Bone Marrow Donations.
Bone marrow, found in the center of large bones, produces stem cells. Stem cell transplants are used to treat certain cancers and other blood and immune system diseases. In Washington, a person's status as a minor may not disqualify him or her from bone marrow donation.
Adults interested in donating stem cells from bone marrow may join a registry to be matched with a patient looking for a bone marrow donor. The National Marrow Donor Program is a nonprofit organization that manages the national bone marrow registry and offers education on bone marrow donation and awareness.
The Washington Department of Health is required to have a bone marrow donor recruitment and education program.
The Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction adopts state learning standards that describe what public school students must know and be able to do at each grade level. The state learning standards for health and physical education include the development of knowledge and skills to be physically active, eat nutritiously, access reliable health information and services, communicate effectively, and set health-enhancing goals.
Among other requirements to qualify for graduation from a public high school, students must complete 24 credits, including .5 credits in health.
Each school district, charter school, and state-tribal education compact school that serves students in ninth through twelfth grade is encouraged to offer instruction in awareness of bone marrow donation to students. Beginning with the 2023-24 school year, instruction in awareness of bone marrow donation may be included in at least one health class necessary for graduation.
Each school district, charter school, and state-tribal education compact school that serves students in kindergarten through eighth grade may offer instruction in awareness of bone marrow donation to students. The instruction may be adapted to be age appropriate.
Instruction in awareness of bone marrow donation must be an instructional program provided by the National Marrow Donor Program or other relevant nationally recognized organization. The Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction must post on its website a link to the instructional program.
Instruction in awareness of bone marrow donation may be provided by schools directly or by available community-based providers. The instruction does not have to be provided by certificated instructional staff.
(In support) The bill will support students in learning about how they can save another person's life by donating bone marrow. Some cancer patients, including children, need bone marrow transplants and finding a bone marrow match is difficult. People in racial and ethnic minorities are less likely to find a match because there are fewer people in these minorities in the national bone marrow database. Some people have to find bone marrow donors from other countries.
With advancements in bone marrow testing, matching, and donating, the process to donate has become easier. It is imperative to provide this information so that students can make an informed decision. The prime ages for bone marrow donation are between ages 18 and 49.
The bone marrow donation awareness curriculum has already been developed. Information about bone marrow donation is provided when people get a driver license or Identicard in Washington. This bill is about educating as many students as possible about bone marrow donation; what it is and what it is not. The education requirements in the bill are permissive and support the local control of school districts. Students who register to donate bone marrow can be altruistic and contribute as citizens.