10 Federal and State School Health Laws You May Be Violating

Posted by Terri Brinston on Mar 21, 2018, 9:40 AM

10 Federal and State School Health Laws You May Be Violating

If your school doesn’t have a School Nurse, or you need help navigating through all the Federal and State school health law requirements, then this information is for you!

M.S.N. Consulting Services, LLC emerged after I read an article on parenting.com called School Nurse Shortage. As a Registered Nurse, teacher, and parent, I was devastated as I read:

“When Mercedes collapsed to the floor, the school staff called the paramedics, but no one gave her an injection from the Epi-Pen, nor did they attempt any form of CPR or mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. When paramedics arrived, six minutes later, Mercedes was in full cardiac arrest, and she died of an acute asthma attack.”

This tragedy is a common fear among administrators and school staff, primarily because only 27% of schools in the State of Michigan have a school nurse. A school nurse is the only school faculty that is focused 100% of the time on the health and well-being of the students and staff. They not only make sure that the school is in compliance with state and federal requirements, but they exceed the minimum expectations and promote best practice.

The Michigan Department of Education recommends that as schools plan for the needs of children in school, instruction, and safe learning environments, there must be a foundation to build upon. That foundation includes federal, state and local policies and regulations. It’s imperative that school policies comply with laws and standards of practice in their jurisdiction.

Here are some of the most common school health laws/guideline ignored or misunderstood by our districts in the State of Michigan:

Federal School Health Statutes

1. Section 504, Rehabilitation Act of 1973. This law protects the rights of children with special health-care needs (CSHCN) by providing related services, including health services, to those not eligible for special education.

Concern: Schools are not training staff to provide medical support for children with existing or new medical conditions. This support may range from administering medication to providing suctioning for students with tracheostomies.

2. Head Start staff is required to provide medical support for their students.

Concern: Head Start Programs often don’t require their staff to maintain their certification in First Aid and CPR, and aren’t identifying the medical needs of the students and making sure that the staff members who are assigned to work with them are trained to support their medical condition. There usually isn’t a nurse on staff, yet 10% of the enrolled Head Start children have a disability, some of whom need medication or treatments during their time in school.

PLEASE NOTE: Head Start Program requirements include a physical exam based on EPSDT guidelines: dental, immunizations, vision, hearing and developmental screening, and a nutritional snack and lunch.

3. Public Law 108-265 Section 204 Model Policy for Michigan Local Wellness Policy became law June 30, 2004, as part of the Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act of 2004. Local education agencies shall establish a local school wellness policy. The policy includes goals for nutrition education, physical activity, nutrition guidelines for all foods sold on campus, assures that school meals meet USDA regulation, establish plans for measuring implementation of wellness policy, involve students, parents, representatives of school food authority and others.

Concern: Schools do not have, maintain, and/or promote their wellness policy. It is not a living document that drives policy that addresses health and wellness.

Michigan General School Health Statutes

4. MIOSHA – R325.47201, Part 472. Employer responsibilities to employees regarding training and response to exposure to blood-borne pathogens.

Concern: Teachers and Staff are not receiving required blood-borne pathogen training.

5. Public Act 342 and 343 of 2013. Require all levels of schools and youth sports organizations to educate, train and collect forms for non-MHSAA activities including physical education classes, intramural and out-of-season camps or clinics.

Concern: Schools are not aware of the new post-concussion return to play requirements.

6. §380.1169 requires that the principal modes by which communicable diseases including HIV/AIDS are spread and the best methods for preventing these diseases be taught in every Michigan school. Also requires that each person who teaches K-12 about HIV and AIDS receive training in HIV and AIDS.

Concern: Schools are not teaching HIV/AIDS in every building, and the teachers are not being trained properly.

7. §380.1170 requires that school districts develop comprehensive school health education programs with special reference to substance abuse, including the abusive use of tobacco, alcohol, and drugs, and their effect upon the human system. A parent/guardian can excuse their child from instruction if the content of the curriculum conflicts with his or her religious beliefs.

Concern: Schools do not provide a health curriculum that focuses on substance abuse.

8. Medical Services and First Aid R325.47201, Part 472, MIOSHA. Guidelines indicate employer must adequately have a trained first aid certified person on site. [BSR/CET-5951 (11/01)]. Michigan Law PA 18 of 2003 requires newly hired teachers to be certified.

Concern: School staff are not being trained or monitored in First Aid and CPR/AED

9. Public Health Code (Excerpt) Act 368 of 1978, Part 9101. The department (MDCH) shall establish a plan for health services for pupils in elementary and secondary schools of this state. The plan shall include a definition of school health services and standards for implementation.

Concern: Schools are required to provide medical support for students with health needs.

10. Section 380.1179a (2013, Act 187, Eff. Mar. 14, 2014) of the Michigan School Code. Schools are required to have a medication policy. This policy reflects guidelines set forth in a Michigan Department of Education memorandum. Addendum to the 2002 Model Policy: Each school building with ten or more instructional and administrative staff will designate at least two employees at the school for authorization to administer an epinephrine auto-injector. Schools with fewer than ten staff will designate at least one such employee.

Concern: Schools are required to receive medication training. Schools must have an epi-pen on site at every building with two staff members trained.


If your school system does not have a school nurse, someone to help you navigate through all the federal and state requirements, we can help! We can assist you in developing a service plan that will help you monitor and maintain a healthy and safe school environment. We’ll provide oversight of current and upcoming federal/state laws. We will:

  • Secure state compliance
  • Provide case management, health, and mental health services
  • Serve as a consultant for health concerns
  • Serve as a link between healthcare providers, families, staff, and community agencies
  • Provide health education, health resources, and wellness programs

If you’d like to learn more, contact us today.

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