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September 8, 2011
Honorable Jerry Brown
Governor, State of California
Sacramento, CA 95814
Dear Governor Brown:
Disability Rights California, a non-profit advocacy organization mandated to advance the human and legal rights of people with disabilities supports SB 161 (Huff), and respectfully requests your signature.
SB 161 will expand access to medication for students who have epilepsy. This is an important step to providing children with epilepsy with a free appropriate public education.
The shortage of qualified medical personnel in schools is a major obstacle for many children with disabilities. Nearly half of California schools do not have a school nurse, and the schools with them do not always have them available for all school activities. Access to medication is important for children with disabilities who need it to be able to receive an education in the least restrictive environment with their peers.
Emergency anti-seizure medication is medication that immediately halts a seizure when administered. During a seizure, a person can experience extremely dangerous side effects, including loss of breath which may lead to brain damage and physical injury. In most cases, where a person receives emergency anti-seizure medication, their seizure ceases and those risks are no longer a concern. Such medications have made it possible for many people who have Epilepsy to confidently and safely attend school, activities, and other events that they may not have otherwise attended due to the threat of a life threatening seizure where medical attention was not nearby.
SB 161 would specifically allow non-nursing personnel to administer emergency anti-seizure medication only in cases where a staff member at the school site has volunteered to do so. The bill would require a school district, county office of education, or charter school that elects to train school employees to ensure the distribution of an electronic notice to all staff regarding the request. The bill would authorize the State Department of Education to include, on its Internet Web site, a clearinghouse of best practices in training nonmedical personnel in administering an emergency anti-seizure medication pursuant to these provisions.
By allowing non-medical personnel to administer emergency anti-seizure medication many children with epilepsy will be able to attend their neighborhood schools safely. For this reason, we support this legislation and urge your signature.
Please feel free to contact our office if you have questions about our position on this bill.
Disability Rights California
CC: Honorable Robert Huff, California State Senate
CC: Christopher Finarelli, Legislative Aide, Senator Huff’s Office