children in classroom raising hands in seizure safe schools

There are 470,000 children living with epilepsy in the U.S. Despite the prevalence, epilepsy is still highly misunderstood by the public. For students living with epilepsy, it is important that schools are well-equipped with the tools necessary to provide a safe and enriching environment.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the opportunity for academic success is increased when communities, schools, families, and students work together to meet the needs of students with chronic health conditions and provide safe and supportive learning environments. 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.

Position

The Epilepsy Foundation has launched a nationwide initiative to pass Seizure Safe Schools legislation in all states. The model bill has five key components: requiring school personnel to complete a seizure recognition and first-aid response training; mandating that the Seizure Action Plan is made part of the student’s file and made available for school personnel and volunteers responsible for the student; ensuring that any FDA-approved medication prescribed by the treating physician is administered to the student living with epilepsy; educating and training students about epilepsy and first-aid response; and a Good Samaritan clause. The number of components included in the bill will vary by state.

Status

To date, 5 states have enacted Seizure Safe Schools legislation – Kentucky, Indiana, Texas, Illinois, and New Jersey. As part of the nationwide Seizure Safe Schools initiative, the Epilepsy Foundation is working with Epilepsy Foundation local offices and grassroots advocates to push this legislation on the state level. If you are interested in learning more about your state’s legislative efforts on this issue or would like to become involved please contact the national advocacy team at publicpolicy@efa.org or contact your local Epilepsy Foundation office.

Engagement and Resources