Gov Pat Quinn, Democrat of Illinois, signed a law today that will require Illinois high schools to teach students to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation and use an automated external defibrillator, WAND-TV (ABC affiliate, Decatur) reports. The law will take effect at the beginning of the 2014-15 school year.
A not-too-cheap dummy can help teach students CPR.
Paramedic George Laman, whose daughter Lauren collapsed of a heart condition and died during a drill team practice in 2008 at a suburban Chicago high school, prompted the legislation. According to Mr Quinn’s office, an AED was available at Lauren’s school but wasn’t used until paramedics arrived.
The bill signing took place at the annual meeting of the Associated Fire Fighters of Illinois in Normal, the Chicago Tribune reports.
“It is not often our high school students are faced with the opportunity to save a life,” the Tribune quoted the governor as saying in a news release. “Should an emergency arise, we want our students ready to step in and take action. This common-sense law will make sure they are better prepared to help their classmates, teachers, family and friends in case of an emergency.”
The Bloomington Pantagraph quoted Mr Quinn as saying, “I think it’s important for every high school student in Illinois to learn CPR and to learn how to use an AED. Taking a few minutes in a class year” to learn CPR and how to use an AED is “just common sense.”
An alliance of professional organizations, including the Illinois Principals Association, opposed the bill signed today by the governor, HB 3724. Because the bill requires training on how to properly administer CPR and use an AED for all high school health classes, it was considered an unfunded mandate. In other words, the state government is telling schools what to teach without providing any funding for teacher training or curricular materials to teach it.
Most education organizations ultimately supported the bill, though, but not the Illinois Association of School Administrators, whose director of communications, Michael Chamness, told the Pantagraph, “It is another unfunded mandate at a time when schools all over the state are having to make painful cuts because of the loss of state funding. … Many of [the mandates], like this one, are good ideas, but cumulatively they drain school districts of resources, including money and instructional time.”