Proposal would require seizure response education for schools - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Proposal would require seizure response education for schools

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MT. VERNON, Ill. -- Health experts say one in 26 people will develop epilepsy in their lifetime, and that's why a state lawmaker has sponsored a bill to help kids who have seizures in school.

House Bill 1475 requires schools to train staff on how to treat children having a seizure and partner with parents to develop an epilepsy action plan.

The issue is personal for the bill's sponsor, State Rep. Terri Bryant, (R) Murphysboro.

Bryant's husband, Rick, developed epilepsy as a kid. She said he didn't know it at first because it was difficult to identify the symptoms.

"Once he realized that it was epilepsy, he could deal with it a little bit better, but certainly his teachers didn't know what to do to help him," Bryant said. "And it's very frustrating for kids when they don't know that there's someone they can go to."

Bryant said the Epilepsy Foundation will pay for the additional training so no additional taxpayer dollars will be needed.

Richard Stubblefield is a volunteer advocate with the foundation and he also taught at Mt. Vernon Township High School for more than three decades.

"It's very frightening when you're charged with taking care of somebody else's kids and something like that happens," Stubblefield said.

The issue is personal for him, too. His daughter, Sara, developed epilepsy at 16 and died from a seizure in 2011 when she was 36.

Mt Vernon Township High School has already developed plans to help students they have with epilepsy.

Nurse Abi Gregg said they have 10 to 15 students who have had seizures in the past.

"We have students who have a seizure bag in our office and if they call us and tell us that there's a student with a seizure, we just grab this certain bag in our office, and it has student's medication in it as well as their action plans," Gregg said.

The school also educates students on how to react to others having a seizure, including educational fliers in the hallways, measures that could be coming to more schools in Illinois.

A house committee approved the bill unanimously Wednesday, sending it to the full House for a vote. If approved, it would then go to the Senate.

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