CHICAGO (CBS) — Your child might want to go to a park district camp, but what if they have a potentially deadly allergy? Are you forced to lie on a form saying your child knows how to use an inhaler or EpiPen?
CBS 2 Investigator Dorothy Tucker learned that’s a claim one parent is making.
Randi Manella began kindergarten in Roselle this school year. It’s usually a happy milestone, but her father said “this just is kind of a horror show for us.”
“We have to send them to before and after care. It’s run by the park district,” Joseph Manella said.
Manella’s battle with the Roselle Park District began in 2017, when Randi was just 3 years old. He wanted to sign her up for summer camp, but with her potentially life-threatening food allergy and asthma, she might need an EpiPen or inhaler. He said a park district employee told him they can’t give Randi the inhaler.
“I said ‘why not?’ She said, ‘because our insurance does not allow it,’” Manella said.
He complained to the Illinois Attorney General’s office, which determined the Roselle Park District had procedures in place to administer medication, but needed to add forms to its website.
The park district emailed Manella before the first day of school in 2018, asking him to fill out medication dispensing forms and a waiver.
“That waiver not only says that the child has to be able to self-administer the inhaler, and the EpiPen, but if you don’t sign it, they’re excluded from camp,” Manella said.
His daughter can’t properly dispense the drugs herself, because she’s only 5 years old.
“It’s not gonna happen,” he said.
Pediatric allergists surveyed in 2012 agree. Children and parents should start sharing responsibility at age 12.
“The waiver could be made better by saying, at the parent’s discretion, the child can self-administer,” Manella said.
He filed another complaint with the attorney general’s office, which said changes need to be made to the waiver.
“I won’t allow my child in a camp until this is fixed,” Manella said.
Now that the attorney general’s office has notified the park district to clarify the forms, the question is what are they doing?
The park district confirmed it is in preliminary discussions with the attorney general’s office regarding the waiver.
Several other park districts use the same form. It’s unclear if the attorney general’s investigation will expand to include those as well.