March 2, 2014
On Monday, February 24, 2014, I had the opportunity to testify in front of the Education Committee of the New Jersey State Assembly. I was there in support of and to ask questions about Assembly bill A-304, which would amend the current law regarding epinephrine auto-injectors ("epi-pens"). For those who do not know, an epi-pen is a potentially life saving device for use by individuals who have severe food or environmental allergies which can cause an anaphylactic reaction. Currently, New Jersey law requires that epi-pens be kept unlocked in the school nurse's office in K-12 schools for students with diagnosed allergies that have been prescribed by the student's doctor. Our Allergy Policy at SGGA actually provides more protections than the current law requires.
A-304 proposes to amend this law since in its current for it does not offer any protection to students who may have an undiagnosed allergy. The bill proposes to do this by permitting K-12 schools to have a supply of unassigned epi-pens present in the school for use in such an emergency. I think this is a very good idea, and can potentially be a lifesaving safeguard for a student whose allergy has not previously been diagnosed. Some logistical questions were raised by Dr. George Corwell of the New Jersey Catholic Conference, who was seated next to me. Dr. Corwell is very knowledgeable about how the legislative process affects our schools, and frequently attends such meetings to advocate for Catholic schools. Dr. Corwell's questions dealt with aspects of the bill that need to be ironed out so that the responsibilities of the nonpublic schools are made explicit in the law.
Because this bill makes so much sense and can potentially save lives, I am hopeful that it will eventually be rectified with a Senate version and then sent to the Governor for signature.
I would like to thank Ms. Melanie Schulz, who is a member of our SGGA School Board, who both arranged for me to attend this meeting and who also took this photo during my testimony: