Bill to Require CPR Training in High Schools

5 years 7 months 3 weeks ago Wednesday, April 25 2012 Apr 25, 2012 Wednesday, April 25, 2012 8:27:00 PM CDT April 25, 2012 in News
By: Stacey Welsh

JEFFERSON CITY - Lawmakers discussed legislation that would make CPR training a requirement for graduation in Missouri high schools. A public Senate committee hearing held Wednesday reviewed House Bill 1337. The bill calls for students in public and private high schools to implement a one-time 30-minute cardiopulmonary resuscitation training overview for students. This class would take place at any time within four years.

Students at Helias Catholic High School are already required to become Red Cross CPR certified before graduation. They train during Dan Campbell's health class. "Most students are interested in obtaining the skill and learning the information," Campbell said. "I think it's a great idea that we make [learning CPR] a requirement for all students." Campbell is also a Red Cross certified CPR instructor and medic in the Missouri National Guard.

However, this training would not certify students in CPR. State Rep. Rick Stream, R-Kirkwood sponsored the bill. Stream said any familiarity with CPR is beneficial for students and the state. "Every year we have about 70,000 high school students graduate. If we put 70,000 people out into the community each year that are trained on CPR, I think we are going to save a lot of lives," Stream said.

The bill calls for training on chest compressions only, not mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. This "Hands Only" CPR consists of performing at least 100 compressions per minute. To implement this training, schools would need minimal equipment provided by the American Red Cross and the American Heart Association (AHA).

In the training class, each student would need a tool to practice chest compressions the Red Cross makes. That tool combined with a small chest diagram cost about $3 each. Stream also said two or more students could practice with a small blow-up dummy provided by the AHA. The dummy kits cost about $30 each. According to Stream, the Red Cross and AHA plan to provide funding for these tools in schools. The organizations would offer this equipment to schools for free or at lower costs.

State Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal, D-St. Louis also has concerns about teachers administrating the training. The bill does not require instructors to be certified to perform or teach CPR. "We don't want to get in those situations where parents are possibly suing us because there's something that happened to their student," Chappelle-Nadal said. Chappelle-Nadal is also concerned about the additional requirement for graduation. "It's hard enough just getting our kids all the education that they need. The end of course examinations are very difficult, and [those are] also a mandate," Chappelle-Nadal said.

Lawmakers expect to vote on the bill in the Senate next week. If the bill becomes a law, students will begin this training in fall 2014.

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