Seizure Safe Schools bill passes House of Delegates, headed to Northam for final approval
The Virginia House of Delegates passed Seizure Safe Schools legislation in a 86-13 vote on Thursday.
The bill, also known as the Jamie and Brie Strong Act, provides schools with the resources to protect students in the event of a seizure. It now makes its way to the governor’s desk, having already passed the Senate in a 35-4 vote.
“This bill is of critical importance, because there are only vague standards for how to treat seizures in our schools,” said Suzanne Bischoff, CEO of the Epilepsy Foundation of Virginia. “In many hours of mediating between parents and schools it has become clear that well prepared teachers not only save their pupils, but also save themselves lots of time.”
Last year, the Epilepsy Foundation of Virginia provided 1,200 school staff with voluntary seizure recognition and first aid training. The bill makes this type of training mandatory.
The key bill components are that:
- All school nurses and staff receive biennial training in seizure recognition and first aid.
- Schools carry seizure action plans, which contain detailed information about seizure treatment, for all students with a history of epilepsy or a seizure disorder.
- A Good Samaritan Clause protecting those responding to the seizure from legal action.
Epilepsy affects 11,000 school children in Virginia, but anyone can have a seizure at any time. The Epilepsy Foundation estimates that 1 in 10 people will experience a seizure in their lifetime.
Virginia is in line to become the sixth state to enact the Epilepsy Foundation’s Seizure Safe Schools policy, joining the states of Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, New Jersey and Texas.