(SACRAMENTO, CA) – Legislation by Assemblymember Marc Levine (D – Marin County) to establish the Seizure Safe Schools Act has been approved by the California State Legislature and is now awaiting action on the Governor’s Desk. AB 1810 was approved by the State Senate on a bipartisan vote of 38 to 0 and approved by the State Assembly on a bipartisan vote of 76 to 0.
With an estimated 60,000 school age children living with epilepsy, AB 1810 will increase the safety of these children while in school by establishing 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.
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 will 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).
“Children with seizure disorders can be as safe at school as they are at home,” 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.”
"The unanimous passage of the Seizure Safe Schools Act is a major victory for the nearly 60,000 kids in California with epilepsy," said Rebekkah Halliwell, Executive Director of the Epilepsy Foundation of Los Angeles. "Thanks to the leadership of Assemblymember Marc Levine and the steadfast support of a diverse coalition which included families affected by epilepsy, disability advocates, pediatricians and school nurses, schools in California could soon be well-equipped with the tools necessary to provide a safe and enriching environment for students with epilepsy."
AB 1810 is supported by more than 90 organizations: 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, American Academy of Pediatrics (California), Association of Regional Center Agencies, California Chronic Care Coalition, California Life Sciences, California Neurology Society California School Nurse Organization, National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners 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'm thrilled that the California Legislature will be sending AB 1810 to the Governor for his signature," 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.
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