SACRAMENTO (KCBS)— California’s Senate Bill 1266 would require K-12 public schools to stock epinephrine auto-injectors (EpiPens) on campus in the event a student experiences a severe allergic reaction or anaphylaxis. While the bill passed two separate committees, it faces strong opposition from the teacher’s union.
Many in the medical field want the bill to pass and have given testimonials that EpiPens are the only medication that can save a life during anaphylaxis, and have emphasized its safety.
Current law allows the devices in charter and public schools, but does not require them to be included in first-aid kits.
If the law is approved, the bill would require at least one staff member or member of the school’s administration to be trained to administer the medication on a voluntary basis.
The bill, authored by Senate Republican Leader Bob Huff (R-Diamond Bar), moved forward when the Senate Education Committee and Senate Health Committee voted it through.
According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, 20 to 25 percent of the time a student has an allergic reaction that requires an EpiPen at school; it’s because of a previously undiagnosed or unknown allergy to food, insect bites, medicine, or even exercise.
The Sacramento Bee reported the California Teachers Association said in a letter it was worried about “the potential for probationary or temporary educators and/ or classified employees to be ‘highly encouraged’ to become trained in administering medication against their will.”
California School Employees Association and California Federation of Teachers are also opposed to the bill. They argue that school nurses should be handling the medication, but KCBS, KPIX and Chronicle Insider Phil Matier pointed out that there simply isn’t money for that kind of staffing in California’s budget.
SB 1266 goes before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, April 29th.