School nurses and other trained personnel would be authorized to administer epinephrine to any student having an anaphylactic reaction under legislation sponsored by Assemblywoman Caroline Casagrande (R-11).
Casagrande’s bill, A-304 was passed in the Assembly, 73-0, on May 22 and was approved by the Senate Education Committee unanimously this morning. If approved by the full Senate, the bill will go to Governor Chris Christie whose signature will make it law.
“As many as two children in every classroom have at least one food allergy,” said Casagrande, R – Monmouth. “Schools should be able to respond quickly and appropriately to help children with a serious allergic reaction.”
Recent studies suggest that one in 13 children are affected by food allergies. More than 15 percent of school aged children with food allergies have had a reaction at school.
Current law requires that parents provide written authorization for the school to administer an injection. However, Casagrande said “a student with an undiagnosed allergy can have a reaction for the first time in the school.”
The bill also requires that schools maintain a supply of epinephrine auto-injectors, and amends the law to provide immunity to school employees and agents for good faith acts or omissions concerning the emergency administration of epinephrine to specifically include a physician providing a prescription under a standing protocol for school epinephrine. In response to the rise in child food allergies, a number of states have enacted laws allowing schools to maintain a supply of epinephrine that can be used for any student in an anaphylactic emergency.
“While many parents of children with serious food allergies supply a prescription to the school nurse or teacher, not all kids have an epinephrine auto-injector prescribed specifically for them. This helps these children,” said Casagrande.