By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Thursday the Alabama Senate passed SB412, commonly known as the Kyle Graddy Act. The bill was sponsored by Senator Tom Whatley (R-Beauregard).
The bill is named for a 9 year old Alabama boy (Kyle Graddy) who testified before Congress about his need for in-school access to his auto-injectable epinephrine medication. Children with severe allergies use the epinephrine to stop crippling and potentially fatal anaphylactic reactions.
In persons with extremely severe allergies an allergic reaction may begin within minutes or even seconds of exposure. Anaphylaxis rapidly progresses to cause airway constriction, skin and intestinal irritation, and altered heart rhythms. In severe cases, it can lead to complete airway obstruction, shock, and death, unless the person receives medication (epinephrine) to halt the reaction.
The eight most common food allergies are peanuts, eggs, shellfish, soybeans, tree nuts, fish, and shell fish; but someone can be allergic occur to almost any food, making it virtually impossible to allergy proof an entire school.
Kyle’s testimony before Congress led to passage of the Food Allergy & Anaphlaxis Act in 2011. Senator Tom Whatley said, “The federal law is helpful because it puts voluntary guidelines in place, but SB412 actually guarantees that no child will be left without access to critical, life-saving medication.” The act requires that “each local board of education and the governing body of each nonpublic school in the state shall permit the self-administration of medications by a student for chronic conditions if conducted in compliance with the State Department of Education and State Board of Nursing Medication Curriculum, as may be amended from time to time by the department and board. Approved medications may be self-administered if the parent or legal guardian of the student provides all of the information outlined in the medication curriculum, including, but not limited to, all of the following…(emphasis added).” Self injectable epinephrine is just one of the medications on the list. Some schools have used their zero tolerance of drugs policy to prevent children Kyle from bringing their medication to school. It would be difficult to go from the playground to the school nurse’s office to get medication during anaphylaxsis.
Senator Whatley is a freshman Senator in the Alabama Senate. He is also a Lieutenant Colonel in the Alabama National Guard.and also an attorney, is a freshman Senator from Beauregard. He represents the 28th District.