TRENTON, NJ – Legislation authorizing school bus drivers to administer epinephrine in emergency situations passed the New Jersey Senate 34-0 Thursday.
“We allow parents at home and nurses at school to administer an EpiPen, but state law doesn’t address what happens if the student is on a bus going from home to school,” said Senator Patrick Diegnan (D-18) the bill's main sponsor. “Since there’s no negative effect suffered by administering the drug, it’s common sense that we should allow a bus driver to do so in emergencies.”
Epinephrine, administered through an EpiPen, is used to treat anaphylaxis, a life-threatening allergic reaction which causes the tightening of airways. While state law already authorizes school nurses to inject the drug, there is no similar provision authorizing the treatment of a student while on school transportation.
Under the bill, a board of education or a nonpublic school can enact policies for the emergency administration of epinephrine to a student by a bus driver, provided two conditions are met: The student’s parent or guardian has provided written authorization for a school bus driver to administer epinephrine to the student in an emergency and the school bus driver is properly trained in the administration of epinephrine. The bill would also waive the liability of a school bus driver and company, as well as the school, when the drug is administered in good faith.
An identical bill awaits further consideration in the New Jersey General Assembly.
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