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June 04, 2012  |   Comments (0)   |   Post a comment

R.I. bus drivers, monitors can administer epinephrine


PROVIDENCE, R.I. — A new state law allows bus drivers and monitors to give an epinephrine injection — or EpiPen shot — to a student suffering from severe allergies while traveling to or from school or a school-related event.  

The legislation, which was signed into law by Gov. Lincoln Chafee last week and takes effect immediately, requires that school bus drivers and monitors receive training on how to properly administer the epinephrine.

It also requires that the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, as well as the Department of Health incorporate into their policies, rules and regulations pertaining to school health programs a procedure for addressing incidents of extreme allergies.

The policies, rules and regulations must include a procedure where the parent or legal guardian of a student who is prone to allergies may authorize school bus drivers and monitors to administer the epinephrine to the child in case of an emergency.    

“This bill goes a long way toward putting the needs of our children first,” said Sen. Walter Felag, one of the bill’s sponsors. “When a child is overcome, what is needed is someone close by to help. Schoolchildren spend lots of hours on buses, which pretty clearly explains the importance of this legislation.”

The legislation also allows students to carry an EpiPen while on a school bus. School bus providers must be given medical documentation by parents that the epinephrine has been legitimately prescribed.

In addition, the bill makes bus drivers and monitors who may administer epinephrine immune from liability, as are teachers, school administrators, school health personnel and other school personnel.

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