Policy 516 - Student Medication


The purpose of this policy is to set forth the provisions that must be followed when administering nonemergency prescription medication to students at school.


The school district acknowledges that some students may require prescribed drugs or medication during the school day. The school district’s licensed school nurse, trained health clerk, principal, or teacher will administer prescribed medications, except any form of medical cannabis in accordance with law and school district procedures.


A. The administration of prescription medication or drugs at school requires a completed signed request from the student’s parent. An oral request must be reduced to writing within two school days, provided that the school district may rely on an oral request until a written request is received.

B. An “Administering Prescription Medications” form must be completed annually (once per school year) and/or when a change in the prescription or requirements for administration occurs. Prescription medication as used in this policy does not include any form of medical cannabis as defined in Minn. Stat. § 152.22. Subd. 6.

C. Prescription medication must come to school in the original container labeled for the student by a pharmacist in accordance with law, and must be administered in a manner consistent with the instructions on the label.

D. The school nurse may request to receive further information about the prescription, if needed, prior to administration of the substance.

E. Prescription medications are not to be carried by the student, but will be left with the appropriate school district personnel. Exceptions to this requirement are: prescription asthma medications self-administered with an inhaler (See Part J.5. below), and medications administered as noted in a written agreement between the school district and the parent or as specified in an IEP (individualized education program), Section 504 plan, or IHP (individual health plan).

F. The school must be notified immediately by the parent or student 18 years old or older in writing of any change in the student’s prescription medication administration. A new medical authorization or container label with new pharmacy instructions shall be required immediately as well.

G. For drugs or medicine used by children with a disability, administration may be as provided in the IEP, Section 504 plan or IHP.

H. The school nurse, or other designated person, shall be responsible for the filing of the Administering Prescription Medications form in the health records section of the student file. The school nurse, or other designated person, shall be responsible for providing a copy of such form to the principal and to other personnel designated to administer the medication.

I. Procedures for administration of drugs and medicine at school and school activities shall be developed in consultation with a school nurse, a licensed school nurse, or a public or private health organization or other appropriate party (if appropriately contracted by the school district under Minn. Stat. § 121A.21). The school district administration shall submit these procedures and any additional guidelines and procedures necessary to implement this policy to the school board for approval. Upon approval by the school board, such guidelines and procedures shall be an addendum to this policy.

J. Specific Exceptions:

1. Special health treatments and health functions such as catheterization, tracheostomy suctioning, and gastrostomy feedings do not constitute administration of drugs and medicine;

2. Emergency health procedures, including emergency administration of drugs and medicine are not subject to this policy;

3. Drugs or medicine provided or administered by a public health agency to prevent or control an illness or a disease outbreak are not governed by this policy;

4. Drugs or medicines used at school in connection with services for which a minor may give effective consent are not governed by this policy;

5. Drugs or medicines that are prescription asthma or reactive airway disease medications can be self-administered by a student with an asthma inhaler if:

a. the school district has received a written authorization from the pupil’s parent permitting the student to self-administer the medication;

b. the inhaler is properly labeled for that student; and

c. the parent has not requested school personnel to administer the medication to the student. The parent must submit written authorization for the student to self-administer the medication each school year. In a school that does not have a school nurse or school nursing services, the student’s parent or guardian must submit written verification from the prescribing professional which documents that an assessment of the student’s knowledge and skills to safely possess and use an asthma inhaler in a school setting has been completed. If the school district employs a school nurse or provides school nursing services under another arrangement, the school nurse or other appropriate party must assess the student’s knowledge and skills to safely possess and use an asthma inhaler in a school setting and enter into the student’s school health record a plan to implement safe possession and use of asthma inhalers;

6. Medications:

a. that are used off school grounds;

b. that are used in connection with athletics or extracurricular activities; or

c. that are used in connection with activities that occur before or after the regular school day are not governed by this policy.

7. Nonprescription Medication. A secondary student may possess and use nonprescription pain relief in a manner consistent with the labeling, if the school district has received written authorization from the student’s parent or guardian permitting the student to self-administer the medication. The parent or guardian must submit written authorization for the student to self-administer the medication each school year. The school district may revoke a student’s privilege to possess and use nonprescription pain relievers if the school district determines that the student is abusing the privilege. This provision does not apply to the possession or use of any drug or product containing ephedrine or pseudoephedrine as its sole active ingredient or as one of its active ingredients. Except as stated in this paragraph, only prescription medications are governed by this policy.

8. At the start of each school year or at the time a student enrolls in school, whichever is first, a student’s parent, school staff, including those responsible for student health care, and the prescribing medical professional must develop and implement an individualized written health plan for a student who is prescribed epinephrine auto-injectors that enables the student to:

a. possess epinephrine auto-injectors; or

b. if the parent and prescribing medical professional determine the student is unable to possess the epinephrine, have immediate access to epinephrine auto-injectors in close proximity to the student at all times during the instructional day. The plan must designate the school staff responsible for implementing the student’s health plan, including recognizing anaphylaxis and administering epinephrine auto-injectors when required, consistent with state law. This health plan may be included in a student’s § 504 plan.

K. “Parent” for students 18 years old or older is the student.

L. Districts and schools may obtain and possess epinephrine auto-injectors to be maintained and administered by school personnel to a student or other individual if, in good faith, it is determined that person is experiencing anaphylaxis regardless of whether the student or other individual has a prescription for an epinephrine auto-injector. The administration of an epinephrine auto-injector in accordance with this section is not the practice of medicine. A district or school may enter into arrangements with manufacturers of epinephrine auto-injectors to obtain epinephrine auto-injectors at fair-market, free, or reduced prices. A third party, other than a manufacturer or supplier, may pay for a school’s supply of epinephrine auto-injectors.

Legal References:

  • Minn. Stat. § 13.32 (Student Health Data)
  • Minn. Stat. § 121A.21 (Hiring of Health Personnel)
  • Minn. Stat. § 121A.22 (Administration of Drugs and Medicine)
  • Minn. Stat. § 121A.221 (Possession and Use of Asthma Inhalers by Asthmatic Students)
  • Minn. Stat. § 121A.222 (Possession and Use of Nonprescription Pain Relievers by Secondary Students)
  • Minn. Stat. § 121A.2205 (Possession and Use of Epinephrine Auto-Injectors; Model Policy)
  • Minn. Stat. § 121A.2207 (Life-Threatening Allergies in Schools; Stock Supply of Epinephrine Auto-Injectors)
  • Minn. Stat. § 151.212 (Label of Prescription Drug Containers)
  • Minn. Stat. § 152.22 (Medical Cannabis; Definition)
  • Minn. Stat. § 152.23 (Medical Cannabis; Limitations)
  • 20 U.S.C. § 1400 et seq. (Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004)
  • 29 U.S.C. § 794 et seq. (Rehabilitation Act of 1973, § 504)

Cross References:

  • MSBA/MASA Model Policy 418 (Drug-Free Workplace/Drug-Free School)

Adopted: November 10, 1988
Revised: June 22, 1999
Revised: October 11, 2005
Revised: October 21, 2014
Reviewed: August 18, 2015
Revised: September 6, 2016
Reviewed: February 19, 2019