Seizure Safe Schools Legislation Efforts Now Passed in 14 States
Bowie, Md., March 28, 2022 — Epilepsy Foundation announced today that Utah Governor Spencer Cox signed House Bill 241 into law on March 23, and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed House Bill 173 into law on March 25, thereby protecting children and teens living with the epilepsies in both states. With the passage of these bills, the Foundation, along with key partners, state legislators, and advocates, applaud the 14 states that have now enacted versions of the Epilepsy Foundation’s Seizure Safe Schools model legislation. In addition, more than a dozen Seizure Safe Schools bills have been introduced across the U.S. during the 2022 state legislative session, including Arizona, California, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, and South Carolina, which continue to make critical strides forward.
“As a parent, this gives us the ease of mind knowing that our daughter’s educators have received the training and information necessary to provide assistance to her if she has seizure,” said Chad Wheeler from Utah. “The training will assist in their ability to understand what a seizure is and how to keep everyone safe if this happens. Just to have the confidence to know how to handle the situation will benefit everyone involved.”
Utah’s HB 241 requires school personnel to be trained in seizure recognition and first-aid response. The bill builds upon legislation passed in 2016 (Senate Bill 232) which notes that in Utah, a trained school employee volunteer can administer a seizure rescue medication prescribed by their treating physician to the student living with epilepsy.
“It has been a pleasure to work with the Epilepsy Foundation on this important piece of legislation,” said Utah state Representative Susan Pulsipher (District 50), HB 241’s bill sponsor. “This training will help teachers respond appropriately in the event that a seizure occurs at school. Thanks for bringing this bill to the state of Utah.”
Florida’s HB 173 ensures care is provided to any student with epilepsy or a seizure disorder with an individualized Seizure Action Plan on file. Information from the Seizure Action Plan will be made available to each school employee who has regular contact with students with epilepsy or seizure disorders and require them to complete an online training course in seizure recognition and first aid. The legislation also ensures the administration of anti-seizure and rescue medications.
“As a person living with epilepsy, I know firsthand how scary it may be for some of these students to go to school and not be sure if someone will know how to help them,” said Maggie Fitzsimmons, a medical student at the University of South Florida, Tampa. “I wish this would have been available to me as a youth going to school. This legislation will provide hope and help many families across the state and beyond.”
There are approximately 470,000 children and teens living with the epilepsies in the United States, 5,000 of which live in the Beehive State and 27,000 in the Sunshine State. The Epilepsy Foundation continues to work with its grassroots network to pass Seizure Safe Schools legislation in all 50 states and Washington, D.C. Since launching its nationwide initiative, versions of the Foundation’s model bill have been enacted in Alabama, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah, Virginia, and Washington.
To learn more about each state’s legislative efforts, contact firstname.lastname@example.org. For information about free seizure first aid trainings, visit epilepsy.com/FirstAid.
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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