The following is a press release:
Anaphylaxis is a life-threatening allergic reaction that does not always pick an appropriate time or place to appear. Legislation approved this week by the General Assembly will add school buses to the places that help is nearby for a student overcome by an allergic reaction.
The bills, 2012-S 2173Aaa and 2012-H 7447A, will allow school bus drivers and monitors, after receiving proper training, to administer an epinephrine auto-injector (marketed under trade names such as the commonly known EpiPen) to an affected student while in transit to or from school or a school event.
Sponsored by Sen. Walter S. Felag Jr. (D-Dist. 10, Warren, Bristol, Tiverton) and by Rep. Jan P. Malik (D-Dist. 67, Barrington, Warren), the legislation will also allow students, who are permitted to carry an auto-injector at school, to have the item in their possession while on a school bus.
“This bill goes a long way toward putting the needs of our children first,” said Senator Felag. “When a child is overcome, what is needed is someone close by to help. School children spend lots of hours on buses, which pretty clearly explains the importance of this legislation.”
“There cannot be any gaps in the safety of children while they are at school or in transit to or from," said Rep. Malik. "This bill ensures safety for children from the time they step on a school bus in the morning until they get home at the end of the school day.”
The bill, which now goes to Gov. Lincoln Chafee requires school bus providers to be given medical documentation by parents of students for whom epinephrine is prescribed. Such notification is already required to be provided to schools.
The bill also makes bus drivers and monitors who may administer epinephrine immune from liability, as are teachers, school administrators, school health personnel and other school personnel who are currently allowed to administer epinephrine to an identified student having an allergic reaction.