Davis High lacks a medical amnesty policy

Some students intoxicate themselves prior to school events using illegal substances such as cocaine, alcohol and marijuana.

By Auden Marsh-Armstrong
BlueDevilHUB.com Staff–

UC Davis has just recently instituted a new medical amnesty policy that protects its students. Despite UCD’s new policy, the Davis Joint Unified School District does not plan to institute a medical amnesty policy to Davis High.

Medical amnesty policies, applied in a school setting, protect the liability of minors who are under the influence of illicit substances and are seeking medical help for themselves or a friend.

Such policies are prevalent within secondary education institutions. Recently, UCD instituted such a policy called “The Aggies Act” to reduce the number of situations in which minors die because their friends, fearful of reprimand or legal consequences, do not seek help for them. UCD hopes that “The Aggies Act” encourage young adults to respond in these potentially lethal situations.

“We are […] bound by California Education (law) that does not have a provision for medical amnesty,” DJUSD Communications Specialist Madison Shumway said

The California Education Law forbids all students from being under the influence of drugs on school campuses, school events or while coming to or going from school. DJUSD’s stance is that all students found in this condition must be punished.  

While many colleges all over the country have medical amnesty policies, high schools have stayed firm in their decision not to introduce these policies for their students.

Shumway argues rules are appropriate for DHS.

“Medical amnesty policies may be appropriate in college settings where students over 18, […] live on campus and spend much of their time without other adult supervision […] High school settings are different,” Shumway said. 

Many students think differently.

“I think it’s a mistake to not institute this policy,” senior Lucia Ferrer said.

Sophomore Alice Ferrer agrees.

“It doesn’t make sense,” Alice said.

Some students believe only good can come from instituting this policy, including sophomore Erica Frederickson, who said that if DHS had a medical amnesty policy, then “people wouldn’t be so shy to do what they need to do.”

Frederickson is not alone in this sentiment.

“I’d much rather be able to help a friend than having to worry about getting in trouble,” Alice said.

One thought on “Davis High lacks a medical amnesty policy

  • December 6, 2017 at 12:34 AM

    Thanks for this reporting! This is a vital issue for our community to consider not just from a public health perspective but also from a restorative justice perspective. I’d love to follow up with the Hub and offer a perspective from inside the policy room on the Aggie’s Act formation if interested!

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