIDS OUT OF GOVERNMENT SCHOOLS!

  22. Bruce says:

    She should have just given her friend a breathalyzer, its not prescription plus its Obamacare approved for breathing treatments

  23. Harold Wyne says:

    Where was the physical education teacher? He or she should have spotted the girl who was in trouble and taken appropriate action. The superintendent and school principal, vice principal and anyone else in the hierarchy responsible for the physical education program should be held responsible for this fiasco.

    1. JT says:

      If anything like the PE teachers I had when I was in school, he was probably focused on the athletes in the class. I remember on one occasion playing”flag” football and getting tackled so hard I was on the ground for a full ten minutes before several students helped me up and to the benches. I sat there for another five minutes before deciding I had hurt my head enough that I needed to go to the health office. The PE teacher NEVER noticed any of it. I went on my own. After seeing the doctor it was confirmed along with whiplash. Lucky for the teacher and the school my parents were not the types to go running and and blame anyone, it was just something that happens when you play football.

  24. Saddened says:

    It seems to me that there is no clear consensus from the adults who have posted here (including medical professionals) about what the correct course of action should have been in this incident. If we adults – and most notably the medical professionals -are not sure how we would have handled this situation ourselves, how can we indict 8th graders, or their parents, for failing to exercise proper judgment in this? Does there not also exist some potential for legal action for *failing’ to aid someone in distress when they have the ability to do so? Would this girl have equally been haunted the rest of her life had the friend actually died from an attack, knowing that she had possessed the ability to help avert it? This is just as possible a scenario as being haunted from any accidental death that may have arisen as result of an allergic reaction. It seems like this girl was faced with a Hobson’s choice no matter what course of action she took.

  25. IndyMom says:

    I would like to know what the “allergic reaction” was to the inhaler. If she does have early, undiagnosed asthma (as I did for years), she could have had an asthma attack, then used the inhaler. Her breathing likely improved, even if she might have reacted to the inhaler – they are hard on your system when you first start on them. I would bet the girl given the inhaler has undiagnosed asthma which occurs intermittently, exercise-induced. An asthmatic recognizes the signs of another asthmatic. My mother and doctors missed mine, but it was another student (sophmore in high school) running with me that said, “Oh, you have asthma too!” and proceeded to provide the best information on asthma that I’ve yet to receive from the medical community. Doctors use response to treatments, such as inhalers, as part of the diagnostic criteria to determine if someone has asthma. She still might have it.

    One might make the case for a 1- day suspension because it was a prescription, and it was not known what might happen with this medication. Expulsion is ridiculous for a concerned, panicky 8th grader, and in the case of the girl that used the inhaler – lower than normal oxygen! They were both exercising, probably both at least mildly asthmatic, and oxygen-deprived, and not likely to make perfect decisions. Where, oh where was the PE teacher during all of this?

    Asthma is not something you play around with. I have a son who has asthma and while you sometimes have time, sometimes it is critical immediately. 9-1-1 couldn’t get to this girl fast enough if she couldn’t breathe. Inhalers are NOT only prescribed for asthmatics. Sometimes, an acute illness can require an inhaler for relief, but the person is not asthmatic. The girl with the prescription inhaler may have still saved the other girls’ life. Since no adults seemed to be concerned with the girl’s safety until it might be a legal liability for them, we don’t know how bad her breathing was until the inhaler medication got into her system.

  26. Disgusted Person says:

    We need to demand a stop to the socialist “property tax” which both prevents us from truly owning private property and also funds these ever-failing liberal government schools full of incompetent, moronic public union teachers who have a hard time using common sense. Enough already, the government schools have long since failed.

    1. angryMD says:

      This is one of the best and most insightful comments on this long thread. The property tax is rent paid to the real owner of the property, the government. Work 30 years paying off your mortgage, then fail to pay your property tax year 31: Voila! Your home is stolen and sold for back taxes. Property ownership in this country is a lie, and we have been brainwashed not to see it.

      How exactly is our condition any better than medieval serfs, other than the advances technology has provided? Answer: we are “free” to go and live on another lord’s manor. That’s it. You don’t own the house, the land, or the fruits of your labor. It all goes to the lord in whatever proportion he decides. Except now the lord takes a portion of what he takes from us to set up a prison our children must attend for all the formative years of their lives, where they are propagandized by the lord’s minions.

      Even better, the lord forces us to use his “money” with his and his family members’ pictures on it, which he alone has the exclusive right to print, and as much as he wishes, whenever he wishes!

      This system is so evil someone not indoctrinated in it for their entire lives could never even dream it up.

      mises.org | lewrockwell.com | http://www.voluntaryist.com

  27. capoprimo says:

    It’s a sad day in the American Educational system when the students display more common sense than the administrators!

  28. Rich Pope says:

    No one dies from an inhaler, even a prescription. The Superintendent of this school is an idiot.

  29. Bill says:

    The girl was suffering, I don’t understand how people can rationally and calmly decide that having the girl suffer for 5, 10 or more minutes is the preferred option here.
    Teaching children to rely on government and authority to fix their problems seems like a mistake. This is America; encourage children to help each other, solve problems and to protect and provide for their friends seems like what we need to be teaching them.
    Rules are necessary and important, but not as important as common sense, and common decency.

  30. Thomas Long says:

    I would imagine that this principle did not know the principle of the Good Samaritan Law. These principles of sound judgement are not taught or understood by those supposedly mandated to instruct our future leaders. This principal is an example of this type of instruction received from government schools. And this is an example of the results. What if a child is near death because the medicine needed for an illness, such as asthma, is in your child’s pocket? Would you teach your child to be prepared to take action like I have instructed mine or would. you follow the example of this principal? Where am I wrong? Do not be afraid of doing the right thing even if your superior advocates the wrong thing!

    1. D Wilson says:

      If the school proceeds with the “discipline,” call a lawyer and drop a lawsuit on them. That’s the only thing they understand.

  31. Capt Phil says:

    Another clearcut reason for home schooling. The sooner we can get the bufoons out of the classroom and have them walking dogs or some other job for which they qualify, the better. (my apologies to dog walkers!) I wouldn’t have subjected my kids to government run schools if they held a gun to my head. Both were home schooled and now earn +$100k a year!

  32. Rikki says:

    I should also add that, had my son taken the prescription strength Tylenol that his friend had handed to him, both children would have faced legal charges, of which I were told could be felony charges.

  33. JW says:

    I guess if the girls wanted an abortion, they wouldn’t have to tell an adult or get permission and they would still be given prescription drugs…wthout adult permission.

    1. Daisy says:

      Very good point. And the school principal would probably drive the pregnant girls to Planned Parenthood herself.

  34. Rikki says:

    My 17 yr old son has asthma, so I can understand why the young girl would panic if she saw her friend in distress. My son was diagnosed with asthma at age 5 and I still get anxious when he has an attack. The schools have gone completely bonkers with their rules lately. While this young girl probably should have gotten an adult to respond to the situation, she was only trying to help her friend. A few weeks ago, my son complained of a bad headache to a friend. The young lady (who is a very good girl and well respected) offered him a prescription strength Tylenol that she had on her (it was for a toothache she had been suffering). The Tylenol was no more potent than taking a few OTC regular strength Tylenol however, my son refused it and handed it back to her. Another student saw the exchange take place and told the Asst. Principal who then pulled both my son and his friend into the office and threatened to expell them. All of us parents had to attend school meetings with our children, the principles and school board over this. Since my son did not actually take the medication, both kids were only sent to In School Detention for a few days instead of expelled. The “offense” is permanently in both of their records though. Due to this ridiculousness, I have decided that when the time comes, I will home school both of my youngest children. Schools should be focused more on teaching academics and less on policing every little aspect of life. I can understand them warning the young girls involved in this incident but, expelling them is way too harsh.

    1. Frank_PA says:

      so he got detention because he didn’t take the Tylenol?

  35. angryMD says:

    As a physician, parent, and husband to a public school teacher, I can say that this punishment is absurd and evil, not that I expect anything else from public school administrators.

    First, the girl was trying to help someone else with a potentially life-saving medication. Yes, it is possible to die of an asthma attack. Second, albuterol inhalers are generally safe. There are less allergies to albuterol than aspirin or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin). Side effects are minimal and it is generally safe even in overdose, unlike many over the counter medications including aspirin, acetaminophen, and diphenhydramine (Benadryl), while regular ibuprofen use commonly leads to gastrointestinal bleeding. As others have pointed out, whether or not the second girl even had a true allergic reaction is very questionable. Most people who claim allergies generally have common, mild side effects. Clearly she is OK now.

    Public school students today commonly curse at their teachers, steal, do illegal drugs or have intercourse on school grounds, act violently towards other students and even teachers, all with minimal (partial day in school suspensions, always allowed to make up work no matter how late) or no punishment. To suspend either girl for even one day is entirely inappropriate. To even consider expulsion is beyond comprehension, and obvious evidence of horrible judgement and unsuitability for leadership — legitimate grounds for termination of the principal. To attempt to destroy these children’s lives over such a small, well-intentioned incident can only be described as megalomania. If all parents had a vote in whether to retain or dismiss, it would be an obvious landslide. Of course, parents don’t have such a say. The state and its bureaucracy always knows better.

    The only answers are to get yourself and those whom you love as far away from its tentacles as possible, and vote to restrict, cut, and abolish its powers at every chance.

  36. glenp says:

    was there ever any ORIENTATION for students about these rules? did the administration just ASSUME that kids know every little regulation some bureaucrat has assigned to schools? do kids know you can be jailed for spitting on a sidewalk?

    do any administrators have any brains or sense or thought processes?

  37. kevin says:

    this is a complete joke. I have been saved by a friend’s inhaler COUNTLESS TIMES. Just imagine watching some kid having an asthma attack, knowing what will help him, and NOT giving him the inhaler. It isn’t like it could create an allergic reaction or anything.

    This is the DEFINITION of asinine

  38. Wereturtle says:

    This is the problem with Zero-Tolerance policies. They absolve the School administrators of having to employ common sense and make an actual judgement about a situation.

    Now a days, they just suspend/expel without considering the situation.

  39. Heather says:

    Wow, this article really brought out all of the WebMD doctors out there. LOL.

  40. ILikeRush says:

    You should resign you are not smart enough to work in a school.

  41. nicolette says:

    The principal of Lewis-Palmer JHS is Caryn Collette, no email address provided. However the superintendent is John Borman, 719-785-4200 JBorman@lewispalmer.org . This stupifyingly , what, unethical? principal needs to go who holds to ‘Zero Tolerance’ idiocy even when attempting to save a life. (Which is what her friend was trying to do.) Zero Tolerance = 100% idiocy.

  42. SteveC says:

    My brother died from using an inhaler that was not prescribed to him. Sharing prescription meds is dangerous. Despite the fact that my brother died from such an experience, I think expulsion is too severe in this case. The sharing was not for recreational purposes. Suspension and some extra learning activities on the dangers of what they did seems like the right thing to do.

  43. Tryanon says:

    A simple “Girls, you shouldn’t do that. You could die. Don’t EVER do that again. Now get back to class”, should have been sufficient!

  44. Marie R Sadler says:

    The school’s lesson: If you see a student who appears to be in a life threatening situation, don’t do anything for fear of expulsion. Also, not all schools have nurses due to budget cuts. lack of oxygen can kill a child within a few minutes. Police or EMS are not always within 1-2 minutes away.

  45. kf says:

    So if someone give my son an epi pen when he stops breathing they will both be expelled for shaing perscription drugs? Or if a student administers CPR they will be charged with rape or assault? Or if I hand my coworker an asprin I’ll be dismissed for distributing? It is significant that the article mentions that the principle doesn’t have asthma. I don’t have it myself but have seen my nephew have attacks. His lips turn blue because he is asphyxiating. Kudos to the student for thinking quickly and trying to help with the inhaler. There may have been uncertainty about the other student’s reaction to the inhaler, but there was no doubt that she was suffering initially.

  46. This is why I cringe everytime I hear the terms “zero tolerence”. It is just a way to CYA and forfeit the need to use judgement. 6 year olds suspended for bringing a plastic butter knife to school, honor student life ruined because he forgot his hunting rifle locked in his trunk and on and on. School officials are hired to exercise judgement which includes taking intent into account. Saying it is “school policy” is just abdicating their responsibility to think and use common sense.

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