Girl, 9, says Utah teacher took her inhaler during coughing fit

WEST JORDAN, Utah -- School officials are defending their handling of an incident this week where a young girl's parents say she became ill because she was not allowed to use her inhaler.

Jordan School District spokeswoman Sandra Riesgraf says school staff is trained not to allow students to use prescription medicine without official notification from parents. She says 9-year-old Emma Gonzales' parents had not given notification.

When Emma began having a coughing fit at school, the teacher took away the child's inhaler before she could use it. Emma told KSTU, the Fox affiliate in Salt Lake City, that she then began coughing so hard she threw up on her pants.

"When I get into the coughing fit, I kind of hurtle up on the ground, can't breathe and then I start to kind of feel a little nauseous," Emma said.

Riesgraf says privacy laws prevent her from discussing the details for the incident, but she said school staff would never sit by idly and watch a child have a life-threatening reaction.

Emma's parents say while they will fill out the proper paperwork so Emma can user her inhaler in the future, they believe more action should have been taken.

"When a child is puking all over themselves and they can't breathe, you know you kind of have to take action right then and there," Emma's mother, Britney Badger, told KSTU.

"There could be all sorts of problems if children were just allowed to take any medication and we didn't have that verification. Again, this is for the student's safety," Riesgraf said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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