HARTFORD – State Representatives Gail Lavielle (R-143) and Jonathan Steinberg (D-136) worked together to introduce and pass bipartisan legislation that expands emergency care for students suffering from seizures while at school or participating in a school activity. Previously, only a school nurse was allowed to administer emergency anti-seizure medication in a school setting. The new legislation expands administration privileges to a specially designated and qualified school employee when the school nurse is absent or unavailable.
Each qualified school employee will be supervised by a school nurse or school medical advisor and will be able to administer medication only with the written permission of a parent or guardian to a specific student with a previously diagnosed epileptic condition who already has an individual seizure action plan.
The law requires the Department of Education, working with the School Nurse Advisory Council and the Association of School Nurses of Connecticut, to create a training program for school employees who are designated to administer the medication. The training program includes an overview of childhood seizure disorders, recognizing seizures, emergency management procedures for seizure activity, following individual seizure action plans, and post-seizure procedures and follow-up.
Under the new law, qualified school employees must annually complete the training program, be reviewed monthly by a school nurse to confirm their competency to administer the medication, and voluntarily agree to take on the responsibility.
Currently, more than 3,000 families have children with epilepsy and seizure disorders. The inspiration for this bill comes from Jim Ross, Chair of the Westport Citizens Transit Committee.
“Parents of children with epilepsy or another seizure disorder worry constantly that their child will suffer a seizure when no one is around to help,” said Rep. Lavielle, Ranking Member of the General Assembly’s Education Committee. “With the new law, they can feel more comfortable about their children’s health and safety at school and during extracurricular activities. We have similar laws regarding emergency treatment related to other conditions like diabetes or life-threatening allergic reactions, and I’m glad we were able to extend protections for children with epilepsy. I especially want to thank Jim Ross of Westport for bringing the matter to our attention.”
“It took us four years to get this legislation passed, but it was certainly worth the effort. Our perseverance led to finally addressing a life or death situation for students with epilepsy. We hope it will be a model for other states,” said Rep. Jonathan Steinberg
The new legislation, which is included in Public Act 15-215, was signed into law by Governor Malloy on July 1 and takes effect immediately.