Bill Pushes for CPR and AED Training in High Schools

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By Stephanie Tyrpak
By Jared Roberts

FRANKLIN CO. -- There's a push in Illinois to teach every high school student how to do CPR and operate a heart defibrillator.

Most people agree it's a great idea, but there are some concerns over cost.
 
The Illinois house has already approved the bill. It's now moving through the senate.
 
The bill was created in honor of an 18-year-old from the Chicago area  named Lauren. She died during a school drill team practice in 2008. People nearby didn't know how to step in and help soon enough.
 
You can view House Bill 3724 here.
 
When a person collapses with heart issues, minutes can make all the difference. Knowing what to do next is a lesson for Frankfort Community High School students.
 
"What I've been doing is taking old defibrillator paddles and just showing where they're placed at and how they're used," said Health Teacher Matt Hampelman. 
 
Hampelman teaches the semester long course to freshmen and sophomores. He spends a few days going over the basics and has the students run through skits. 
 
"No rescue breaths, and it's all about chest compressions," said Hampelman. "So it's really not too bad at all. Kids get the hang of it pretty quickly."
 
Expanding that CPR and defribillator training to every teen is an idea that principal Bethany Shaw supports.
     
"I think that's very doable for us," said Shaw. "It's something that we already incorporate into our health curriculum."
 
However, the district would have objections if they were required to provide certification or buy a lot of expensive new equipment.
 
"Sometimes when these things go through, there are unintended costs," said Shaw. 
 
The price tag attached to the proposal is a big concern for Illinois schools already struggling with budget cuts and limited resources.
 
"In many cases have had to cut things, like music, art, extracurricular activities," said Illinois Association of School Administrators Director of Communications Mike Chamness. 
 
The IASA believes it's important to teach life-saving skills. However, finding the money to make that happen isn't so easy.
 
"There's more than 100 state and federal mandates that school districts have to comply with at this point," said Chamness. 
     
They'd rather leave it to the districts to decide on the lesson, instead of an order coming from the state.
 
"We believe that adding anything new to the curriculum at this point should be a local decision," said Chamness. 
 
One suggestion that the bill's creator has made to help with the costs is having local fire departments come to schools. They could then provide the CPR and AED training.
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