Washington State Principal Investigated After Loaning Inhaler To Student

| by Jared Keever
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A middle school principal in Washington state will not be charged with a crime for loaning her prescription inhaler to a student who was having an asthma attack, police say. 

The Associated Press reports Woodland Police Chief Phillip Crochet says Cari Thomson, principal of Woodland Middle School, might just have saved the boy’s life by giving him the inhaler. 

Crochet told The Daily News of Longview, Washington, that loaning the inhaler to the boy was technically illegal “by the letter of the law.”

“But the prosecutor is seeing this as common sense,” he said. 

In the police report regarding the incident, the student’s father, Jason Birrer, told a Woodland police officer “he was sure (Thomson) was trying to help his son,” but was concerned that her prescription might have been too strong for the boy. 

Birrer said he didn’t think his son was harmed, but felt Thomson should have checked with him first. 

The December incident was reported to police Jan. 5 by physical education teacher Cheryl Nesbitt who was told about it by English teacher Holly Royle, the only one of the two who actually witnessed Thomson administer the inhaler to the boy. 

Thomson fired Nesbitt and Royle Dec. 17, after the incident occurred. The two teachers maintain their firing was retaliation for reporting Thomson to the district superintendent regarding unrelated incidents of breaches of professional conduct and lack of leadership. 

Royle told The Daily News she waited nearly a month to mention the incident because she feared more retaliation by Thomson. She said her teacher’s union representative advised her to file a report. 

“I didn’t report it (right away) because the work environment I’m in,” Royle said. “(Thomson) would have blamed me and harassed me. Who knows what she would have done? It’s one of the things that I brushed off at the end of the day. She’s very erratic in her behavior.”

Thomson is currently on leave while the district investigates other complaints brought by teachers and parents. She could not be reached for comment. 

Sources: KOMO News (AP Story)The Daily News / Photo Credit: The Daily News courtesy of Woodland Middle School