More schools found to be feeding kids prescription drugs

By Rebecca Unsworth, March 19, 2014

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Administrators at a kindergarten in Yichang, Hubei province have been detained by police after it was alleged they gave students prescription drugs.

Principal Li Xiujuan and vice principal Zhang Yubo of Xingang Kindergarten in the city's Yiling district both admitted feeding prescription drugs to their pupils in a bid to improve attendance and immunity. However, the illegal plan backfired, as their healthy students began to develop side effects such as itching, vomiting, stomachache and dizziness.

An investigation team was set up on March 15 after parents claimed their children were being fed drugs at the school. According to ECNS, the kids told their parents that they were being forced to eat  "white, bitter-tasting tablets." The case comes days after similar cases in Jilin and Xi'an, where parents protested outside one kindergarten after discovering their children had been fed prescription meds. 

Pupils have now been moved to a nearby school and investigations are ongoing into the supplier of the prescription meds.

A notice from the Ministry of Education and the National Health and Family Planning Commission, released Monday, said that schools and kindergartens must obey five rules when administering preventative drugs to pupils:

1. They must get authorized therapeutic schedules made by medical experts at public hospitals above the county level.

2. Sanitation authorities above the county level must consult with education departments at the same level to reach an agreement and draw up detailed plans.

3. Children and parents must be informed and choose to take the drugs of their own volition.

4. There must be medical experts to offer on-the-spot guidance when students take medicines.

5. Drugs offered to students must be purchased from reliable sources with authorized certificates.

As a result of the allegations, the Health and Education Authority have ordered a country-wide "blanket inspection" process to investigate the scale of illegal activity in kindergartens, primary schools and middle schools. Investigators are due to report to the Ministry of Education and the National Health and Family Planning Commission before April 15.

[Image: Angry parents protest outside a school in Xi'an, Shaanxi province. Via CNS]

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