FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Contact: Rebekkah Halliwell
October 4, 2022 (310) 670-2870
Seizure Safe Schools Act Signed by Governor Newsom
Bill Championed by Epilepsy Foundation Los Angeles Provides Schools with Education and Training for Recognizing and Responding to Seizures
California Becomes 19th State to Enact Version of Seizure Safe Schools Legislation
LOS ANGELES – The Seizure Safe Schools Act (AB 1810), a bill allowing public and charter schools in California to designate volunteers to receive training and education on caring for students with epilepsy, was signed into law by Governor Gavin Newsom on September 30, 2022. The Seizure Safe Schools Act, sponsored by the Epilepsy Foundation Los Angeles and authored by Assemblymember Marc Levine, had previously passed the State Senate in August with a unanimous vote of 38 to 0 after being approved by the State Assembly in May by a unanimous vote of 76 to 0.
“The adoption 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 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 will be well-equipped with the tools necessary to provide a safe and enriching environment for students with epilepsy.”
Among its major provisions, AB 1810 will allow schools to designate volunteers to receive initial and annual refresher training on recognizing and responding to seizures, including the administration of a student’s prescribed emergency anti-seizure medication.
“Children with seizures can be as safe at school as they are at home,” said Assemblymember Marc Levine. “Families are not 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 seizures safe at home are available to children at a school campus. I authored this important legislation for my child and for children throughout California who deserve to thrive in a safe and supportive learning environment.”
While school nurses are currently trained to recognize and respond to seizures, one may not be onsite or available when a seizure occurs. In 2013, the California Supreme Court unanimously ruled that California law already expressly permits trained, unlicensed school personnel to administer prescription medication and AB 1810 will guarantee that any employee who volunteers to care for a student with epilepsy will receive appropriate training and education.
“School nurses are the primary health professionals in a K-12 setting and the California School Nurses Organization was proud to support AB 1810. This law will provide school nurses with the tools they need to prepare and train other school staff to be able to respond appropriately when a child has a seizure,” said Sheri Coburn, Ed.D., M.S., R.N., of the California School Nurses Organization.
AB 1810 also safeguards physician-directed care and parental involvement by supporting development of Seizure Action Plans for students with epilepsy and identifying students who may be eligible for Individual Education Plans (IEPs) and Section 504 accommodations.
“Seizure Action Plans save lives. By establishing a strong line of communication between the families of students with epilepsy, their doctors, and their schools, Seizure Action Plans are a crucial tool for keeping students with epilepsy safe at school,” said Tracy Dixon-Salazar, PhD of the Seizure Action Plan Coalition, which was formed to educate people with epilepsy, their caregivers and healthcare professionals about seizure emergency rescue protocols and the importance of personalized seizure action plans.
AB 1810, which is based on the Epilepsy Foundation’s Seizure Safe Schools nationwide initiative, was supported by the bill’s sponsor, Epilepsy Foundation Los Angeles; the national Epilepsy Foundation; Epilepsy Foundation of Northern California; Epilepsy Foundation of Orange County; Epilepsy Foundation of San Diego County; as well as more than 90 other organizations, including American Academy of Pediatrics – California; American Nurses Association – California; Association of Regional Center Agencies; California Board of Registered Nursing; California Chronic Care Coalition; California Life Sciences; California Neurology Society; California School Nurses Organization; the Hidden Truths Project; Momentum; National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners; Rare Epilepsy Network, and the Seizure Action Plan Coalition.
“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 California has become the 19th state to implement the Seizure Safe Schools Act,” said former Congressman Tony Coelho. Coelho represented California in the House of Representatives for more than 10 years, eventually serving as majority whip, and former chairman of the board of the national Epilepsy Foundation.
Epilepsy is the fourth-most common neurological disorder in the United States. More than 3.4 million Americans are currently living with epilepsy, including approximately 336,000 kids who have at least one seizure annually.
About the Epilepsy Foundation Los Angeles
The Epilepsy Foundation Los Angeles is leading the fight to END EPILEPSY® together and overcome challenges created by seizures by focusing on care, advocacy, research and education. Through these areas of focus, we offer a range of services and programs to help, support, advocate for, and empower those who are affected by epilepsy and their caregivers.
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