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FARE Celebrates New Teacher Training Law in New York

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MCLEAN, Va., Sept. 18, 2023 ~ On Friday evening, New York State Governor Kathy Hochul signed Senate Bill S209A into law, a bill that requires the state's commissioner of health to provide written information on how to recognize anaphylaxis and use an epinephrine auto-injector to more than 212,000 teachers in all New York public and non-public elementary and secondary schools, including charter schools.

The bill was originally introduced more than 12 years ago and was made possible by the tireless efforts of food allergy advocates, Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal (D/WF-Manhattan), State Senator Cordell Cleare (D-30), Governor Kathy Hochul, and their staffs.

Sung Poblete, RN, PhD, CEO of FARE (Food Allergy Research & Education) expressed her gratitude for the work of those involved in passing this bill: "On behalf of the more than 218,000 New York state students with life-threatening food allergies, FARE is grateful for the work of Senator Cleare, Assemblymember Rosenthal, Governor Hochul, and advocates like Stacey and Jared Saiontz and Jill Mindlin and Maya Konoff. For more than 12 years they fought an uphill battle to make our classrooms safer. With today's bill signing, we celebrate their determination that will ultimately protect millions of food allergic children in the years that follow."

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This new teacher training law ensures that students are better protected and safer in the place where they spend most of their day – the classroom. FARE Advocates Jill Mindlin and Stacey Saiontz led the decade-plus long effort to pass this legislation. Mindlin shared her enthusiasm for this new law: "Thanks to the hard work of advocates and lawmakers, all teachers in New York State will now be provided with the knowledge of how to save a student's life if they experience anaphylaxis in school. This law will make a huge difference in the lives of all NY families with school aged children living with food allergies."

Saiontz added that "today's bill means parents can send their food allergic children to school knowing their teachers are trained to protect them. And kids can go to school and learn less anxious about their ever-present life threatening food allergies." Saiontz was joined over the last decade by many other advocates who shared their passion including Patty Albert, Sara Albert, Zara Atal, Lauren Bowler, Dina Cannistraci, Georgina Cornago, Toni Guidosi , Sue Kelly , Rose & Julian Ostrow , Karen Palmer , Liz Rappaport , Thomas Silvera , Jon Terry , Toni Taylor from Allergy Advocacy Association , among others .

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Maya Konoff is one such advocate who first lobbied for this measure when she was in elementary school; she is now a college graduate. She shared her thoughts on this new law: "There are a lot of things that can be difficult and anxiety inducing when you're growing up with food allergies. School should not be one of those things. This bill is such an important step in ensuring that all kids with food allergies can safely attend school."

Jared Saiontz has 26 anaphylactic food allergies; he has been advocating for this bill since he was four years old. He expressed his appreciation for those involved: "Thank you to our NY legislators for making the teacher training law a reality. As a student living with many life-threatening food allergies I know this law will allow all students like me to thrive in school without fear knowing that the teachers around them have the tools and training to protect us."

FARE anticipates working with these involved teachers as well as other stakeholders such as food allergy advocates to ensure that Commissioner of Health's materials are easy to understand and contain examples of different epinephrine auto-injectors so students can be better protected while attending school.
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