Legislative Efforts Will Help Protect the Approximately 16,900 Children Living with Epilepsy in Pennsylvania
(Philadelphia, PA) January 29, 2020 – Epilepsy Foundation Eastern Pennsylvania along with Plum family, today announce Haley’s Law, House Bill 1975, in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives which calls to ensure all school personnel, including nurses, and teachers, are not only prepared but can recognize and respond appropriately and efficiently to students experiencing seizures. To date, five states — Kentucky, Indiana, Texas, Illinois, and New Jersey — have successfully passed Seizure Safe School legislation.
“We are committed to fighting for the rights of everyone impacted by epilepsy in our state,” said Missy Dolaway, Acting President and CEO, Epilepsy Foundation Eastern Pennsylvania. “For students living with epilepsy, it is important that schools are well-equipped with the tools necessary to provide a safe and enriching environment. Seizure Safe Schools will raise awareness and implement a uniform standard of care and response across the state so that students have access to the care they need and reach their full academic potential.”
There are approximately 133,000 people living with epilepsy in Pennsylvania and around 16,900 are children. Despite its prevalence, epilepsy is still highly misunderstood by the public. The Foundation’s goal is to build an empathetic next generation who welcome people living with epilepsy as their friends, neighbors, and future colleagues and who are prepared to help them by knowing proper seizure first aid.
“As a parent of a child with epilepsy, I can attest to the importance and need for this bill which will make a huge difference in the life of not just my child, but other students who struggle with seizures,” said Victoria Delo, Haley’s mom. “Not all school personnel know how to recognize a seizure and administer seizure first aid. Giving our schools the tools and knowledge can help save a child’s life.”
The Seizure Safe Schools Act has two components which the Foundation hopes can be included in the bill:
- Train school personnel on seizure detection and first aid response; and
- Mandate Seizure Action Plans be on file for every student diagnosed with epilepsy or a seizure disorder, and require those plans be available to all personnel responsible for the student.
“I am proud to be championing a bill that would help improve the care of students with epilepsy and similar disorders in our state,” said state Rep. Brandon Markosek, drafter of Haley’s Law. “Every student with epilepsy should feel safe going to school and know that if they do experience a seizure, someone will be able to assist them immediately. I’m determined to help pass this bill that will make a huge difference in the lives of many children and families alike in our community and across the state.”
To join the Epilepsy Foundation Eastern Pennsylvania’s Seizure Safe Schools efforts, please contact 215-629-5003 and to learn more, visit advocacy.epilepsy.com/seizuresafeschools.
According to the World Health Organization, epilepsy is the most common serious brain disorder worldwide with no age, racial, social class, national or geographic boundaries. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) estimates that 3.4 million people in the United States are affected by epilepsy. It is the underlying tendency of the brain to produce seizures which are sudden abnormal bursts of electrical energy that disrupt brain functions.