A bill allowing parents to draft “individualized seizure action plans” that school staff could follow in the event their child has a seizure landed Tuesday on Gov. Ron DeSantis’ desk.
The plans would provide school staff with a student’s medical and personal information. It would also include the contact information of parents and health care providers.
Miami Democratic Rep. Nick Duran and Sunrise Democratic Rep. Mike Gottlieb are the bill sponsors (HB 173). Miami Republican Sen. Ileana Garcia carried the Senate companion bill. Both bills garnered bipartisan support in the 2022 Legislative Session.
Speaking to Florida Politics in January, Garcia said the bill is “close to home” for her “as someone who suffered” from seizures for a “very long time.”
“I haven’t, fortunately, for the last 25 years,” she added. “But I think that creating awareness with regard to children with epilepsy and seizures is very important.”
Under the new law, school employees — including nurses, bus drivers, bus aides “or any officer or agent of the school district” — will have to attend training on how to care for students with a submitted seizure action plan.
The legislation also calls for those staff members “acting in good faith” — without willful misconduct, gross negligence or recklessness — to be provided immunity from liability.
Karen Basha Egozi, CEO of nonprofit Epilepsy Florida, thanked the sponsors for “tirelessly championing” the legislation this Session.
“Thanks to their hard work, Florida is giving parents the tools to know their kids can attend school safely, and with the full knowledge that if their child has a seizure, school personnel will be ready to deal with it,” she said in a statement. “We look forward to this legislation becoming law.”
Putting the legislation into action will have no fiscal impact on the state, according to a Senate staff analysis. There may, however, be a cost to school districts to provide the required training and care planning, staff wrote. That cost, though, will be “likely minimal.”
If signed into law, the bill will take effect July 1.