Bone Marrow Donation. The Washington State Department of Health has a bone marrow donor recruitment and education program to educate residents about:
State law provides that a person's status as a minor may not disqualify them from bone marrow donation.
The National Marrow Donor Program manages a registry of unrelated bone marrow donors.
Health Graduation Requirement. The State Board of Education establishes graduation requirements. One half credit of health is required for graduation.
School districts, charter schools, and state-tribal compact schools that serve students in any of the grades 9 through 12 are 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.
This instruction may be an instructional program provided by the National Marrow Donor Program or other relevant nationally recognized organizations. The Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction must post a link on its website to this instructional program.
School districts, charter schools, and state-tribal compact schools that serve students in any of the grades K through 8 may offer this instruction and adapt it to be age-appropriate.
These schools may offer this instruction directly or arrange for the instruction to be provided by available community-based providers. The instruction does not have to be provided by certificated instructional staff.
PRO: Bone marrow donation is crucial in the medical field as it helps with a range of diseases and medical issues and can save lives. Generally, the age range of who can donate bone marrow is ages 18 through 49, so this instruction would help inform students about the opportunity to join the registry when they turn 18 and potentially be a donor. It is important to increase the number of individuals on the registry in the United States, especially for people of color, to increase the chances of finding a match. This program is available for free, and the bill allows schools to decide whether to provide the program. To become part of the registry, all is needed is a cheek swab, and bone marrow donation is often not invasive. Misconceptions about the bone marrow donation procedure often deters individuals from participating. This bill would help educate and inform.
CON: Following the COVID 19 pandemic, many students are experiencing a mental health crisis. Providing this instruction would only add to the stressors that young adults and students are already facing. This bill does not allow parents to opt their children out of this instruction. Children should not be exposed to medical decisions in school. It should be left to parents, faith leaders, and their medical providers to decide whether bone marrow donation is right for their child. Schools should be focusing on academics and addressing the learning loss that has resulted from the pandemic.