S.B. 66 is about anaphylaxis and epipens. It does not require a school district to do anything. The critical language in the new law says that “Each school district and open-enrollment charter school may adopt and implement a policy regarding the maintenance, administration, and disposal of epinephrine auto-injectors at each campus in the district or school.” T.E.C. 38.208(a). This is a law with a “may” not a “shall.” Every mandate in the bill is contingent on the adoption of that policy. So you don’t have to do anything about this unless and until your board adopts a policy.
But it is likely that school boards will want to adopt a policy about this. After all, anaphylaxis is a critical safety concern. Certainly the parents of students with serious allergies will want to know that the district is doing everything it can to provide for student safety.
If your board adopts a policy, you will need to study the bill carefully. It requires training of personnel, compliance with regulations to be adopted by the Commissioner of State Health Services along with the Commissioner of Education, ensuring that you have at least one properly trained person on each campus “during all hours the campus is open,” reports on use of the epipens, and record keeping.
The law says that schools can accept gifts, grants and donations, along with local and/or federal funds to pay for this. This is a completely unnecessary provision, as the school districts already have that authority. But the real purpose of this provision is for the Legislature to once again wash its hands of any financial responsibility. If school administrators complain of this being another unfunded mandate, your local rep is sure to point out that you are not required to adopt that policy. Thus it may be “unfunded” but it’s not a “mandate.” You don’t have to do this.
Right. Try telling that to the parent whose child went to the emergency room last week.
DAWG BONE: GET WITH THE PROPER MEDICAL PROFESSIONALS IN YOUR DISTRICT TO DISCUSS S.B. 66.