Snyder signs bills requiring epinephrine injectors and creating student hotline

 LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder has signed laws requiring every public school in Michigan to have epinephrine injectors to treat allergic reactions.

Schools will have to have two epinephrine devices starting next academic year and ensure at least two staff members are trained to use them.

Children can die if they don’t get a dose of epinephrine to stop reactions to peanuts. Other causes of anaphylaxis include bee stings, latex and exercise.

It’s estimated that one of every 13 children suffers from food allergies.

Snyder signed the laws Monday. They were sponsored by Republican Rep. Lisa Posthumus Lyons of Alto.

“Food allergies are becoming more common and the risks to children are greater,” Snyder said. “By making sure our schools are equipped with these devices, we can help protect our students.” 
The devices provide inexpensive and effective emergency treatment for anaphylaxis brought on by food allergies. 

“Nothing is more important than keeping our kids safe at school and thanks to the Governor Snyder’s signature and the leadership of lawmakers like Representative Lyons, our schools will be safer than ever,” said Lisa Rutter, a mother of two and the Founder of the No Nuts Moms Group who attended today’s bill signing. “Adding epinephrine auto injectors to our schools’ emergency tool kits will protect kids from the sort of unexpected and life threatening food allergies that have tragically claimed so many lives on playgrounds and in classrooms in other states. 

It is estimated that one of every 13 children suffers from food allergies — roughly two per classroom. Common food allergies include peanuts, milk, soy, wheat and fish. Other causes of anaphylaxis include bee stings, latex and exercise.

The injectors immediately deliver epinephrine into the victim’s system, slowing down the allergic reaction to give emergency personnel time to provide further treatment.

Students will have a 24-hour, 365-days-per-year confidential tip line to help prevent school tragedies after Snyder signed a law creating the OK-2-SAY hotline.

“The OK-2-SAY hotline will give students the confidence to do the right thing without the fear of intimidation or retribution,” Snyder said. “We want a bright future for our kids and this program will help stop violent acts before they turn into tragedies.”

Senate Bill 374, sponsored by state Sen. Judy Emmons, creates the “Michigan Student Safety Act.” The Department of Attorney General in consultation with the Michigan State Police, the Michigan Department of Education, and the Michigan Department of Community Health will cooperate to establish the program.

“The OK-2-SAY student safety program will help students break the culture of silence by providing them with a confidential resource to stop tragedy and violence before it occurs,” said Attorney General Bill Schuette. “We cannot sit and wait for the next Columbine or Sandy Hook. I would like to thank Gov. Snyder for his support for this important initiative to keep schools safe.”
The program includes a hotline that will:

• Accept tips by phone, text message, email, website and multimedia device;

• Operate 24-hours-a-day, every day of the year; and

• Protect the confidentiality of the reporter’s identity.

The program is modeled after a similar one in Colorado that was created after the Columbine High School shootings.

“Having an easy way for students to report trouble is important,” said Vickie Markavitch, Oakland Schools superintendent. “I’m especially pleased that the legislation addresses referrals for proper
intervention and mental health services.”