In the U.S., more than 5 million children have asthma, 2.2 million children have food allergies and an estimated 10 million children have other allergic diseases such as nasal and skin allergies, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation’s 2008 State Honor Roll report.
The report “recognizes [state] leadership in mandating comprehensive state-wide school policies that address the needs of students with asthma, food allergies, anaphylaxis and other related allergic diseases in elementary, middle and high schools,” according to a press release.
All 50 states were scored using 18 “policy standards” in three categories:
• Medication & Treatment
• School Environment
The six states that had at least 15 of the 18 policies in place were named to the honor roll. The number one state, Connecticut, scored 17 out of a possible 18 points.
The AAFA report did not count pending or drafted legislation – only laws already passed and in place by the time the study was done.
You can click here to see how your state measures up in the State Honor Roll report (AAFA listed the states alphabetically, not by points).
The Honor Roll
Six states were named to the honor roll. They are listed here in order from the highest score (click each state for details):
Rounding out the Top 10 were:
(These four states were not on the Honor Roll, but they had the next highest scores).
The report also named 13 states as “Honorable Mentions.” The first state in that list, Maryland, scored 14 out of 18.
The other Honorable Mentions were (not in any particular order): California, Hawaii, Maine, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia.
Click here to access the complete State Honor Roll Report
What’s Important for Student Safety
AAFA did not weigh the 18 criteria. That means that each criteria – banning smoking on school grounds or requiring regular inspection of the air conditioning and heating systems – were each worth one point. Why are all the criteria considered equally? Because some policies matter more to some parents or school officials than others, explained Mike Tringale, AAFA’s director of external affairs. A state with a large number of asthmatic students, but relatively few food allergic children, may be less concerned about requirements for anaphylaxis. Or states with few asthmatics in the schools may not see indoor air quality management as a major issue.