According to FARE, an estimated 5.6 million children in America are coping with food allergies translating to 1 in 13 kids or an average of 2 kids in every classroom.
The federal government is doing little to safeguard their activities at school, leaving it to the states to act, and by and large, the states have been slow to do so.
Two state legislators from Orlando — Senator Linda Stewart and Orlando State Representative Rita Harris — have introduced a bill to help address the issue for Florida. SB 52/HB 65 will require the adoption of anaphylaxis policies in the state’s public schools.
The legislation would require each state school board to publish an anaphylaxis policy that would include a treatment plan in response to allergic reactions and would require at least 50% of school personnel to complete the school board’s anaphylaxis training program.
The legislation would also require periodic notification to parents and students about food allergies and strategies for avoiding unsafe foods.
“This legislation is about ensuring the health and safety of our children,” said Orlando State Senator Stewart. “Currently, there are certain times when a child may not have adult supervision by someone trained to assist them in the event of an anaphylactic reaction. It is essential that we eliminate this risk to our students through this simple training requirement.”
“Life-threatening allergies can result from food, bug bites, prescription drugs, and so many other things that we do not consider in our day-to-day lives,” said Orlando State Representative Harris. “I am proud to file legislation that is focused not only on remedying allergies as they happen but also on preventing allergic reactions in the first place. This is a step in the right direction to ensure the safety and health of all students.”
If enacted, the legislation will take effect on July 1, 2024.
- Two Orlando Legislators Introduce Bill Requiring Anaphylaxis Policies in Schools — West Orlando News
- Facts & Statistics — FARE
- SB 52: Anaphylaxis in Public Schools — The Florida Senate
- HB 65 — Anaphylaxis in Public Schools — Florida House of Representatives