Legislation Would Provide Grants, Guidelines to Schools to Better Assist Students
NASHVILLE (June 9, 2008) – U.S. Senators Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) today joined country music star Trace Adkins and representatives of the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network (FAAN) to announce they are co-sponsoring legislation that would help schools protect the more than 2.2 million children nationwide – including 41,000 Tennesseans – who suffer from life-threatening food allergies.
“Parents should be able to send their children to school without worrying that their son or daughter might suffer a life-threatening allergic reaction at the lunch table. Equally important, children should be able to attend school and focus on learning and on having fun,” said Alexander, a former Secretary of Education. “We need to help our school administrators, teachers, and nurses have the best training possible to keep safe the 41,000 children in Tennessee, and millions throughout the country, who suffer from potentially fatal allergies. This bill will provide guidelines and grants that will make it easier for schools to prevent emergencies and be as prepared as possible if one occurs.”
“This bill is about keeping children safe and giving parents peace of mind. Food allergies affect millions of Americans and often pose a life-threatening risk to the most vulnerable among us, our children,” Corker said. “Trace Adkins and his wife have been champions of this issue for years, advocating for greater awareness of this serious medical condition – particularly in America’s schools. Today, I’m proud to join Trace and Senator Alexander in announcing this legislation that will go a long way toward making sure schools are safe places for all children. This bill will establish resources to help educate students, faculty, and administrators alike about food allergies and how to deal with reactions when they occur. I look forward to working with my colleagues in the Senate so that this bill will one day become law.”
“My wife and I feel education about food allergies is key to saving lives,” said Adkins. “We have been working toward the passage of this important legislation for more than three years now. There have been no consistent, standardized guidelines to help schools safely manage students with food allergies. This bill will help keep kids safe while at school, and parents will be more at ease knowing an ‘action plan’ is in place.”
“The Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Management Act will make America a much safer place for those 2.2 million school-age children with food allergies. It will also provide much-needed information to school staff and greater peace of mind for parents. We applaud Senator Alexander and Senator Corker for their leadership, and Trace and Rhonda Adkins for their advocacy,” said FAAN CEO and Founder Anne Muñoz-Furlong.
The legislation co-sponsored by Alexander and Corker – the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Management Act (S. 1232) – would:
•Direct the U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary – in consultation with the U.S. Secretary of Education – to develop voluntary guidelines for schools to prevent exposure to food allergens and ensure a prompt response when a student suffers a potentially fatal anaphylactic reaction.
•Provide for grants to local educational agencies to assist them with the adoption and implementation of food allergy management guidelines in K-12 public schools.
After the announcement, Alexander and Corker also recognized the outstanding work of Edmonson Elementary School in Brentwood, Tenn., in managing the severe allergies of Trace Adkins’ daughter Brianna and highlighted efforts by FAAN to bring the story of these children – and the schools that are helping to protect them – to lawmakers.
“Edmonson Elementary School has stepped up to the plate to help Brianna with her allergies and is a great example of the type of program the bill will help develop in other schools,” Alexander and Corker concluded. “We commend this school, the Adkins family, and the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network for a tremendous job advocating on behalf of children suffering from allergies that directly affect their quality of life and their health.”