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School denies 4th grade student's inhaler

Posted at 7:31 PM, Sep 30, 2015

A Utah school district is under fire for taking away a fourth-grade girl's inhaler while she had a coughing fit.

Nine-year-old Emma Gonzales learned a hard lesson this weekend.

She has a new inhaler after a coughing fit landed her in the emergency room.

"I push that, then this holds it in and I just breathe it in," said Emma.

It went with her to school Monday, where she had another attack.

"I was coughing and I threw up on my pants.”

Emma knows how to use the inhaler all by herself, but she never had the chance.

"Cause she took away the inhaler and put it in this plastic bag."

That was in the Columbia Elementary School office where Emma was sent from her 4th grade classroom when she started to cough.

"We have to protect the children. We have to make sure that the medicine that they have brought to school is actually for them," said Jordan School District Spokeswoman Sandy Riesgraf.

The District says their staff did the right thing by trying to verify the inhaler was Emma's before letting her use it.

Her father was called, but he says, the school still said no because the paperwork hadn't been filed.

"All you can do is just feel helpless sometimes especially when the people who are taking care of her say that they're not going to help her if something happens," said Emma’s father, Scott Cowan.

Emma's coughing fit passed without the inhaler, but not before she threw up.

"In cases like this, we don't let the children out of our sight ... and even in situations where perhaps the parents haven't signed off on the medications or we haven't got approval, certainly we wouldn't just let this child sit alone,” said Riesgraf.

Frustrated, her parents pulled her out of school until the paperwork is done.

"It makes me actually sick to my stomach because she is sitting there puking on herself and she really needs it,” said Britney Badger, Emma’s mother.

And when Emma gets the inhaler, she says "It makes me feel much better."