Trained Bus Drivers Could Assist During Severe Allergic Reactions, Asthma Attacks
(TRENTON) – Expanding on current New Jersey law for emergency administration of epinephrine medication such as EpiPen to students suffering from serious allergic reactions or asthma attacks, bipartisan legislation sponsored in part by Assemblywoman Annette Quijano to include school bus drivers among those permitted to administer the medication in emergency situations was approved on Thursday by the Assembly Education Committee.
“An asthma attack or severe allergic reaction can happen anywhere, including on the school bus,” said Quijano (D-Union). “Our current law allows certain school personnel like nurses to administer the medication students need to alleviate symptoms with their parents’ permission. By extending the same permission to school bus drivers, parents can be assured their child will have access to someone trained and ready to help whether an emergency occurs in the classroom or on the bus.”
The bill (A-3679) would build upon current law to permit a board of education or a nonpublic school to allow a school bus driver to administer epinephrine to a student under the following conditions:
1.The student’s parent or guardian has provided written authorization for a school bus driver to administer epinephrine during an emergency, and;
2.The bus driver has been properly trained in the administration of epinephrine via a pre-filled auto injector mechanism using standardized training protocols established by the Department of Education in consultation with the Department of Health. The training would be conducted by an entity or individual approved by DOE.
“During severe allergic reactions, epinephrine can deliver critical relief by improving breathing, stimulating the heart, and reducing swelling or hives,” said Quijano. “With this bill, bus drivers will be able to help students suffering from a serious reaction recover quickly.”
The bill is also sponsored by Assemblyman Joe Howarth.
“More children are affected by allergies, especially food allergies, each year,” said Howarth (R-Burlington). “This growing concern means we can’t have any blind spots when looking after what is most important; the safety of our students.”
Additionally, the measure would provide that school bus drivers, school districts, nonpublic schools and school bus contractors that provide pupil transportation services under contract with a board of education have immunity from liability for good faith acts or omissions consistent with the bill’s provisions.
The measure now heads to the Assembly Speaker for further consideration.