Understanding School Medical Consent Forms

It is that time of year again. Time to think about new backpacks, school year schedules and, of course, the mountain of paperwork that will be provided to you for your signature around the time your child gets on the bus. Some of the paperwork is clear cut. For example, you will likely be asked to sign that you have read the school handbook and you either have read it or have not read it.
 
However, some of the consent forms, particularly the medical consent forms require a bit more attention. The answers to some of the questions on the medical consent forms may not be quite as clear as you think and the ramifications of the answers that you provide can be very important.
 
While each state and local school district has different forms that you will be required to sign, you should be prepared to complete any or all of the following documents:
 
  • Emergency Consent Form: emergency consent forms authorize the school to make the decision to get medical care for your child, in the case of an emergency. such forms usually require the following types of information:
    • the name, phone number and address of your child’s primary care physician;
    • the name and location of your preferred hospital;
    • the names and phone numbers of at least two people whom the school can contact if attempts to reach you are unsuccessful; and
    • your health insurance information.
  • Administration of Medication Authorization: many children need to take medication during the school day. For some children, this is an ongoing need and for others it is a short term need. For all children with this need, an authorization to administer medication form must be completed. The form should be specific as to the type of medication, the dosage and the time that it is to be administered. Some state and school districts require that the form be signed by both a doctor and the parent.
  • Proof of Physical Examination and Immunizations: states require public school students to have regular physical examinations and immunizations on a certain schedule. Parents typically need to provide proof of those examinations and immunizations on a state form that is filled out and signed by the child’s doctor.
  • Athletic Participation Form: student athletes usually need to fill out specific consent forms that are signed by their doctor which allow them to participate in school athletic programs.
 
While we all get caught up in filling out the paperwork at the beginning of the school year, it is important to take the time to think about the information that you provide and its consequences. Each of the documents described above is legally enforceable and can significantly impact your child’s ability to participate in the school program and get necessary medical care in the case of an emergency. So, it is important to carefully review your child’s medical consent forms and to make sure that the school has the information that it needs to keep your child safe during the school year.
 

The information on this page is meant to provide a general overview of the law. The laws in your state and/or city may deviate significantly from those described here. If you have specific questions related to your situation you should speak with a local attorney.

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