Senate Bill 195 would allow schools to stock a supply of auto-injectable epinephrine that could be prescribed by a practitioner to the school itself.
This would eliminate the possibility of a student going into anaphylactic shock and not being able to receive epinephrine if they do not have a prescribed device at the school.
“It’s going to help the students be safer and it’s good for schools to have it,” said Judie Fellers, a registered nurse and the Public Health Nurse Coordinator for School Health for the Floyd County Health Department.
Fellers oversees the 11 school nurses that serve both the Rome City and Floyd County school systems.
She said places like the Floyd County Schools College and Career Academy would benefit from the bill since they serve home-schooled students who may have an EpiPen at home but not at the school.
There also could be a situation where a student who has never had a severe allergic reaction before goes into anaphylactic shock at an alternative school, or a school that doesn’t have a student who requires epinephrine.
“This would be good for students that go from one school to another and it will make it a lot better situation for them,” Fellers said.
Hufstetler, R-Rome, is a freshman lawmaker. SB 195 was his first piece of legislation to be presented as a senator. It was passed in the Senate on Monday by a vote of 50-1 and was sent to the House where it will next be reviewed by the Education Committee.
“It really is a good bill and a needed bill,” Hufstetler said. “I think everyone saw that and watched it come through.”
The bill will also allow a school employee to provide or administer epinephrine to a student that the employee believes in good faith is experiencing an anaphylactic adverse reaction.
Fellers said they have trained school staff in the past on how to use the auto-injectors and when to use them. It’s having a supply of them and being able to use them on any student in need that makes that training more important than before.
Hufstetler said one of the school nurses who reached out to him, in the past, had administered epinephrine to a student who didn’t have a prescription for it and was nearly fired because of it.
“We want to make sure that these people can do the right thing,” Hufstetler said. “They are excited to be able to do this.”
The bill received support from the Food Allergy Kids of Atlanta, an advocacy group that tries to raise awareness on the importance of food-allergy prevention and the seriousness of food-allergy reactions.