Epilepsy and School

www.samslaw.org Sam's Law (HB 684) was approved during Texas' 86th Legislative Session, requiring all school personnel to be trained in seizure recognition and First Aid. For Additonal Information, Visit www.samslaw.org

Sam’s Law (HB684)

Unanimously Passed by the 86th Texas Legislature, and Signed by Governor Abbott June 11, 2019, Sam’s Law will Require All Texas Public School Staff to receive Training in Seizure Recognition and First Aid.
Pictured is Samantha Watkins, Former Kilgore High School Student, who passed away in 2016. Samantha “Sam” Watkins was an honor student, member of the National Honors Society, a Texas scholar, and on the soccer team. Three months after being diagnosed with epilepsy she suffered a massive seizure, resulting in her death.

Epilepsy and Your Child’s School

Going to school can be stressful for children with epilepsy.  They may worry about having a seizure in class or how other students will react.  Parents are also anxious. They often worry that their child’s teacher may not know how to handle an epileptic seizure, or that their child may be treated unfairly because of epilepsy.

Most children with epilepsy attend school and can participate in activities. Some may need to take medicine at school, require help with certain subjects, or be given extra time on tests.  It is important that Teachers and school staff be able to recognize seizure activity and react accordingly.  That is where communication with the student and their parents becomes crucial.  Every student with seizures should have a Seizure Action Plan.  This plan should be provided to all administrative staff and teachers at the school.

Fighting Epilepsy Stigma in Your Child’s School

Seizures can be frightening for students and witnesses, especially if they have never witnessed another person having a seizure, or if they are unsure of how to help. Fear can lead to misunderstandings and prejudices, from other students, teachers and school staff. Coping with reactions of people at school who don’t understand epilepsy is just one example of the stigma that you and your child may face. It’s important to fight these misunderstandings and prejudices when you encounter them. Explain to others that children with epilepsy are usually just as capable as other kids. You may meet people who call your child an “epileptic.” Explain why the term isn’t used anymore: A child with epilepsy isn’t defined by this condition. Instead, epilepsy is usually a small part of his or her life.

Educating Your Child’s Classmates

Educating your child’s classmates early on about proper seizure first aid and epilepsy can reduce stigma, decrease fear, and improve the overall acceptance of your child. Here are some suggestions about how to inform others:

  • Consider reaching out to school staff to explore educating your child’s classmates. Keep your child involved in the education process, too. There are many educational programs and tools available to help teachers create a basic epilepsy program.
  • Be a special guest/presenter for the day. Use the curriculum available here​.
  • Visit the Epilepsy Foundation’s Public Awareness page for information and ideas on talking about epilepsy, as well as a curriculum for training middle school and high school students.