SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – State Rep. Mike Halpin, D-Rock Island, is helping ensure the safety of children with diabetes with a new law allowing schools to maintain a supply of potentially lifesaving medication to manage blood-sugar levels.
These changes are in response to the actions of an East Moline school nurse, Jennifer Jacobs, who aided a 7th grader in distress by administering a critical blood-sugar drug, glucagon, which had been designated for another student.
“We need to do all we can to make sure that children facing the challenges of diabetes are safe. One of our community’s school nurses, Jennifer Jacobs, knew that when she helped a student last year even though the law didn’t authorize it,” Halpin said. “Jennifer risked serious legal consequences to do the right thing. She should never have had to take that risk. This legislation will guarantee schools have access to vital diabetes medication and their medical professionals won’t have to hesitate to use it.”
Halpin sponsored House Bill 822, which provides that schools may maintain a supply of glucagon: medication to rapidly raise a patient’s blood-sugar levels. Glucagon can be lifesaving for diabetics, who may face serious health risks due to extremely low blood sugar. The bill received bipartisan support and was recently signed into law.
“I’m a parent, and I want the schools my kids attend to be prepared for every kind of emergency. I know all parents want the same thing for their kids,” Halpin said. “There are instances, whether because of cost or other factors, when children won’t have this medication when they really need it. Our schools must be ready in those crisis situations.”