Epilepsy News From: Thursday, April 14, 2022
Seizure Safe Schools Legislation Now Passed in 15 States
Bowie, Md., April 14, 2022 — Epilepsy Foundation announced today that Governor Larry Hogan signed Brynleigh’s Act (Senate Bill 299) into law on April 12 making Maryland the 15th state in the country to pass Seizure Safe Schools legislation. The bill is named after 8-year-old Brynleigh Shillinger who lives with epilepsy and a rare genetic condition called tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC). Passage of the bill in Maryland holds special significance for the Epilepsy Foundation as it is headquartered in the state, and this success follows on the heels of similar legislation enacted in Florida and Utah in the last few weeks.
“Watching Governor Hogan sign SB 299, Brynleigh’s Act, into law was a truly momentous occasion,” said Sean and Lauren Shillinger, Brynleigh’s parents. “Our daughter’s journey inspired this legislation in Maryland, but her story was just one of many that persuaded our legislators to pass this act into law. Our advocacy efforts made history and will leave a lasting legacy that will ensure teachers’ and students’ safety in schools now and for future generations. Our hard work paid off and we are so proud of our community of epilepsy warriors. It was a dream come true for us all!”
The Shillinger family has been championing the bill for several years, alongside the DiBitetto family and countless others. Since January, grassroots advocates have sent almost 1,300 letters to Maryland state legislators in support of the legislation.
Senate Bill 299 requires each student diagnosed with a seizure disorder to have a Seizure Action Plan on file and made available to all school personnel and volunteers responsible for the supervision of the student. The legislation ensures at least two school personnel are trained to administer FDA-approved anti-seizure or seizure rescue medications and that all school personnel receive training in seizure recognition and first-aid response every two years. Lastly, the bill includes a Good Samaritan clause.
“During the school day, school personnel are oftentimes the first line of care for students with medical conditions,” said Delegate Ken Kerr (District 3B, Frederick County), one of the bill’s chief sponsors. “Under this new law, all school personnel will be trained in seizure first aid and be equipped with the tools they need to support students with epilepsy and seizure disorders. Not only will Brynleigh’s Act provide peace of mind to families who send their children off to school, not knowing if there will be someone there to assist in the event of a seizure, but it can also help save a life.” The bill was also sponsored by State Senator Ronald Young (District 3, Frederick County) and co-sponsored by Delegates Johnson, Boteler, Buckel, Charles, Ebersole, Griffith, Hartman, Lisanti, Long, Rose and Senators Feldman, Washington, Carozza, Hester, and Simonaire.
In addition to incredible advocates and families, the Epilepsy Foundation is grateful to have closely partnered with Schwartz, Metz, Wise & Kauffman, P.A., The Arc Maryland, and the TSC Alliance, through each step of the legislative process—ultimately, together, getting the bill to the Governor’s desk. The Epilepsy Foundation continues to work with its grassroots advocates and nearly 40 organizational partners to pass this bill in the remaining 35 states and Washington, D.C.
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. Epilepsy is the underlying tendency of the brain to produce seizures which are sudden abnormal bursts of electrical energy that disrupt brain functions.
About the Epilepsy Foundation
With a network of partners throughout the United States, the Epilepsy Foundation is leading the fight to overcome the challenges of living with epilepsy. The Foundation connects people to treatment, support and resources; leads advocacy efforts; funds innovative research and the training of specialists; and educates the public about epilepsy and seizure first aid. For more than five decades, the Epilepsy Foundation has shone a light on epilepsy to promote awareness and understanding, and to advocate for laws that matter to people with epilepsy, while also funding epilepsy research and supporting epilepsy investigators and specialists in their early careers. In partnership with the CDC, the Epilepsy Foundation has helped to improve access to care for people with epilepsy, expanded its digital reach and online resources in homes across the country, and trained more than 600,000 people in seizure recognition and first aid. The Epilepsy Foundation continues to focus on serving the epilepsy community through advocacy, education, direct services and research for new therapies. To learn more visit epilepsy.com or call 1.800.332.1000. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
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Thursday, April 14, 2022