Seizure Safe Schools Act to Protect 2,800 Children Living with Epilepsy in Nebraska
Lincoln, NE, January 25, 2021 — The Epilepsy Foundation announced the introduction of the Seizure Safe Schools Act (LB 639) in the Nebraska Unicameral Legislature. This bill ensures that all school personnel will be trained to recognize and respond appropriately to students experiencing seizures. Five states — Kentucky, Indiana, Texas, New Jersey, and Illinois — have successfully passed Seizure Safe Schools legislation, while several other states have introduced similar bills in the current session.
“We are committed to fighting for the rights of everyone impacted by the epilepsies in our state,” said Laura Weidner, Esq., Vice President, Government Relations & Advocacy, Epilepsy Foundation. “For students living with epilepsy and seizures, it is important that schools are well-equipped with the tools necessary to provide a safe and enriching environment. Seizure Safe Schools will raise awareness and implement a uniform standard of care and response across the state so that students have access to the care they need and can reach their full academic potential.”
There are approximately 19,600 people living with the epilepsies in Nebraska, of which 2,800 are children. Approximately 1 in 10 people will have a seizure in their lifetime; a teacher, student, or even a school nurse could someday benefit from others nearby knowing how to respond. Despite its prevalence, epilepsy is still highly misunderstood by the public. The Epilepsy Foundation’s goal is to build an empathetic next generation who welcome people living with epilepsy as their friends, neighbors, and colleagues and who are prepared to help them with proper seizure first aid.
“Kids often spend more awake hours at school than at home,” said Nikki Gessford, mother to Max Gessford, a student from Lincoln with epilepsy. “Seizures don’t discriminate. A seizure can happen to anyone at any time. It is of utmost importance to have someone that knows what to do during a seizure because it can be a matter of life or death.”
The Seizure Safe Schools Act has several components which the Epilepsy Foundation hopes will be included in the bill: training school personnel on seizure detection and first aid response; mandating Seizure Action Plans to be on file for every student diagnosed with epilepsy or a seizure disorder and requiring those plans be available to all personnel responsible for the student; ensuring the administration of medications approved by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration; and a Good Samaritan clause.
To join the Nebraska Seizure Safe Schools efforts, please contact email@example.com. To learn more about this nationwide initiative, visit epilepsy.com/seizure-safe-schools.
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, or approximately 1 in 26 people. Epilepsy is the underlying tendency of the brain to produce seizures, which are sudden abnormal bursts of electrical energy that disrupt brain functions. In addition to those diagnosed with epilepsy, one in ten people will have a single seizure in their lifetime.
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 and Twitter.
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