Date: August 15, 2002
To: District Superintendents of Schools
Superintendents of Public Schools
Directors of Special Education
Chairpersons of Committees on Special Education Recent press accounts have reported that some school district personnel have allegedly made the admission of some students to school contingent upon parental agreement to administer Ritalin or other psychotropic medications. Please be advised that school district personnel have no authority to impose such a requirement. Unilaterally denying a child admission for refusal of the parent to medicate the child violates that child’s right to a free public education.
In New York State, every child is entitled to attend public school tuition-free. The only preconditions to attendance imposed by law are that: (1) the child must actually reside in the district in which the school he or she attends is located; (2) he or she must meet the statutory age requirements; and (3) he or she must obtain proper immunizations, as required by public health law. If these criteria are met, the child must be admitted to school.
If a child is to be administered Ritalin or any other prescription medication, the medication must be prescribed by the child’s physician or other licensed and authorized health-care provider.