Seizure Safe Schools Act to Protect 7,500 Children Living with Epilepsy in Alabama
The Epilepsy Foundation recently announced the introduction of the Seizure Safe Schools Act (HB 76 and SB42) in the state of Alabama. HB 76, which is co-sponsored by Rep. Thomas Jackson & Rep. David Wheeler, received a favorable report in the Alabama House Health Committee and will be on the Special Order Calendar for a vote on Tuesday. SB 42 is sponsored by Sen. Billy Beasley.
The Seizure Safe Schools Act outlines that all school personnel may be trained to recognize and respond appropriately to students experiencing seizures. Six states — Kentucky, Indiana, Texas, New Jersey, Illinois and Virginia (*pending Governor’s signature) — have successfully passed Seizure Safe Schools legislation, while several other states have introduced similar bills in the current session.
“We are committed to advocating for the rights of everyone impacted by the epilepsies in our state,” said Sara Franklin, APR, Executive Director of Community Engagement and Partnership, Epilepsy Foundation. “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.”
There are approximately 54,100 people living with the epilepsies in Alabama, of which more than 7,500 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.
“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,” said Dr. Eric Mackey, State Superintendent of Education, Alabama State Department of Education. “Seizure Safe Schools will raise awareness and implement a uniform standard of care and response across the state of Alabama so that students have access to the care they need and can reach their full academic potential.”
The Seizure Safe Schools Act has several components included in the bill:
- Training school personnel on seizure detection and first aid response;
- Providing for 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.
“On behalf of the parents and caregivers of children with epilepsy across the State, we commend Alabama legislators for considering seizure safe schools legislation,” said Louisa Jeffries, mom of two school-age children with epilepsy.
If the Seizure Safe Schools Act is signed, the Epilepsy Foundation’s Seizure Training for School Personnel and School Nurses will be provided in person or online at no cost to the schools.
To join the Alabama Seizure Safe Schools efforts, please contact Sara Franklin at firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.
# # #