Legislation was signed into law Tuesday to allow school districts to stock inhalers for health emergencies. Sen. Kay Floyd, D-Oklahoma City, authored Senate Bill 381 at the request of constituents who lost a family member to a severe asthma attack at school.
“Many people don’t realize they have asthma, and for others it can be so minor they don’t have problems. Brendon McLarty was diagnosed with asthma at a young age but it never caused him problems until the last day of his sophomore year when the 16-year-old suffered a fatal attack of sudden severe asthma,” said Floyd. “By allowing school districts to provide inhalers on site, hopefully tragedies like Brendon’s death won’t happen. Just like having Epipens on site, schools will be prepared for those kids who forget their inhalers or don’t know they have asthma. I appreciate everyone’s support of this life-saving legislation.”
SB 381 allows a licensed physician to write a prescription for inhalers to the school district in the name of the school district and allows the district to maintain two inhalers within a secure location in the building. It also requires school boards that allow districts to stock inhaled asthma medication to amend their policies relating to self-administration of such inhaled asthma medication. The amended policies require the district to:
inform parents or student guardians in writing that a school nurse or trained school employee may administer the inhaler to a student who is experiencing respiratory distress.
designate the employee responsible for obtaining the inhalers and spacers or holding chambers at each school site.
notify the parent or guardian of a student after administration of an inhaler.
Many states already allow school districts to stock inhalers. Rep. Mickey Dollens is the principal House author of the bill, which was requested by Jennifer and Greg Blair on behalf of Brendon’s parents, Jon and Lori McLarty.
The new law will go into effect July 1, 2019.