Legislation co-sponsored by Addabbo to expand student safety and address parent concerns passes Senate

Senator Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr.

March 4, 2022

NYS Senator Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr., joined his colleagues in passing legislation to expand student safety and address parent concerns. This package of bills will allow school personnel to administer seizure and asthma rescue medications and will expand current concussion management laws to include nonpublic schools. 

Legislation (S.1019A), co-sponsored by Addabbo, authorizes schools to have asthma rescue medications on campus for use during a medical emergency. Over 145,000 students in NYC have a known diagnosis of asthma and over 21,000 students had an asthma attack in 2016. Schools currently require Medication Administration Forms (MAF) to dispense most types of medication, including albuterol and other asthma rescue medications. Parents or guardians must take their children to a primary care provider for an examination, which may be challenging for those who cannot take time away from work, do not have adequate childcare, or can’t afford to pay for the examination. Only 25% of students have a MAF on file so students in need of emergency medications during the school day, are unable to receive appropriate care potentially leading to a much more critical or deadly situation.

“As a parent of two school-aged children, I know students spend a great deal of their time in school, which is why it’s so important that we enact measures to prioritize the health and well-being of all students,” Addabbo said. “This package of bills will give students and their parents peace of mind by providing school personnel with the authority and resources to respond in unpredictable, emergency health situations. These legislative measures are essential to providing a safer, less stressful, learning environment. Each of these bills will allow schools to help a student in an emergency and provide liability protection to school districts making every effort to help their students,” Addabbo said.

Another bill (S.4650) co-sponsored by Addabbo, allows unlicensed personnel to administer seizure rescue medications. According to the Department of Health, it’s estimated that 180,000 New Yorkers have epilepsy and approximately 1 in 10 diagnosed individuals will have a seizure in their lifetime. An individual prone to seizures has no control over when and where they will occur. Students spend many hours every weekday on school grounds whether in the classroom, doing extracurricular activities, or on a school bus, so this legislation would allow schools that have an enrolled student with epilepsy to train their staff with the skills to administer lifesaving medication. Nasal sprays are the easiest for unlicensed individuals to administer during an emergency. The Epilepsy Foundation and their local affiliates offer training for school personnel, but that is no substitute for being able to use a lifesaving medication when immediate treatment is critical.

Legislation (S.973) co-sponsored by Addabbo, requires nonpublic schools to follow the same rules and regulations as public schools regarding a student who suffers a concussion. In 2011, NYS passed the Concussion Management and Awareness Act (Chapter 496 of 2011), requiring that any students that have or may have suffered a concussion be removed from athletic activities, and only return to athletics after written authorization from a licensed physician.  

After passing the Senate, the bills were delivered to the Assembly for consideration.

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