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Former teacher pushing to create 'Sam's Law' to make seizure education mandatory

Updated: Aug. 15, 2017 at 7:09 PM CDT
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Shari Dudo (Source: KLTV)
Shari Dudo (Source: KLTV)

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - A former East Texas teacher is trying to introduce legislation that would require Texas schools to add seizure education to their curriculum.

The legislation would be titled "Sam's Law", after Samantha Watkins, a Kilgore ISD student who died after a seizure last December.

Currently, the Texas Education Agency says there isn't anything that mandates teachers, or students to learn about seizures and how to deal with them.

A former teacher, Shari Dudo says the law will help keep children safe.

She is on a mission, to draw awareness to epilepsy, and also to seizures.

"One in 26 people have epilepsy…I have epilepsy, I developed it a few years ago, and I could see how there was not training. I just felt like it needed to change," says Dudo.

She was able to find that push for change through the story of a young woman, Samantha Watkins.

"I knew somehow this could be the spark," says Dudo.

Earlier this year, Dudo spoke with Samantha's mother, Barbara Watkins and the groundwork began.

"Sam's Law is a three part approach in getting Texas schools and Texas citizens educated in seizure recognition," says Dudo.

Aside from outside resources like the epilepsy foundation, there isn't anything in place to make sure teachers and students learn about seizures that ultimately can be deadly.

"Helping her and the thousands of children across Texas that do have seizures, active seizures and they do have them at school. We want them to be safe," says Dudo.

For Samantha's mother, the process will take time, but she says helping students is something that her daughter would be proud of.

"She would be smiling down going, 'you did it again mom, thanks for not giving up,' " says Watkins.

Dudo says she's hoping the legislation will be introduced in the next Texas Legislative Session in 2019.

The epilepsy foundation says there are several things you can do to help during a seizure including placing the person on their side if they appear to be choking, moving objects out of the way, and calling for help if the seizure lasts longer than 5 minutes.

They also state to not hold the person down.

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