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State Laws on Schools' Authority to Administer Medication and Drugs

Public schools generally do not allow students to self-administer medications without following certain procedures. This is because it could open the school to liability and abuse problems. For example, students may begin selling prescription drugs to other students. However, many students have legitimate medical needs. Most states have laws and procedures for dispensing medications to students.

The state department of education often requires public schools within the state to adopt policies. These policies should address the administration of medication. The following information provides an overview of relevant state laws. These laws govern the administration of medication in schools.

General Overview: Medication at School

For many students, taking medicine during the school day is crucial. They may need these interventions to stay healthy and take part in school activities. Often, a middle school or high school staff member is responsible for giving medicine to students. These school staff follow strict rules to ensure school safety. They must follow guidelines before dispensing any medication. This is true regardless of whether the medication is over-the-counter or prescription.

For example, medications must be in their original containers. This helps the school staff ensure they give the right medicine to the right student. It also ensures the medicine is safe and has not expired. Parents share information about the student's health condition at enrollment. This information helps the school prepare. For example, the school knows to keep auto-injectors handy if a student has anaphylaxis or a severe allergic reaction.

Medicines aren't only given during regular school hours. The school staff is responsible for students on field trips or attending after-school activities. They must make sure they get the medicine they need.

The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 is a federal law addressing related services for students with disabilities. This law requires schools to help students with disabilities in many ways, including by giving them their medicine. Parents must collect any medicine left at school when the school year finishes. This makes sure that medicines don't get lost or misused.

These are general guidelines. State laws on administering medication in schools can vary. Read on to learn about each state's related laws.

State Laws on Administering Medication at School

Check our state-by-state directory of laws on schools' authority to administer medication and drugs:


The state of Alabama addresses medication administration at school in Alabama Code § 16-1-39. This statute codifies the self-administration of medication. It also creates rules and regulations to approve medication administration.


The Alaska Statutes Title 14 § 30.141 codifies the administration of medication. This state has also published "Medication Administration: A Guide for Training Unlicensed School Staff." These guidelines were developed in collaboration with the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services and the Division of Public Health. The School Nursing/School Health Program and the School Health Nurse Advisory Committee also contributed.


Title 15 of the Arizona Revised Statutes § 15-344 provides for administering prescription, patent, or proprietary medications by school employees. The law delegates authority to establish policies and procedures to local school district governing boards.


Under Arkansas Code § 007.05.10-12, licensed nursing personnel must give medications. The Arkansas Nurse Practice Act requires this. The law also requires a written order by a licensed prescriber before any medication is dispensed or administered.


The California Education Code § 49423.6 requires the state board of education to adopt regulations on the administration of prescription medication in public schools. The law clarifies that any administration is to be at the request of the student's parent or legal guardian.


The state of Colorado addresses student possession and administration of medication in Colorado Revised Statutes § 22-1-119.3. This law requires school district boards of education to adopt and implement policies relevant to the administration of medication at school. It defines the process for approval and outlines prohibited substances.


Connecticut General Statute § 10-212a, as well as Connecticut State Agencies Regulation §§ 10-212a-2, 5, and 6, allow school boards of education to adopt written policies. A Connecticut law passed in 2001 (the first of its kind in the nation) prohibits teachers, counselors, and other school personnel from recommending psychiatric drugs for schoolchildren. The state requires schools to document any skipped dose and the reasons for it.


The Delaware Regulations Administrative Code Title 14 § 817 addresses medications and treatments in school. The section provides guidance on the medications and treatments for students pursuant to the Delaware code.

District of Columbia

D.C. Code § 38-632 gives school employees the right to administer medication. D.C. schools must get authorization from the student's parent or guardian, as well as orders/instructions from the licensed physician before administering medication. School personnel must be trained to administer medications. Each school must have three trained personnel, including two trained to manage diabetes.


Florida Statutes Annotated § 232.46 require district school boards to adopt local policies and procedures. Each school district must include a school health services plan to provide training by a registered nurse or licensed practical nurse. Each district school board must adopt policies and procedures governing the administration of prescription medication.


Georgia codifies self-administration of medication laws under the Georgia Code § 20-2-776. This statute clarifies that each local board of education should adopt a policy. This policy should allow students to carry and self-administer prescription auto-injectable epinephrine. The student's parent or guardian should provide a written statement from the physician under Chapter 34 of Title 43. They should also provide a written statement by the parent/guardian.


Under the Hawaii Revised Statutes, medication administration is codified under § 302A-1164. Under this law, the department permits the self-administration of certain medications. For example, it allows the self-administration of medication for asthma, anaphylaxis, diabetes, or other life-threatening illnesses and blood glucose monitoring for the student. The student's parent or guardian must provide written authorization. There should also be a written certification from the student's physician.


The state codified the administration of medication under Idaho Statutes § 33-520. Under this law, the board of trustees of each school district must adopt a policy permitting the self-administration of medication. The student is permitted to have and use a prescribed inhaler or epinephrine auto-injector. The student may also use insulin or blood glucose monitoring supplies anytime.


Under 105 Illinois Compiled Statutes Annotated § 5/10-20.14b, the state addresses the administration of medication. This law requires school boards to develop local policies for school administration of medication. The state also adopts the policy that the administration of medication to students during regular school hours and during school-related activities should be discouraged.

Medication should be "limited to those required during school hours which are necessary to maintain the student in school and those needed in the event of an emergency." This is according to the "Recommended Guidelines for Medication Administration in Schools." The Illinois Department of Human Services and the Illinois State Board of Education published this document.


Medication administration is codified under Title 20: Education. Under I.C. § 20-19-8-3, the medication administration code is under 511 Indiana Administrative Cod § 7-36-9. This code establishes written medication administration policies for public schools.


Iowa Section 507.2 provides for the administration of medicine to students. This statute requires agencies to establish medication administration policies and procedures, including certain provisions. The code also mandates that medication must be in its original container. Schools should also keep a record containing certain information required by the statute.


The state of Kansas codifies the administration of medication under Kansas Statute § 72-8252. This statute addresses the self-administration of medication and the related regulations. The law also encourages schools to adopt policies pursuant to other state laws.


Kentucky 158:834 addresses medications at schools. Under this law, a school employee must be trained to administer medication to a student. This law also addresses the self-administration of glucagon, insulin, or seizure rescue medications.


Louisiana Revised Statute§ 17:436.1 prescribes policies for delegating administration of medications in schools to unlicensed personnel and makes other provisions.


Maine codifies the administration of medication under Title 20A of the Maine Revised Statutes § 254.5. The law states that schools must adopt rules for the administration of medication in public or approved private schools. They must each create a written local policy and procedure for administering medication.


The Annotated Code of Maryland Education Code § 7-401 codifies the administration of medication in this statute. It works in conjunction with Maryland Administrative Regulation§ 13A.05.05.08 and 10. This law requires county boards of education to adopt policies for the administration and storage of medication within school systems.


Massachusetts was one of the earliest to have a statute in place, dating from the early 1970s. New regulations were created in 1993, and old ones were updated. Four statutes in the Massachusetts General Laws are pertinent.

Chapter 71 § 53 requires registered nurses in all public school districts. Chapter 71, Section 54B contains registration requirements for students receiving medications. 105 Code of Massachusetts Reg. §§ 210.003 to 210.100 requires schools to adopt local policies consistent with the above laws and regulations.


Michigan Compiled Laws § 380.1178a (Revised School Code, Act 451 of 1976) addresses the administration of medication in Michigan schools. This law requires Michigan schools to adopt a model local policy about the administration of medication to pupils at schools. This law also mandated certain training to individuals administering the medication.


Minnesota Statutes Annotated § 121A.22 requires local school boards to develop prescription medication administration procedures with health care professionals. Under this statute, several provisions regulate the administration of medication in schools.


The state of Mississippi codifies the administration of medication for asthma and anaphylaxis in Mississippi Code § 37-11-71. This code authorizes emergency treatment for asthma, anaphylaxis, and all other life-threatening diseases. Several provisions must be followed under this code.


Chapter 167 of the Missouri Revised Statutes, "Pupils and Special Services," § 167.627, addresses state requirements of self-administered medications for asthma "or other potentially life-threatening respiratory illnesses." Section 167.181 discusses compulsory immunizations. Section 167.191 prohibits children with contagious diseases from attending school, with penalties of $5 to $100 for violations.


Beginning in 2021, Montana schools must create and follow policies about the storage, administration, and disposal of medication at schools. This includes controlled substances, prescriptions, and nonprescription supplements. This is required under Montana School Health Rules 37.111.801.


Nebraska Revised Statutes§§ 71-6718 to 6742, ie, Section 6725, in conjunction with the Nebraska Administrative Code, Chapters 59 and 95, regulate the administration of medication in schools by unlicensed personnel through competency assessments and procedural requirements.


Nevada Administrative Code § 632.226 requires school nurses (rather than local school boards) to develop procedures. These procedures address the administration of medication to pupils during school hours. The code also requires schools to keep a record of medication administered to the student.

New Hampshire

The state of New Hampshire addresses the administration of medication in the New Hampshire Code Administrative Rules. Specifically, N.H. Code Admin. R. Ed. § 311.02 addresses medication during the school day. The code requires a written statement from a licensed prescriber containing certain important information. The Code also requires written authorization from a parent or legal guardian. The school nurse must develop a record of medication administered to the student.

New Jersey

New Jersey Section 18a-40 governs the administration of medication at school. This code requires that all medications be prescribed in writing. There are certain requirements for what the writing must contain. Medications must also remain in their original prescription container until drug administration.

New Mexico

New Mexico, through N.M. 22-5-4.3, governs the administration of medication at schools. This code addresses the self-administration of medication. The statute also requires that students have a medication assistance record. This law also requires prescription medication to be in its original packaging.

New York

In the state of New York, the administration of medication is codified under 14 CRR-NY § 633.17. This statute requires schools to adopt a written policy or procedure. It also requires that medication should be prescribed and ordered in the safest possible manner.

North Carolina

North Carolina General Statute 115C-375.1 authorizes school boards of education to permit school personnel to administer prescriptive medications with parents' written authorizations.

North Dakota

North Dakota codifies the administration of medication under the North Dakota 15.1-19-23. Under this statute, a licensed nurse supervises medication administration. The code outlines other regulations and guidelines for medication administration.


Ohio Revised Code § 3313.713 requires local school boards of education to adopt policies permitting school employees to administer medication. In February 2000, Ohio became the 50th state to allow advanced practice nurses to prescribe medication (under physician supervision). In school settings, they have no independent authority to prescribe.


Under 70 Oklahoma Statutes Annotated § 1-116.2, school nurses and other school personnel must administer medications according to statutory requirements.


Oregon Revised Statutes § 339.869 and 339.870, in conjunction with Oregon Administrative Rule 581-021-0037, require local school district boards to adopt policies. Under these rules, trained school personnel must administer prescription and nonprescription medication. Some medications can be self-administered by students.


Pennsylvania authorizes schools to administer medication in emergencies under Title 22 § 12.41 of the Pennsylvania Code. Under this statute, the school needs to prepare a written plan for implementing student services related to medication administration.

Rhode Island

R.I. Gen. Laws § 16-21-22 provides for self-medication by students who have provided schools with medical documentation. The law also provides for immunity from civil damages for those negligently administering epinephrine or prescription inhalers.

South Carolina

S.C. Code § 59-63-95 codifies the administration of medication. This law was not passed until May 2023. Under this section, there must be proper authorization for administering or self-administrating lifesaving medications. This law also requires school districts to create and adopt written policies about the administration of medication.

South Dakota

This state codifies the administration of medication under South Dakota 13-32-11. Under this statute, schools must adopt policies and procedures. They must also get written orders from the prescribing physician for medication. School physicians or nurses must properly store and label all drugs. A release by the parents is also required.


Tennessee Code Annotated § 49-50-1602 requires licensed health care professionals to administer medications. School boards may allow unlicensed personnel to assist students with self-administration. This law requires that the student be competent and that the self-administration of medication be properly documented.


The Texas Department of State Health Services published a Guide to Medication Administration in the School Setting. Some of these requirements are codified in Texas Education Code, Chapter 22, Subchapter A, Section 22.052. This section provides immunity to school personnel for the administration of medication to students if there has been an adoption of policies, including parental request, container specifications, and other requirements.


Utah Code Annotated § 53A-11-601 authorizes schools to develop policies. This law requires that schools adopt policies and procedures in accordance with the Department of Health. The policies must also include the designation or training of employees who administer the medication. This law also requires that schools maintain records of administration.


The state of Vermont's Department of Health publishes a "Vermont Medication Training Guide for School Nurses." The medication laws are codified under 16 V.S.A. § 1387. This statute addresses the self-administration of emergency medication. It requires certain written authorizations. This law also mandates that all schools create a written plan for each student's medication use at school.


The Code of Virginia 22-1-274.2 addresses self-administration by students of asthma or life-threatening allergy medication. Permissions are granted for each school year and renewed annually. The code delegates to local school superintendents the authority to establish more regulations for the administration of medicines to students other than for asthma or life-threatening allergies. The Code of Virginia § 54.1-3408 authorizes school boards to train employees to administer drugs in certain circumstances.


The Revised Code of Washington, RCW § 28A.210.260, addresses the administration of medication in public and private schools. It delegates policy-making to public school districts and private schools. RCW § 28A.210.270 provides for immunity from liability for school employees.

West Virginia

West Virginia Code of State Rules § 126-27-1 establishes standards for the administration of oral, topical, and emergency medication in West Virginia public schools by persons not licensed as health care providers. Code § 18-5-22a requires school boards of education to develop policies.


Wisconsin Statute§ 118.29 requires school boards to develop policies. This includes authorizing school employees to administer medications. This code allows schools to administer prescription drugs to students. This must be in compliance with written instructions from the child's parent or guardian. The medication must be in its original packaging.


Wyoming Statutes 21-4-310 codifies the administration of medication. This law allows students to self-administer medications. They can do so within any school district for any potentially life-threatening conditions. The law mandates that certain written statements be submitted. For example, the student must provide parental verification and health care provider identification. Click here for an example of a self-administration medication form in Wyoming.

Important Notice and Disclaimer: Laws are constantly subject to change. They are amended over time. The above laws and regulations may not be current. It is advisable to check with a local attorney in your area. They can advise you about the status of education laws in your state and local district.

Seeking Legal Help

When navigating the complex world of school medication laws, it can be beneficial to seek legal help. Attorneys with experience in education and health-related matters can provide clarity. They can help guide you in your specific situation. They are well-versed in federal and state regulations and can ensure that the rights and well-being of students are upheld. Reaching out to a legal expert can offer peace of mind and a path forward.

Speak to an experienced education attorney today.

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