Bill honoring Kilgore student would provide epileptic response training in schools

Sam's Law to be taken up by upcoming state legislature

TYLER, TX (KLTV) -An East Texas legislator plans to file a bill in Austin that will provide training for educators on how to respond if a person has a seizure while in school.

Sam’s Law is a bill proposing seizure education and first aid training for any and all employees in Texas public schools who have contact with children.

The name is in honor of Samantha Watkins, a Kilgore ISD student who died in December 2016.

“It started when I had my first tonic-clonic seizure, which is the violent convulsive seizure, at age 51,” said Shari Dudo, the founder of Purple Warriors of Texas. “I realized as a teacher in the Texas public school system, that if a child were to have a seizure like I had in my classroom, I would not know what to do.”

Right around the time Dudo had her first seizure, Sam died. Dudo reached out to Sam’s mother inquiring about working together on the law and naming it in Sam’s honor.

“About the same time the tragedy with Sam unfolded, I met with Barbara, Sam’s mother,” said Dudo. “I asked her if we could try to raise awareness for epilepsy and for this condition and we’ve been working on this for three years.”

Authoring the bill is Representative Travis Clardy.

“It is minimally intrusive to our teachers and administrators,” said Clardy. “It’s a 30-minute video that has already been prepared by the Epilepsy Foundation and there’s a seizure action plan. When we’re dealing with the safety and well-being of our students, I don’t think we can have a more important policy.”

Dudo, like Clardy, doesn’t think the bill will face much backlash among teachers.

“You’re asking for less than 30 minutes of training and it has the potential to save a child’s life,” said Dudo. “I don’t know of a teacher who is not in agreement for that.”

According to Dudo, there are 33,988 Texas students that have active seizures in public schools and there are 47,200 children in Texas that have epilepsy.

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