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Federal law aims to save student's lives

By: Melissa Gundersen
EL PASO, Texas -- A new federal law recently signed by President Barrack Obama aims to save the lives of students with severe allergies.

The new law gives states incentives to allow schools to stock up on EpiPens in case of an emergency.

"I think it's a good thing," said Javier Valles.

Valles has a 6-year-old daughter who suffers from severe food and pet allergies.

"She starts getting like a rash and she starts getting swollen from her eyes and then she talks like real slow," said Valles.

Valles said he feels safe knowing he's provided the school nurse with an EpiPen in case of an emergency, but not all students have that resource on hand.

Right now in the Borderland, if a student goes into epileptic shock school staff have to call 911. By the time an ambulance gets to the school, though, officials say it could be too late.

That's why Obama recently signed the School Access to Emergency Epinephrine Act.

"It allows for funding to be made available to those states that approve the use and storage of EpiPens at K through 12 campuses," said Lucy Clarke, president of the El Paso Federation of Teachers.

With that money schools could stock up on epinephrine auto-injectors and train staff to administer them.

"The primary benefit is for those children with the unknown allergic reaction," said Clarke.

It's a topic that's drawing a lot of attention on the KFOX14 Facebook page.

Destiny Odeneal wrote, "It will not hurt that's for sure! It could save a kids life one day."

Chris Marta said, (It) should be a parent's responsibility to send their kid to school with it, or provide it to the school nurse."

While Valles said overall he thinks district's stocking up on EpiPens is a good thing, he thinks there should be one stipulation.

"Parents got to make sure that they sign a paper because you'll always have that parents that's like Oh, why did you give my kid this?' You know what I mean?" said Valles.

Officials said the school nurse will be the primary person administering EpiPens.