Two South Florida lawmakers are proposing legislation that would prepare teachers and staff to respond to a student with epilepsy.
The proposals (HB 173 & SB 340) would allow parents to draft individual action plans for school staff in the event of a seizure. The plans would contain medication and the personal information of a student. It would also include the contact information of the parents and a health care provider.
Democratic Rep. Nicholas X. Duran and Republican Sen. Ileana Garcia are the bill sponsors. Both represent Miami.
“This important piece of legislation will give parents peace of mind knowing that when their child is at school or attending a school-related function, staff will understand appropriate protocols in the event their student has a seizure,” Duran said.
School employees would also be required to attend care training related to a student with epilepsy under the measure.
The bill further provides limited immunity to staff members.
“With the successful implementation of this bill, Florida students impacted by epilepsy or seizure disorders can be assured that the individuals they interact with on a day-to-day basis at school are trained to provide a high level of seizure care and safety,” said Karen Egozi, president & CEO of Epilepsy Florida.
In a statement, Garcia described the legislation as an opportunity to nurture not only the physical health of a student, but the mental health too.
The legislation, she suggested, is deeply personal.
“Suffering from seizures as a child, I know firsthand how traumatic epileptic seizures can be for children and their parents,” Garcia said. “I endured the stigma and mockery of my peers, who oftentimes witnessed the episodes. Many times tough childhood experiences motivate people to become senators, and today I get to be part of something positive and life-changing for children just like me.”
The 2022 Legislative Session begins Jan. 11.