Epilepsy Foundation Celebrates Progress Made on its Seizure Safe Schools Nationwide Initiative on Two Year Anniversary

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

12 States Have Now Passed Seizure Safe Schools Legislation

Bowie, Md., September 29, 2021 — September marks two years since the Epilepsy Foundation launched its Seizure Safe Schools nationwide initiative. Today, the Epilepsy Foundation, together with coalition partners and passionate grassroots advocates, celebrate their efforts and success thus far. In just two years, the total number of states that have passed versions of Seizure Safe Schools has tripled, bringing the total to 12 states that have enacted legislation.

“Creating a seizure safe nation is a top priority for the Epilepsy Foundation,” said Laura Thrall, president and chief executive officer, Epilepsy Foundation. “As part of this, through our Seizure Safe Schools legislative initiative, we have trained more than 170,000 school nurses and school personnel across the country. We congratulate all of the states that have made their schools seizure safe so far. We will continue to work with our local teams, grassroots advocates, and key stakeholders until the bill is passed in all 50 states and Washington, D.C.”

Following the passing of the Lyndsey Crunk Act in 2018 led by Epilepsy Foundation Teens Speak Up! ambassador Lyndsey Crunk and the Epilepsy Foundation of Kentuckiana, the Epilepsy Foundation developed model Seizure Safe Schools legislation and began educating about the importance of the bill. This led to initial pilot states — Indiana, Texas, and Illinois — helping to lay the groundwork and spark even more interest across the country. Since launching its nationwide initiative, versions of the Foundation’s model bill have been enacted in New Jersey, Virginia, Washington, Oklahoma, Colorado, Alabama, Nebraska, and Minnesota. Passionate grassroots advocates and partners, including the local Epilepsy Foundation network, the Seizure Action Plan Coalition, and the National Epilepsy Advocates for Seizure Safe Schools Facebook group, have been instrumental in these achievements.

“Prior to the passage of these bills, safeguards haven’t always existed for children with epilepsy,” said Colleen Quinn, New Jersey mother who initiated Paul’s Law. “Seizure Safe Schools legislation provides critical protection for students with epilepsy. After Paul’s diagnosis in 2019, Paul felt we needed to create positive change for the 12,000 children in our state. In January 2020, we became the 5th state in the nation to pass this legislation.”

There are approximately 470,000 children and teens living with the epilepsies in the U.S. Seizures are common and can happen anywhere, anytime, and to anyone. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 336,000 kids have at least one seizure annually. Therefore, it is important that school personnel and nurses are well-equipped with the knowledge and tools necessary to provide a safe and enriching environment for students living with epilepsy or for any student who may experience a seizure for the first time at school due to any other medical condition. Direct access to school nursing and other health services, as well as disease-specific education, has been shown to improve health and academic outcomes among students with chronic health conditions.

As the nationwide initiative enters its third year, the Epilepsy Foundation calls on state-level elected officials and volunteers, including parents, community organizations, healthcare providers, and others to join its efforts.

If you are interested in learning more about each state’s legislative efforts, contact publicpolicy@efa.org. To learn more about free seizure first aid trainings, please visit epilepsy.com/FirstAid.

About Epilepsy

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), epilepsy is the most common serious brain disorder worldwide with no age, racial, social class, national or geographic boundaries. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) estimates that 3.4 million people in the United States are affected by epilepsy. Epilepsy is the underlying tendency of the brain to produce seizures which are sudden abnormal bursts of electrical energy that disrupt brain functions.

About the Epilepsy Foundation

With a network of partners throughout the United States, the Epilepsy Foundation is leading the fight to overcome the challenges of living with epilepsy. The Foundation connects people to treatment, support and resources; leads advocacy efforts; funds innovative research and the training of specialists; and educates the public about epilepsy and seizure first aid. For more than five decades, the Epilepsy Foundation has shone a light on epilepsy to promote awareness and understanding, and to advocate for laws that matter to people with epilepsy, while also funding epilepsy research and supporting epilepsy investigators and specialists in their early careers. In partnership with the CDC, the Epilepsy Foundation has helped to improve access to care for people with epilepsy, expanded its digital reach and online resources in homes across the country, and trained more than 600,000 people in seizure recognition and first aid. The Epilepsy Foundation continues to focus on serving the epilepsy community through advocacy, education, direct services and research for new therapies. To learn more visit epilepsy.com or call 1.800.332.1000. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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Contact Name: 
Jackie Aker
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The mission of the Epilepsy Foundation is to lead the fight to overcome the challenges of living with epilepsy and to accelerate therapies to stop seizures, find cures, and save lives.

 
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