Point Alumnus Advocates for Students with Seizure Disorders
Point alumnus AJ Taylor ’16 has recently worked with the Georgia state legislature to pass SB45, or AJ’s Law, which will provide education and training to teachers for students with epilepsy or seizure disorders.
Epilepsy is a seizure disorder affecting nearly 3 million Americans. 450,000 of them are under the age of 17.
“I had my first seizure when I was 14 years old and went on to be diagnosed with epilepsy,” said Taylor. “Practically overnight, epilepsy changed my life.”
Taylor admitted that he did not always feel safe in school because of his epilepsy. “Most people only know about seizures from what they have seen on a TV show or in a movie,” he said. “I knew my parents knew what to do if I had a seizure at home, but when I walked into school every day, I wondered who that person would be if I had a seizure at school.”
His own experience drove Taylor to begin advocating for students with epilepsy and seizure disorders. “Epilepsy and seizures are already hard enough on a kid,” he said. “I believe every kid deserves to feel safe and have educational equality, no matter the outside circumstances.”
In 2020, Taylor began researching Seizure Safe Schools legislation. He discovered that 12 states had enacted Seizure Safe Schools legislation, but Georgia was not one of them. Over the course of a few months, Taylor connected with three women who were leading the charge for Seizure Safe Schools in their own states, and they became mentors to him.
Taylor began making calls to Georgia senators and was finally connected with an interested senator in fall 2021. Sen. Jason Anavitarte drafted the bill and introduced it to the Georgia legislative session in 2022, but it was pushed to the 2023 session. The bill was read for the first time in the Georgia Senate in January. The bill was selected to be heard in the Senate’s Children and Families Committee at the end of February, where Taylor testified.
The bill received a unanimous vote of 56-0 in the Senate, and a unanimous vote of 167-0 in the House of Representatives. SB45, now known as AJ’s Law, was officially signed into law by Governor Brian Kemp on April 13.
“The first moments of a seizure are so crucial,” said Taylor. “This law guarantees that schools will have seizure action plans on file and that schoolteachers and staff will be trained in seizure recognition and first aid. AJ’s Law will be life-changing for the next generation of students with epilepsy and seizure disorders.”