Stephanie Holan’s daughter Hallie is a 14-year-old 8th grader at Highland Park Middle. Hallie has long suffered from severe allergic reactions, often breaking out in Hives that require immediate medical attention.
Last week, Stephanie received a text from Hallie that read she was breaking out and had trouble breathing. Suspecting an anaphylactic shock approaching, Stephanie immediately picked up her daughter and treated her at home. Stephanie told WFAA, “My daughter knows the person who can handle this the most quickly is me.”
Upon returning to school, however, Hallie was quickly notified that she was to immediately report to detention for using her phone in the middle of the school day. A new policy in the school district requires students to leave their phones with an advisory teacher in order to limit distractions during the day. The school also noted they have two nurses on hand at all times, who are both trained to handle any allergy attack.
Stephanie’s not buying it though. She said, “When you start putting the health and safety of my child at risk at the sake of a very strict rule, that’s when you have a problem. Craft a better policy, and use your better judgment.” She also said that Hallie did not go to a school nurse for fear they would not take their symptoms seriously.
Stephanie is considering legal action, but all she really wants is an apology from the school and district.
Highland Park ISD released a statement on the matter, which can be read below.
We are not at liberty to discuss the discipline or health issues related to an individual student.
After feedback from parents, teachers, and students, McCulloch Intermediate/Highland Park Middle School modified its cell phone policy this year in order to preserve the learning environment and eliminate unnecessary distractions. Under the new policy, cell phones and other communication devices, are “parked” (stored) with students’ advisory teachers as soon as the first bell rings each morning, and may then be picked up at the end of the day.
Parents have overwhelmingly supported this change and, according to administrators and teachers, it has made a positive impact in the school’s culture and productivity of students.
If students feel sick or experience a health issue, they are to tell an adult, such as a teacher or administrator, so that they can be sent to the clinic to receive medical treatment if necessary. The clinic is staffed by two registered nurses and is centrally located in the building.
In addition, there are procedures in place to keep students safe should they display signs of an allergic reaction. All teachers have been trained to administer epinephrine or Benadryl, located in three places throughout the building, if such an event occurs.
Administrators have conferred with parents to approve limited exceptions on campus for students who have ongoing medical issues requiring them to keep a cellphone with them during the day.
– Jon Dahlander, Highland Park ISD