AN ACT RELATING TO LIFE THREATENING CHRONIC ALLERGIES AND ILLNESSES IN SCHOOLS
It is hereby enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Vermont:
Sec. 1. FINDINGS
The general assembly finds that:
(1) Because of the life-threatening nature of a variety of allergies, there is a need to be prepared for the presence of students with allergies.
(2) Food allergy prevalence has increased 55 percent in the last five years and continues to increase.
(3) From 40 to 50 percent of those persons with a diagnosed food allergy are judged to have a high risk of anaphylaxis. Every allergic reaction has the possibility of developing into a life‑threatening and potentially fatal anaphylactic reaction. This can occur within minutes or as long as a few hours after exposure to the allergen.
(4) Multiple food allergies in children are increasing.
(5) Allergic reactions vary and can range from mild to severe life‑threatening anaphylactic reactions. Some individuals who are very sensitive may react to just touching or inhaling the allergen. For others, consumption of as little as one five-thousandth of a teaspoon from a food allergen can cause death.
(6) Anaphylaxis is a sudden, severe, potentially fatal, systemic allergic reaction that can involve various areas of the body.
(7) Eight foods (peanuts, tree nuts, milk, egg, soy, wheat, fish, and shellfish) account for 90 percent of total food allergies, although there are over 170 other foods reported that have the potential to cause an allergic reaction.
(8) Approximately 80 percent of allergies to milk, egg, soy, and wheat are outgrown by age five.
(9) Peanuts and tree nuts account for 92 percent of severe and fatal reactions and are considered life-long. Allergies to fish and shellfish are also considered to be life-long.
Sec. 2. 16 V.S.A. § 212(14) is added to read:
(14) Annually, with the approval of the commissioner of health, inform superintendents and principals of best practices regarding students with life‑threatening chronic allergies and illnesses; and prepare and distribute model policies, training materials, and school guidelines for managing students with life-threatening chronic allergies and illnesses, including family responsibilities, school responsibilities, and student responsibilities.
Sec. 3. 16 V.S.A. § 563(27) is added to read:
(27) Shall assign an employee to be responsible for informing parents of students with life-threatening chronic allergies or illnesses of their rights under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, other federal statutes, state statutes, state rules, and school policies, and for ensuring appropriate school staff are informed of their responsibilities and receive proper training.
The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street