A bill currently awaiting Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon’s signature would ensure all the state’s high schoolers learn CPR.
The Heimlich maneuver also would be required as part of a 30-minute introductory course built into students’ health or physical education curriculum under Senate Bill 635, which passed on May 12 and reached Nixon’s desk Wednesday.
But the law would not be a big change for the St. Joseph School District, which already has CPR and other first aid procedures built into its curriculum for 8th- and 10th-grade health classes, as well as the Junior ROTC program.
“The unit gives students a hands on experience with mannequins for both CPR and the Heimlich maneuver,” said Mike Buckler, the SJSD physical education coordinator. He added the unit lasts two to three weeks in class.
Having already implemented the training means St. Joseph School District is ahead of others in the state, said Maria Burnham, the district’s coordinator of nursing services.
“I think for other districts in the state, and for other students, it will be huge because we will have even more people trained,” Burnham said. “More people will have knowledge, and know what to do in case of an emergency. Instead of maybe panicking they will say, ‘Hey, I had this class, I know what to do’ and they won’t be afraid.”
If the governor signs the bill, the course will be added during the 2017-18 school year, but there are opportunities year-round to take CPR and other first aid courses through places like the American Red Cross of Northwest Missouri.
“We hope that this bill will not only spark learning in our students but even everyone else who lives in our communities,” said Angie Springs, executive director of the Northwest Missouri Chapter of the America Red Cross. “... We would love to make our communities stronger and safer.”
For more information on Red Cross classes, call 816-232-8439 or visit www.redcross.org/ux/take-a-class.
The Red Cross also has a free mobile app with extra information and walkthroughs of how to help in a medical emergency.
“If we are equipping high school students with these skills, we are hopefully developing lifelong learners of CPR and first aid,” Springs said. “Where they will come back year after year to stay up-to-date on their certification as they go onto their college career and into their family life.”