Children's parents expect their kids to be safe during school hours. However, children with certain medical conditions, such as epilepsy, are surrounded by teachers and coaches for a substantial portion of each day that may not have the knowledge and training needed to understand how to provide proper help and care.
What is Sam's Law?
Samantha Watkins, called Sam by friends and family, was a high school student in Texas. She was an athlete and an honor student. Within three months of her diagnosis with epilepsy, she suffered a massive seizure that was fatal. Shortly after, the idea for Sam’s Law was born.
Representative, Travis Clardy, in Texas introduced the bill, which would require that all public school personnel in Texas that has contact with a child who suffers from epilepsy would have training in seizure recognition and seizure first aid. People who provide care for children with epilepsy on a daily basis should know what to be looking for and what to do in the event of a seizure. Essentially, the law’s objective is to make sure that public schools have the training and tools needed to provide a safe environment for all students.
The needed training will be provided entirely free to the Texas public schools on behalf of the Epilepsy Foundation. Part of the training includes a video that will be watched by the personnel at the start of each school year. Also, there will be a recommendation of an action plan set in place for each of the students who have epilepsy. The action plan can be written by the child’s neurologist and parents to let the school know the course of action to take if the child has a seizure during school hours.
States Getting on Board with Similar Ideas
Fortunately, Sam’s Law was passed in Texas Senate "and now headed to Greg Abbott's desk for action." More good news is coming out of Indiana. The Epilepsy Foundation recently announced that Governor Eric Holcomb signed HEA1089 into law. The bill includes the Epilepsy Foundation’s Seizure Safe Schools language, which is meant to help to improve the lives and the safety of students in the state who suffer from epilepsy disorders. Currently, there are more than 10,600 students in Indiana alone with these disorders.
The public schools will mandate the training of school personnel on the detection of seizures and proper first aid that will need to be administered to students. Additionally, the law will require that there is a Seizure Action Plan in place for all students who are diagnosed with epilepsy or another seizure disorder. They will ensure that all of the people at the school who are responsible for the student will have this information available. The new law will also require the “administration of seizure rescue medication, approved by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration, or medication prescribed by the patient’s healthcare provider.”
Students Benefit from These Laws
Looking at what these laws are able to provide for the safety and health of the students, it is clear that they should have been put into action a long time ago. Simply implementing a few changes and some additional education for those who interact with students can help save lives.