By Danielle Nelson
*This article is posted on The Express Times website.
New legislation has passed the state House allowing school bus drivers to administer epipens in allergic emergencies. (Express-Times File Photo)
School bus drivers may become the new first responders.
The Pennsylvania House of Representatives approved the Student Health and Safety Bill last week. The legislation,sponsored by Rep. Justin Simmons, R-Lehigh/Northampton, allows school bus drivers to use epinephrine auto-injectors, or epipens, on students who are experiencing an allergic reaction while in their care.
Simmons’ proposal requires bus drivers to first complete a training program, which would be provided by the state Department of Health. Drivers will also need to abide by a school district’s policy in order to use the epipens. Civil immunity would be provided to bus drivers who apply the epipens.
Simmons said the issue was brought to his attention by several mothers concerned about the lack of medical attention given to students who suffer from serve allergies between home and school.
“Nurses and trained teachers can administer the epipens at school. But what happens if the allergic reaction occurs while the child is on school bus?” Simmons asked. “My legislation allows the bus driver to help out without the fear of any legal consequences.”
While there are some school districts across the state that allow drivers to administer epipens, there may be some drivers who refrain from using them on their student passengers out of fear of being sued.
The bill will now move to the Senate for a committee vote. The bill has not been assigned to a committee yet, according to Andy Briggs, Simmons’ media contact.
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