Asthmatic student passes away in soccer field after school locks his inhalers in the office

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Schools have a duty to protect our children. Tragically, this school failed in its duty, with devasting results.

Ryan Gibbons was a happy child who should still be alive today. But due to the incompetent leadership at his school he is no longer with us.

The Lung Association- Ontario/YouTube Source: The Lung Association- Ontario/YouTube

Gibbons was energetic and loved being outdoors. But there was one thing always reining in his energy. The child had asthma.

Most people know that asthma is a treatable condition. And Gibbons should have been able to prevent his asthma attacks from having any serious consequences upon him. But the school had a terrible policy that prevented him from using it.

It all started when Gibbons and his friends were playing soccer. The asthma attack hit the boy. He desperately needed his inhaler, but he didn’t have it. A school administrator had confiscated it and locked it away earlier that day.

The Lung Association- Ontario/YouTube Source: The Lung Association- Ontario/YouTube

Gibbons’ friends lifted him up and rushed him to the office where the inhaler was being stored. But the administrator was not at that office, and they couldn’t get inside. By the time they found anyone who could get into the office, Gibbons was dead.

If the school had not had a pointless policy of confiscating Gibbons’s inhalers, then the child would not have died.

Flickr Source: Flickr

Gibbons and his family had previously tried telling the management of his school that they shouldn’t take away his inhalers. But they wouldn’t listen. Clearly, they cared more about enacting a pointless school rule than protecting one of their students.

After the family realized that the school would keep on taking away the child’s inhalers, they had gone to the drastic measure of making Gibbons hide them on his person. But the school administrators would often find them and take them away.

The school’s policy was that all prescribed medicine needed to be kept in an office. Clearly, none of the school staff members were smart enough to realize that this policy could endanger a child’s life.

Gibbons’s mother, Sandra was quite rightly outraged.

The Lung Association- Ontario/YouTube Source: The Lung Association- Ontario/YouTube

After all that fighting to make their son’s medical issue respected, he had still died. She began a campaign to try to make sure that no other child would have to die as senselessly again.

She started a petition. It demanded her local government to create rules for all schools to handle asthma in a common-sense way. This meant that no school would be able to take away an inhaler and all school staff members would know to not confiscate inhalers.

The petitioning took a while, but it eventually resulted in a new law, named Ryan’s Law. It made it illegal for schools to take inhalers away from children

“After burying my son, I knew that this was a preventable attack. To me, if people had appropriate training and knew what to look for when a child was in distress, he would be here today.” – Sandra Gibbons.

The Lung Association- Ontario/YouTube Source: The Lung Association- Ontario/YouTube

Schools are known for having senseless policies. But at least things like dress codes are never fatal. This rule was more than just pointless. It was wreckless. Gibbons should never have had his life put at risk.

Sandra Gibbons will never have her son back, but at least she has been able to ensure that no other child has to die in the same way again.

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Source: The Lung Association- Ontario