For Immediate Release – April 27, 2012
Office of the Governor
Contact: Jeff Caldwell
Phone: (804) 225-4260
Governor McDonnell Signs Epinephrine Legislation at Binford Middle School
RICHMOND – Governor Bob McDonnell today signed House Bill 1107 (Greason) and Senate Bill 656 (McEachin), which require local school boards to adopt and implement policies for the possession and administration of epinephrine in Virginia’s public schools. He was joined by Laura Pendleton and her nieces, Michelle Foster (an 8th grader at Binford Middle School) and Sharice Green, who advocated for the legislation. Laura’s daughter, Amarria Johnson, tragically died as a result of an allergic reaction to peanuts in a Virginia School. He was also joined by members of the General Assembly, representatives from the Food Allergy Network, pediatricians and healthcare and education leaders.
Speaking about the legislation, Governor McDonnell said, “Virginia must do everything it can to ensure the safety of our young people while they are in school. This legislation and the money in the recently passed budget will help prevent another tragedy like Amarria Johnson’s from occurring in a public school in the Commonwealth. Having a plan in place and access to epinephrine in schools, where children spend half their day, is critical. I want to thank Amarria’s mother, Laura Pendleton for her strong advocacy for this measure as well as the bi-partisan efforts of Senator McEachin and Delegate Greason and others to guide it through the legislative process.”
The biennial budget passed last week includes $200,000 to support the purchase of epinephrine injectors for public schools in Virginia during the 2012-2013 school year. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently reported an 18% increase in food allergy among school-aged children from 1997 to 2007. According to a clinical report by the American Academy of Pediatrics, 16% to 18% of children with a food allergy have experienced a reaction in school and approximately 25% of allergic reactions or treatments for anaphylaxis occur in children whose allergy was previously undiagnosed.
State-level guidelines will be developed by July 1, 2012 and school boards will adopt and implement the new policy at the start of the 2012-2013 school year.