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. Matt says:

    Suspension makes sense since what they did WAS very dangerous. Expulsion, however, is way over-the-top. These are 8th graders. I don’t know about everyone else, but I couldn’t go 30 minutes without doing something stupid when I was that age.

    Seems compassion and common sense left the public school system long ago.

  2. Steve says:

    Two things – first, it isn’t Primatene Mist rather Albueterol, or the newer sulfate version. Second, I grew up with asthma and know of two deaths due to attacks, one of which happened while I was in high school. The underlying cause of that death was because the student hadn’t taken his medication in the morning and had failed to bring his inhaler to school, but the teacher’s classroom that he entered while trying to reach the nurses office, and subsequently where he died, was unable to help him as they didn’t know what he was experiencing and, at that point, he couldn’t really speak. Likewise, once the nurse arrived she was unable to assist because she too had no idea what was happening. This happened during 5th period and if it had happened less than one hour later I would have been next door with the inhaler that would have saved his life. Would I have been suspended/expelled because I shared a prescription drug? Unlikely, but the problem is that most faculty are unaware of what asthma really is and how to respond to such a severe attack. I found growing up that my PE teachers had no clue and simply deferred to what I told them I could/couldn’t do and what I needed.

    Understanding that these girls are in 8th grade and still naive, you cannot fault one girl for trying to help another who she thought was suffering the anguish that she, herself, has probably suffered. If you don’t have asthma, or have never suffered something similar, then you can not understand the helplessness you feel when all of a sudden you are trying to inhale and nothing is happening. The anxiety you feel as you exert effort with little gain is indescribable, and the compassion she felt is explainable.

    1. My $.00002 worth says:

      Yup. I actually always found *exhaling* to be the hardest part during a severe attack. This made for a bit of difficulty later in life when prescribed a CPAP for sleep apnea. Breathing against the air pressure of the machine during exhale made it feel very much like an asthma attack. Eventually got used to it, though. As a youngster, on a couple of occasions I had an attack bad enough that I wasn’t able to move enough air to speak. Or maybe it was just that I didn’t have anything to say that was worth the supreme effort required to make a sound. I remember how bad the muscles of my back and torso would *ache* after an attack like that. I expect in fatal cases like you describe, there is a “spiral” effect – the worse the airway constriction, the more effort required to breathe; the more effort required to breathe, the less air being taken in to fuel the muscles for the effort of breathing; eventually the person cannot muster the strength to pull in enough air to sustain life. Without air, you have about 4 minutes until brain death. Asthma is no joke. Are people really naive enough to trust that a middle school PE teacher or school nurse would be able to respond appropriately in such a situation? And I don’t mean any disrespect to the people in those professions. But in a case like that, you don’t have a half hour to phone the kid’s mom and wait for an inhaler to show up or dither around in the school first aid cabinet. If it was ME gasping on the floor, I would hope someone, anyone, would have the sense to loan me an inhaler. I still say the girl was right to try to help her friend.

    2. Nic says:

      Thank You. Nothing more terrifying that not being able to suck in even a tsp of air. And today, you would be expelled if you had helped. I loathe their making Primatene Mist illegal, it has saved my life before when the new inhalers didn’t work for me. Loosened up the tight drum that were my lungs enough that I could use my inhaler. Using an inhaler would not have harmed that girl, not treating an asthma attack would have. The schools today are more concerned with legality than doing what is right. Heck, so are our laws any more. Our society has become evil in a very real way.

  3. ZeroToleranceForIgnorance says:

    Zero tolerance policies are insane. In our district, even LifeSavers and breath mints are outlawed. Public schools are bastions of ignorance, incompetence, and idiocy. Always remember:
    – Those who can, do.
    – Those who can’t, teach.
    – Those who can’t teach, teach gym.

  4. FNTM says:

    And to think these people actually teach our children. OMG!

  5. Countrygirl1362 says:

    The lesson I see the children learning is don’t help anyone even if you think they could die, you will get into trouble.,

  6. Just say'n says:

    If it was a teacher that molested a child they would get an appeal. Funny the kid helped another human being in distress and is rewarded with suspension and maybe expulsion.
    The REAL crime is these people are iteaching their “values” to our children.

  7. Jahnke says:

    Liberals are the stupidest people in the world … and I am including people from Mexico, too.

  8. TeaRunner says:

    Why are stupid people being allowed near let alone supervise our children?

  9. Jeff Hall says:

    The right thing to do is do nothing and stand by and watch according to this school. Making a decison right or wrong is better than making no decision at all.

  10. JSimple says:

    And you ask why we homeschool? Stupid teachers, even dumber administrators….and lawyers.

    @ Blaine – the “haven’t met a teacher yet” comment should be a bumper sticker! LOL

  11. Blaine Hislop says:

    and yes, there are too many lawyers

    cull the herd

  12. Blaine Hislop says:

    I haven’t met a teacher yet who wasn’t overpaid.

  13. Kelly says:

    My daughter has asthma and is an 8th grader. During cross country she shared her inhaler with another girl who does have asthma and they use the same kind. My blood ran cold when she told me!! If the school had found out she would have been in trouble like these girls are facing. She was told never to do it again. Sometimes kids just don’t think.

  14. Timin Phoenix says:

    Number One in donations dollars to the Democrats is the N.E.A.

    Second, are the trial lawyers.

    That should tell you something.

  15. yeah right says:

    You armchairs are missing the boat…Maybe the girls were abusing the inhaler. I bet they were getting high using it and had to make up this story to cover this fact when the one girl had the allergic reaction. I only told dad one time that it wasn’t me that was smoking, it was Eddie….he tore me up that day…and I never smoked again…Ithese girls probably don’t have a daddy so the school has to do it…

  16. conservative1 says:

    The Principal is definitely not her “pal.” Fire the Principal and the Superintendent for gross over-reaction.

  17. Kenny says:

    Maybe she can get into a real school if she’s expelled. Dangerous what happened? Absolutely. To think the students would know this at their age? Ignorant. To punish them based on school policy? Reasonable. To expel them to “make examples” of them? Assinine!! There are other things you could do to them without expelling them. Why not have them go around to other students/schools explaining the dangers of doing something like this? In other words, use this to EDUCATE!! Wow, what a concept!!

  18. fulredy says:

    And we pay school administrators more than teachers and this is what we get. All too often, school policies are one-size-fits-all and leave no room for common sense. That’s one of the problems in America today, we have lost our responsibility to use common sense. Our society today screams liability and we are clearly the world leader in litigious actions and the number of lawyers per capita. Maybe we need tort reform at all levels, not just in malpractice claims.

  19. Some Guy says:

    Well, obviously you can’t just let proles in a starter prison start trying to help each other! Why, they may get the idea that problems can be solved without supplicating to the nearest apparatchik in the vicinity!

  20. grundoon says:

    Since it was the teacher’s responsibility to have cared for the student in distress and not a fellow student the teacher should be given unpaid leave or fired for dereliction of duty instead of expelling the student for doing his/her job.

  21. David says:

    Zero tolerance means just that. So, the PRINCIPAL must be fired, because he was in charge of the school when it happened, and he had not taken appropriate steps to prevent it from happening. THAT’S zero tolerance!

  22. Ed H says:

    The article states that the superintendent wants the girls to learn from the incident on the one hand and expel them on the other. I don’t see how you learn by removing the girls from the school. On top of that, these families pay for their kids’ education through their tax dollars. Poor decisions like this should not be the basis for denying them their paid-for education.

  23. Daniel Kian Mc Kiernan says:

    These school officials are arch fools, and the community that tolerates them is morally lost.

  24. JimN says:

    Sounds to me like the girl who suffered the attack has a case for a lawsuit against the school for disclosing information about medical treatment received at the school – a violation of HIPAA and/or FERPA regs.

  25. shanigens says:

    This incident is making me think more and more of homeschooling my children. The school systems are horrible. Some people on here are idiots. The girl was only trying to be a GOOD SAMARITAN.
    Do you know that Tobacco kills 435,000 people per year, Poor Diet and Lack of Exercise kills 365,000 people per year, Alcohol kills 85,000 per year, and Peanuts cause 1000 deaths per year?
    There is nothing wrong with sharing an inhaler. And yes people do die from asthma.

  26. RodgerJ says:

    Yet another reason my kids will never, ever set foot in a filthy degenerate government union public school. More “zero-tolerance” nonsense from people too darn stupid to be teaching.

  27. My $.00002 worth says:

    Wow. I mean, wow. Pretty clear to me the lessons the girls will take from this episode:
    1) No good deed goes unpunished.
    2) Authority figures, especially school administrators, are not your friends and cannot be trusted to act rationally.
    3) CYA at all costs.
    A lot of posts here are taking the line that the girl who shared her inhaler clearly was wrong to do so, but I’m not sure I agree. I have suffered allergy- and exercise-induced asthma my entire life. It’s mostly mild, but if I come into contact with certain allergens it can get pretty rough very quickly. I know first-hand the panic of having a severe attack without an inhaler near at hand. I remember the days before there were inhalers, and the medicine I was given as a kid was an oral liquid prescription that tasted so vile It made me throw up. And I remember vividly the first time an uncle brought me a Primatene Mist inhaler while I was having an attack. One puff — and just like that, I could breathe! So if a friend or family member was having what looked like an asthma attack, would I lend him or her my prescription albuterol inhaler? In a heartbeat. Because I know that the chances for an adverse reaction are slim, and the chances for instant relief almost certain.

  28. Mynameiscommonsense says:

    Here is another point to ponder – if this student was in medical distress – where was the teacher in all this? MIA? That seems to be the case with most teachers these days. The school is responsible for taking care of kids while they are at school – so the REAL story here is that any adult help seemed to be conspicously missing at this school.

    Parents – if you care about your children – GET THEM OUT OF THE GOVERNMENT BRAINWASHING SCHOOLS!

  29. Mynameiscommonsense says:

    Gee I wonder if the inhaler she gave to her friend was one of those new HFA inhalers that were mandated by the idiots in Congress which have sent more asthmatics to the ER than any pollution ever could. The real issue here is – how can an inhaler cause an allergic reaction? What ? You mean these inhalers were not fully tested before being FORCED onto the asthmatic public?

    And Joe Jericho – it’s clear that the NWO elites would like to cull the population of those with asthma – they are doing everything they can to make it impossible for them to live normal lives. The CFC inhalers allowed that so that is why they had to be eliminated.

  30. Charlie says:

    Why are the two 8th-grade, named in the article, while “the principal” and “the superintendent”, both of whom were interviewed for the article and quoted in it, remain safely anonymous?

  31. Joe Jericho says:

    This is ridiculous. My son has asthma as well, and the school has threatened action against him if he even brings his inhaler with him. His school wants him to check his inhaler in at the office and then have an asthmatic attack while at recess or gym and then possibly die from said attack. They don’t care about the kids. They care about their policies. We need a revolution against these government bureaucrats.

  32. mike says:

    What has the world come too, ruining a childs life for trying to help a friend? Moving schools under this situation is going to be so detrimental to this student. Just give the suspention, make sure she knows the policy, review the policy with the students and be done with it. This is the same mentality that people in the city have when they lock their doors when someone is screaming for help, we as a society have scared good people into being so fearful of helping someone because of the potential damages that people have become numb to the suffering of others. I say way to go girl for trying to do the right thing, even if the right thing may not always work out the way we hope. Besides if she had saved her life from an asthma attack she would be in the news for being a hero right now.

  33. BobC says:

    Suspension is warranted to send the message that what they did was against the rules and carried significant risk. Expulsion is so over the top given the motivation here that it just shows how moronic and brainless our public school administrations have become. These idiot school system jerks are about to ruin these girls futures because they are not equipped to think for themselves.

    1. Mynameiscommonsense says:

      They used expulsion because they want to make an example out of this heroic friend – it’s not safe to think for yourself in this society – see what happens? That’s what they want to teach the other sheep…

      It’s WAY past time for people to rebel against public schools – they are participating in the ruination of our country through brainwashing and dumbing down our children!

  34. Mark Mangus Sr says:

    Another case of overreacting by idiot school administrators. Instead of suspending and possibly expelling the girls, why don’t they use this a teaching opportunity? Explain WHY it was not a good idea to share the inhaler. Throughout the country schools are considering abandoning these zero tolerance policies. They leave no room for common sense to prevail.

  35. Frank Truth says:

    If you aggree with me that these two criminals should be placed before a firing squad and executed please email John Borman Superintendent of Schools, Lewis-Palmer School District #38 at

  36. Smack Dab says:

    The girl did what she thought was right in the heat of the moment. She is in 8th grade. You are in school to learn. She learned not to do that. Expulsion is extreme. It is no fun having asthma. A big deal was made about nothing.

    1. Mynameiscommonsense says:

      Maybe expulsion from government brainwashing school is the best thing that ever happened to this girl…

  37. Concerned Mom of 5 says:

    I call “Good Samaritan Law” here… and coming from a group that wants to legalize pot and LSD the charges against the students are absurd. Public School is evil.

  38. Andi Gee says:

    bottom line: you cannot share a prescription medicine, period. I blame the parents of the girl with asthma! she should’ve been taught better and she’d have known what to do if her friends were having symptoms. Also, the doctor should have made it clear what albuterol can do to someone who doesn’t need it, or has an allergy. Suspension is ridiculous…the poor girls were already scared…let it go.

    1. Mynameiscommonsense says:

      Umm.. albuterol is very safe and does not cause allergic reactions. The only thing that may have caused an allergic reaction is the fact that the new NON-WORKING HFA INHALERS USE ETHANOL AND MANY PEOPLE ARE ALLERGIC TO INHALING ETHANOL BUT THAT IS WHAT WE ARE ALL FORCED TO USE NOW.

      1. Brian says:

        It doesn’t specify albuterol, but yes, it can cause allergic reactions. It’s rare, but it happens. Bronchospasm (your throat seizes up) hives, and angioedema (swelling).

  39. Bud Tuglie says:

    This is neither a left or right wing issue. It’s about yet another paid public official who would default to a policy manual rather than actually have to think. These dolts deserve no more than minimum wage. A baboon could truly do better. 10 days suspension . . .ARE YOU SERIOUS???

  40. Nick Miller says:

    This whole zero-tolerance paranoid school culture started in the late 80s-early 90s with the NeoCon War on Drugs, actually it goes back even further to the early 70s when Nelson Rockefeller, the “progressive” Republican governor of New York signed a law which required a mandatory life prison term for possession of even a few ounces of pot. Forty years later, its democrats who have become the oppressive statists with their lawyers, number crunching bureaucrats, and Big Pharma helping their cause (and of course Neocons like Newt and Mitt). It was Obama who outlawed the Primatene inhaler as an OTC option because Big Pharma can make a lot more $ off prescription inhalers and they wrote his Obamacare law. Of course, the reason they gave was that it was bad for the environment in order to please the latte and merlot sipping dopes who voted for him. The ones who suffer the most from not being able to get OTC asthma inhalers are poor African Americans and Hispanics who probably can’t afford the copay to see a doctor.

    1. Smack Dab says:

      Please explain what a “neo con” is. I see this term thrown around all the time.

      1. Daniel Kian Mc Kiernan says:

        Smack Dab—

        In actually, the term “neocon[servative]” properly refers to a person who came from the political left, but became convinced that conservatives had reached some of the right conclusion, albeit for the wrong reasons.

        However, during the Administration of GW Bush (of which many of the members were neocons), some people (mostly but not exclusively on the left) using “neocon” as a blanket term of oppobrium. When you see it thrown-about like that, it means no more someone whom the speaker or writer hates and wants to wad together with a bunch of other people that he or she hates.

      2. Daisy says:

        Daniel K. McKiernan gave a correct and comprehensive explanation.

        I can add this: Neo Con is also a pointed insult hurled at Jewish people who have dared to stray away from Liberal Land towards more stable Conservative positions. As such, it’s an anti-Semitic slur hurled by anti-Semitic Leftists.

  41. Frank Truth says:

    To teach the other students in school a really good lesson the two criminal punks ought to have been taken out back behind the school, blind-folded, given a last cigarette, stood in front of wall, and shot in their hearts by ten law enforcement sharpshooters. That would teach the other students a good lesson. I guarantee if the school district had behaved that way no other student would ever consider giving another student having trouble breathing their prescription medication. The principle here is moral hazard. If you let these two criminal get away with this kind of behavior once, other students will start sharing ther ritalin and their anti-depressants? Where will it all stop? It is a slippery slope from giving a friend with distressed breathing an asthma inhaler, to giving any schoolmate your ritalin to peddling heroin. If these criminals are not punished swiftly and severely what message are we sending to their classmates? Sometime we have to show tough love. It is better excise cancer before it spreads. It is clear the only way to avoid moral hazard in this case is swift and certain execution. That is the only way to really teach a lesson that will make an impression, and not be forgotten. We just can’t tolerate this kind of behavior. Weak Americans could learn a thing or two from Spartan tradition.

    1. Smack Dab says:

      You are joking, right? Of course you are. Very funny. Glad you ain’t in charge.

  42. Jewfromhell says:

    Don’t “Bogart” that inhaler my friend!

  43. PC run amok says:

    Lewis-Palmer Middle school
    1776 Woodmoor Drive, Monument, CO 80132
    Main: (719) 488-4776 Fax: (719) 488-4780
    Main Office Hours: 7:00AM – 3PM
    School Hours: 7:23AM – 2:34PM (1st bell 7:18am)
    Caryn Collette, Principal
    Ryan Capp, Assistant Principal

    John Borman
    Superintendent of Schools
    Lewis-Palmer School District #38
    146 Jefferson St., Monument, CO 80132
    Mailing: PO Box 40, Monument, CO 80132
    Main: (719) 488-4700 Fax: (719) 488-4704
    Office Hours M-F, 8:00 AM – 4:30 PM

    Here’s the district’s mission statement:
    “Our purpose is to prepare students to be successful learners, productive citizens and caring contributors to society.”
    Given the latter portion of the sentence, i suggest politely letting the principal and superintendent know what you think of their august judgment…

  44. Mike says:

    Welcome to AmeriKa. The Liberal / Progressives ruined the sKool system years ago.

  45. Bernie Bouck says:

    It’s now time for the parents TAKE BACK the schools from the INDOCTRINATORS that work for the ‘gummint’ lawyers ! They will get at it as soon as they’re not busy feeding them and keeping them in a style that impresses their neighbors !

  46. charles says:

    And this is why we need school vouchers. We need options to get our kids out of the asylum. Public schools are hopelessly entangled in politics, political correctness, and union corruption. Give us vouchers. Let us pick our own schools and hold the people running it accountable to the parents, not the politicians.

  47. Gerry says:

    The fools in the administration at this school should be fired or punished. But it would be easier for these girls just to attend a different school where there might be a chance that an adult there has some common sense!!

  48. David says:

    So let me get this straight… An 8th grader tried to help her friend by providing what she thought was a proper response and gets expelled. If she on the other hand tried to give CPR to someone in response to a medical emergency, but broke their ribs in the process and killed them she would get nothing (Good Samaritan Rule, not a “practicing medical professional”). Yup my grandfather was right – you can’t legislate common sense, only liberalism…

  49. NY9Solyndra says:

    Expulsion is too much.

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