COLUMBUS – Ohio schools have been a focus for State Representative Adam Bird (R-New Richmond). This week, his efforts were supported as the Ohio House’s Primary and Secondary Education Committee favorably reported two bills of which he is the primary sponsor.
First, the Committee cleared House Bill 606, also known as Sarah’s Law for Seizure Safe Schools Act.
The measure aims to improve safety procedures in schools for students with epilepsy and other seizure disorders. The action was taken by Bird and his joint sponsor State Representative Catherine Ingram (D-Cincinnati) in honor of Sarah Linardos, who passed in 2018 from Sudden Unexplained Death in Epilepsy.
“I’m pleased to have the Committee’s support,” said Bird. “The Seizure Safe Schools Act will improve the care of students, raise awareness and implement a uniform standard of care and response across the state.”
Under the bill, public and chartered nonpublic schools will be required to create a seizure action plan for each student diagnosed with a seizure disorder. The plan would be created in collaboration with a parents or guardian, the student’s treating practitioner and other components required by the State Board of Education.
Additional provisions of the bill include seizure action plan training for at least one employee at each school and age-appropriate instruction to classmates on seizure disorders.
Also targeted towards operations within Ohio’s schools is H.B. 554, which focuses on alleviating the staffing shortages schools have suffered from since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic.
To invite more teachers into the classroom, the bill would allow Ohio’s State Board of Education to issue temporary educator licenses to applicants with expired professional teacher’s certificates and professional educator licenses as long as the educator left the profession in good standing.
“This legislation is a step in the right direction and H.B. 554 is one of several changes we are seeking to make. This will help Ohio schools in the short term while we are working out the bigger issues of making the education profession more attractive to more of today’s students,” said Bird.
During the committee process, the measure received overwhelming proponent testimony.
Both H.B. 606 and H.B. 554 now await full House floor votes.