Boy with Asthma Dies After School Confiscates His Inhaler

A mother is speaking out about one school's zero tolerance policy against asthma inhalers which she says claimed the life of her 12-year-old son.

Sandra Gibbons of Ontario says Ryan began feeling unwell while playing outside during recess at his school in Straffordville.

His friends had to carry him to the principal's office to obtain his inhaler due to the school's policy prohibiting students from carrying them around.

"So as he was going to the office to get his inhaler, he kind of was having a hard time and had to be carried into the office, and by the time he got there he had blacked out," Gibbons told the Canadian Press.

Ryan passed away on October 9, 2012.

"To this day I really don't know how exactly the whole day unfolded for him," Gibbons said.

As part of the school's policy, inhalers were regularly confiscated and placed under lock and key in the principal's office, Gibbons noted.

Gibbons would regularly receive a call from the school asking her to pick up Ryan's inhaler after he was "caught" carrying it around in his backpack.

"He wasn't even allowed to bring it home with him," she said.

Her son's death has spurred Gibbons to petition the local government for a system-wide asthma management plan as well as a change in policy to allow students to carry their own inhalers.

Some area schools do allow students to handle their own puffers, but the region lacks a unified policy.

Ontario's Minister of Education Liz Sandals said she supports "Ryan's law," but feels it may need to be expanded to include other medical conditions as well.

"Unfortunately, I stand here today trying to get this bill — Ryan's law — in place so that nobody else has to feel how I feel every day," said Gibbons, "and that's missing my son."

[screengrab via CBC News]