(SACRAMENTO, CA) – With an estimated 60,000 school age children living with epilepsy, legislation by Assemblymember Marc Levine (D - Marin County) to increase the safety of these children while in school was unanimously approved by the State Assembly today. AB 1810 (Levine) would establish the Seizure Safe Schools Act to allow schools to designate one or more volunteers to receive initial and annual refresher training for the emergency use of anti-seizure medication for a pupil diagnosed with seizures, a seizure disorder, or epilepsy, if the pupil is suffering from a seizure. The measure was approved on a bi-partisan vote of 68 to 0.
Epilepsy is a neurological disorder involving recurrent unprovoked seizures. It is the fourth most common neurological disorder, and 1 in 26 people will develop epilepsy in their lifetime. Aside from those who have the disorder, many lives are affected by epilepsy.
Seizures are unpredictable and can occur at any time—including during school hours. While school nurses are trained to administer medication, school nurses may not be onsite or available when one occurs. In 2013, the California Supreme Court ruled that non-medical school employees could administer anti-seizure medication to students suffering from seizures. It is important that those who are supervising a child with epilepsy have the opportunity to be trained properly to recognize and, if necessary, to respond to a seizure and help the child.
AB 1810 would provide school districts with training and guidance to make sure that teachers and school employees can identify the symptoms of a seizure and how to appropriately respond when a seizure occurs to keep the child safe. California has enacted similar laws for the use of epinephrine for allergic reactions (SB 1266, Huff 2014) and naloxone for opioid overdoses (AB 1748, Mayes 2016).
“Parents like myself often feel powerless when it comes to supporting their child with a seizure disorder,” said Assemblymember Marc Levine. “Families aren’t powerless – we are empowered with tools to help our children live full, enriched and dynamic lives. AB 1810 makes sure that the same tools used to keep children with seizure disorders safe at home are available to children at a school campus. I’m authoring this important legislation for my child and for children throughout California who deserve to thrive in a safe and supportive learning environment.”
“Passing Seizure Safe Schools legislation in California is a priority for the Epilepsy Foundation Los Angeles and our partners throughout the state,” said Rebekkah Halliwell, Executive Director of the Epilepsy Foundation of Los Angeles. “For students living with epilepsy, it is important that schools are well-equipped with the tools necessary to provide a safe and enriching environment. The Seizure Safe Schools Act 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 reach their full academic potential.”
AB 1810 is supported by the Epilepsy Foundation of America, Epilepsy Foundation Los Angeles, Epilepsy Foundation of San Diego County, Epilepsy Foundation of Northern California, Epilepsy Foundation of Orange County, the Seizure Action Plan Coalition, Momentum, The Hidden Truths Project, and the Rare Epilepsy Network (representing more than 80 organizations).
"As the primary author and sponsor of the American with Disabilities Act and a lifelong advocate for the rights of people with disabilities, I support AB 1810 because it will make schools in California safer for students with epilepsy," said former Congressman Tony Coelho. Coelho represented California in the House of Representatives for over ten years, eventually serving as majority whip, and former chairman of the board of the Epilepsy Foundation.
AB 1810 (Levine) now moves to the State Senate for further consideration.
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