JEFFERSON CITY - A Missouri House committee heard and passed a bill to include CPR training in high school curriculum after hearing emotional testimony from two school teachers.
Rep. Rick Stream, R-St. Louis County, presented his bill before the Health Care Policy committee. Stream said he hopes that by putting CPR training into high school curriculum, students will be better able to handle emergency situations.
The bill would require schools provide a CPR training course with their health curriculum, the course could take the form of a lecture or even a school-wide assembly. The training course would not have to provide certification but would give students a better knowledge of what to do in a medical emergency.
Melissa Creed, an elementary school teacher, spoke in support of the bill. Creed told the story of her experience when a colleague collapsed during a school lunch. Creed was not trained in CPR and had to call the school nurse in order to resuscitate her colleague. That colleague, Sally Sharp, also spoke in support of the bill. In an emotional testimony, Sharp says the incident changed her life, she now teaches and speaks on the importance of CPR training and having defibrillators available in schools.
“It’s a short course to take for a life saving event,” Sharp said.
While no one testified in opposition to the bill, Rep. Diane Franklin, R-Camdenton, expressed concern whether the bill would make CPR training mandatory for graduation. The bill will not make CPR certification mandatory, but rather will implement the program into curriculum much like any other health course.
Jace Smith, lobbyist for the American Heart Association, says if the bill is passed they would work with schools to provide kits as well as volunteers for training and education. Smith said he hopes that collaboration with his organization as well as others could reduce or eliminate most costs for the addition of CPR training.
CPR training requirements have been passed in both Alabama and Iowa and at least 24 states are working on similar bills.
The committee voted unanimously to pass the bill, which will be sent to the House for consideration.