If the headline doesn’t make it perfectly clear, crazy California has passed perhaps the looniest piece of legislation ever. SB161, which asks teachers to rectally inject diastat (valium) into students who are having epileptic seizures, just passed the state assembly on a vote of 47-16, with 17 abstentions.
Fortunately, teachers and other staff may volunteer to give the injections, but are not required to. I say fortunately, because the instructions say that only personnel trained by medical professionals should administer the medication. The instructions require the medicine to be injected rectally while the patient is in the midst of a seizure, something that would be difficult even for trained personnel and that could easily result in mistakes that harm the student.
Click here for a demonstration video on how to administer Diastat
Refuse and Resist
All teachers should refuse to volunteer. They should refuse because this is a job for trained medical personnel like nurses, who the state should be adequately funding at every school site. They should refuse because it sets them up for liability should they make a mistake. They should refuse because it is not in their job description or training to strip students publicly, stick things into their rectums, and have to maintain the order and discipline of their remaining 30-35 students while they do so. And they should refuse out of solidarity with their nurse colleagues who have been pushed out of the schools as a result of budget cuts.
The nurses unions oppose the legislation, not only because it encourages the downsizing of nursing staffs (if teachers can administer medicine, then why do we need nurses?), but also because it is dangerous for students. Sandre Swanson (Dem., Oakland) implored his colleagues to vote no, saying they should “work immediately to fund nurses at schools,” according to the Sacramento Bee. Unfortunately, his Democratic colleagues ignored his pleas and voted for the bill.