Executive Order Seeks to Correct Mistakes By Loudoun School System

In light of the recent surge in student overdoses in Loudoun County, Virginia’s Governor has swiftly put into action Executive Order NUMBER TWENTY-EIGHT (2023). This order aims to strengthen preventive measures and mandates prompt parental notification in the event of drug-related incidents at schools.

The urgent implementation of this initiative is a reaction to the concerning data noted recently. Loudoun County Public Schools reported nine opioid-related overdoses involving students in October 2023 alone, with almost half of these incidents taking place on school grounds. In three cases, emergency opioid antidote naloxone was administered, and life-saving CPR was performed by school staff in two instances.

The surge in student overdoses isn’t exclusive to Loudoun County and reflects a larger, statewide problem. So far, the county has reported over 19 juvenile opioid overdoses this year, highlighting the critical need for swift and decisive action.

The directives of the Executive Order cover three key areas:

Parental Notification: The order insists on parents being notified within 24 hours of any school-linked student overdose. This move seeks to correct past delays in communication, like when Loudoun County schools allegedly took over 20 days to notify parents about overdose incidents.
Law Enforcement Collaboration: The order encourages a unified approach to prevent student overdoses by promoting collaboration between local school divisions and state law enforcement agencies.
Student Education: The order underscores the need to educate students about drug use risks and mandates information dissemination about programs aiming to enhance decision-making skills and legal awareness regarding drug use.

The Governor’s administration has actively tackled the fentanyl epidemic with initiatives like the “Right Help, Right Now” and “One Pill Can Kill” campaigns. This new executive order builds on those efforts and addresses gaps exposed by the incidents in Loudoun County.

Some critics have emphasized the previous delays in parental notification as a significant issue, arguing that it not only jeopardizes the students’ health but also infringes on parents’ rights to make informed decisions regarding their children’s wellbeing.

Looking Ahead

The executive order is already in effect and will continue to be so unless modified or revoked by subsequent directives. It marks a determined effort to ensure alignment among schools, law enforcement, and parents in addressing the rising problem of student overdoses.

As the community wrestles with this issue, the order is anticipated to instill urgency and a coordinated approach to safeguarding the health and welfare of students across Virginia.