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Seizure Safe Schools Act passes in Nebraska legislature

Published: May. 20, 2021 at 7:26 PM CDT|Updated: May. 20, 2021 at 7:52 PM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - Beginning in the 2022-2023 school year, LB 639, the Seizure Safe Schools Act, will be put into place across Nebraska. The new bill focuses on training educators in seizure detection and response.

The CDC reports that in every 1,000 kids, it’s likely that six of them might have epilepsy and have seizures, which can last anywhere from a few seconds to minutes at a time. Those moments right after a seizure are critical to the damage that can come from them. That’s why implementing bills like LB 639 could make all the difference.

“Teachers have told me, ‘I’ve had kids have a seizure in my classroom, and I didn’t know what to do. I would love to know what to do,’” said Jen Cordes, whose 16-year-old daughter Ruby is living with epilepsy.

Now that LB 639 has passed in the Nebraska’s legislature, education on seizure first aid will soon be available.

“[It will] help the educators understand how to handle the seizures when they happen in the classroom the first time,” said Sen. Jen Day who first introduced LB 639. She added, “People get into education because they genuinely care about children. I think this just gives them one more tool in their toolbox to be better educators.”

The bill will include having at least one person in each school who knows how to recognize, respond and give medicine to students having seizures, if necessary.

“When we dug into it, we saw that very few teachers had this training,” said Sen. Day. She added that more than 32 percent of Nebraska teachers say they wanted more training in seizure first aid, which is something Jen Cordes wishes would’ve happened a while back for her daughter Ruby.

“She would just fall to the ground, and her whole body would shake and seize uncontrollably,” Cordes said.

She said that’s what happened to Ruby one time during the middle of her gym class, “Her teacher froze, and Ruby seized, banging her head over and over on the floor. It was her friends that ran off and got help.”

Cordes says putting laws into place like the Seizure Safe Schools Act will bring families like hers a new piece of mind.

“It’s a terrible feeling just sending your child, dropping your child after school and hoping and praying that somebody knows what to do, that somebody will be there when your child falls to the ground, that somebody would recognize a seizure and that she’ll get the care that she needs immediately,” Cordes said.

Nebraska’s Epilepsy Foundation will work with state educators, providing free seizure first-aid training for the 2022-2023 school year. LB 639 will also make sure each student with a seizure disorder has an individual action plan in place.

Once the bill goes into effect, Nebraska will join five other states including Kentucky, Indiana, Texas, Illinois and New Jersey in adopting laws addressing epilepsy and seizures in schools.

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