Seizure Safe Schools Legislation Now Passed in 22 States
BOWIE, MD, AND MIDDLETOWN, CT, June 29, 2023 — Epilepsy Foundation and Epilepsy Foundation of Connecticut announced today that Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont signed House Bill 6882 into law on June 28 bringing Seizure Safe Schools legislation to 22 states in the nation. The bill safeguards physician-directed care in a school setting and helps school personnel manage students living with epilepsy or a seizure disorder. There are 470,000 children living with epilepsy in the U.S., including 4,500 children and teens in Connecticut. For students living with epilepsy, it is important that schools are well-equipped with the tools necessary to provide a safe and supportive learning environment.
“We are incredibly grateful to see this bill become a reality after a lot of hard work,” said Jessica Loffredo, a parent, teacher, and advocate who spearheaded this effort. “Not only is this bill important because I have a child with epilepsy, but also because every student, regardless of their diagnosis, should feel safer at school. It might even invite students back to school instead of choosing the home-school setting. Training school personnel empowers them to take quick action and ensures everyone who cares for students has the skillset needed to administer seizure first aid in or out of the classroom. This legislation also provides peace of mind and support to parents who are sending their child off to school.”
House Bill 6882 will require local and regional boards of education to provide an in-service training program for certified school personnel (teachers, administrators, pupil personnel) on seizure recognition and first-aid response, as well as information about seizure action plans for students. In addition, school personnel who are authorized to administer medication under CT Gen Stat § 10-212a (2018) must receive an in-service training program on the administration of seizure rescue therapies, including the use of a vagus nerve stimulator magnet. Under current statute, those who are authorized to administer medication shall not be held liable for civil damages if acting in good faith.
“Helping teachers, administrators and support staff to recognize seizure situations so they can intervene immediately and facilitate proper care, makes our school spaces safer for students with epilepsy,” said State Representative Jeff Currey (District 11), House Chair of the Education Committee in the Connecticut General Assembly. “I am so grateful to the advocates who shared their children’s heartbreaking struggles with seizures. Their stories crystallized the need for such a policy in our schools and decidedly reinforced how important voices from outside the confines of the Capitol matter to the legislative process.”
The Epilepsy Foundation and Epilepsy Foundation of Connecticut commend all the advocates, families, and legislators who helped get the bill across the finish line. A special thank you goes out to the House Education Committee, chaired by Representative Jeff Currey.
“We are thrilled that Connecticut will join the ranks of many states that have passed this critical legislation,” said Cherie Poirier, executive director of the Epilepsy Foundation of Connecticut. “Despite its prevalence, epilepsy and seizure disorders are still misunderstood. It is our goal that this bill will serve as a tool to educate and raise more awareness about seizures to help end the stigma attached to epilepsy.”
The Epilepsy Foundation continues to work with its network of local offices, grassroots advocates, and nearly 40 organizational partners to pass this bill in the remaining states and Washington, D.C. 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, 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 has also assisted more than 140,000 people through its 24/7 Helpline, and continues to focus on innovation, new therapies, community services, advocacy and education as key priorities. To learn more visit epilepsy.com or call 1.800.332.1000. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, TikTok, and YouTube.
About the Epilepsy Foundation of Connecticut
The Epilepsy Foundation of Connecticut is all about people helping people with epilepsy. The state-wide organization provides advocacy, education, and resources for those living with epilepsy and their loved ones. Through support groups, mental health programs, seizure first aid training, memory & cognition programs, financial assistance, and more, EFCT helps those living with epilepsy find the support they need. To learn more visit epilepsyct.com or call 860-346-1924
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