High school students could be required to take life-saving class

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JEFFERSON CITY - A proposed bill would require Missouri high school students to participate in 30-minutes of CPR training.

Hillsboro High School student Abby Snodgrass learned about CPR at her school, and was able to save the life of an infant inside a local Walmart. 

She told her story in a video provided by the American Heart Association's St. Louis chapter.

"I definitely think my training kicked in, and not my emotion, because I would of been scared to death, and I have no idea why I wasn't," Snodgrass said in the video. "The CPR training helped me save the baby's life." 

The House and Senate both have versions of the proposed legislation moving through the General Assembly. The Senate version was voted out of committee Thursday, and will go before the House, which has approved a similar measure.

Sen. Dan Brown (R-Rolla) said a lot of schools have reached out to him to say they support the bill.

"When you file a piece of legislation, something like this that requires schools to do something, because they have such a large amount of curriculum that they have to cover now, they may not want this. This has actually been very well accepted. It's an important issue," Brown said. 

Brown is a heart patient himself, and when the idea was brought to him by March of Dimes and heart organizations around Missouri, he thought it was a good idea. 

Rep. Ron Hicks (R-St.Peters) created the House version of the bill after he preformed CPR on young woman who collapsed inside of the Capitol last year. 

"Ever since that moment, we started talking about this." Hicks said. 

Hicks spoke with the American Heart Association (AHA) and decided they could work together to turn the situation into a learning expirence and save lives.

The AHA said, if the bill were to be passed, it could almost triple survival rates. 

"The more people we get trained out in the field, they go out and they train their friends and their family. That's a new generation of life savers that we can have here in Missouri," said Jace Hicks, the government relations director of the AHA.

AHA said studies show students can pick up CPR skills within 20 to 30 minutes, and increase survival rates from 14 to 33 percent. The course would be held in health or P.E. classes. Students would not receive certification, but are encouraged to complete a full course.