TRENTON, NJ - Legislation authored by State Sen. Kip Bateman (R-16th) to train teachers and staff to protect students with epilepsy unanimously passed the New Jersey Senate Monday.
The legislation, “Paul’s Law,” is named for Paul St. Pierre, an eighth-grader from Maple Shade, who was diagnosed with epilepsy in February. He is a passionate advocate for the training of school professionals to promote seizure-safe schools.
“We entrust teachers with our children’s education and well-being throughout the school day, so it makes sense to empower educators with the tools to quickly respond if a student is having a seizure,” said Bateman. “If you’re the parent of a child with epilepsy, you want to be assured that all teachers, nurses, and school bus drivers are properly trained and can care for your child until advanced medical help arrives. Creating a ‘seizure smart’ epilepsy action plan in schools will put parents' minds at ease and save lives.”
The legislation, S-4141, sponsored by Bateman and Senator James Beach, would ensure that at the requests of parents, school nurses would develop “individualized health care plans” and “emergency health care plans” for students with seizure disorders.
Under the bill, the nurse would be responsible for establishing seizure disorder care plans and ensuring all teachers, faculty, and staff are trained to care for students with seizure disorders.
The legislation also requires the school bus driver of a child with epilepsy be trained in seizure disorder first aid and be provided with emergency contact information for the student.
“There are 12,000 students throughout the Garden State with a seizure disorder,” added Bateman. “All of their teachers and school faculty should be trained in seizure first aid. I commend Paul for his advocacy and will continue to work on a bipartisan basis with Senator Beach to ensure that this bill is signed into law.”