MEA backs legislation requiring schools to carry life-saving ‘EpiPens’

MEA supports legislation introduced in the state House that would require all Michigan schools to have epinephrine devices, also known as “EpiPens,” on hand to provide emergency treatment to students with allergies.

House Bill 4353 would require schools to carry two EpiPens, which deliver pre-measured dosages of epinephrine to combat anaphylactic shock, and have one or two school staff trained in administering the treatments, depending on the size of the school.

About 8 percent of children suffer from food allergies, according to experts. When these children experience a severe allergic reaction, every second counts. Having an EpiPen on hand can mean the difference between life and death.

Amy Derrick of Linden, whose 5-year-old daughter is allergic to tree nuts and peanuts, said the legislation is “a no brainer,” according to the Associated Press.

“In almost every story of a fatal anaphylactic reaction, there is one common theme: delayed administration or complete lack of epinephrine,” Derrick said.

The legislation, which passed the House Education Committee this week and is awaiting action in the full House, would limit the criminal and civil liability of school employees who administer the injections, except in cases of gross negligence or willful misconduct.