Requirement to take CPR to graduate

Certified CPR instructor Bill Welch timing students on chest compressions. This is one of the various lessons preformed during the 45 minute session for students to meet the requirements.

To meet additional graduation prerequisites, juniors and seniors have to take part in CPR sessions provided by the school.  AB 1719, initially drafted by assembly member Freddie Rodriguez, was discussed in 2016, but was officially enacted during the 2018-2019 school year. AB 1719 consists of adding hands-on compression-only cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) to any required high school course, along with instructions meeting either the American Red Cross or American Heart Association guidelines. San Marin has fit themselves into the guidelines by designating a different group of  30-35 juniors and seniors for each CPR session in the cafeteria instead of their assigned tutorial.

An email sent on Oct. 4 from Assistant Principal Shawna Torres, established the specific location and day CPR would be held, informing students of the CPR requirement. The email also included a google form to upload CPR certifications that are 2 years or less. 

“Tutorial was the least invasive choice so that students were not pulled out of content area classes,” Torres said.

The CPR sessions are currently led by certified CPR and First Aid Instructor through National Safety Council Bill Welch.

“Any time you have to save a life, why wouldn’t you want to know how?” Welch said. “The students are NOT certified, but they are trained and meet the requirements set forth in AB 1719.”

The regulation that schools would have to follow consists of two guidelines. The first one is providing an instructional program that is based on the emergency CPR guidelines. The second rule specifies that the instructional program should be hands-on, not including the mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. 

“I don’t really want to do it but I understand why it should be required,” junior Krittinee Thomson said. “I think it’s a reasonable addition…it’s good to be prepared if the situation rises.”

The CPR session consisted of being introduced to an automated external defibrillator (AED), use of Epi-pens, hands-on CPR chest compressions on mannequins, and discussions on “Stop the Bleed” all within 45 minutes.

“They [students] learn proper hand and body position, and must demonstrate the skill to pass the training,” Welch said. “Additionally, we discuss ‘Stop the bleed’; how to use direct pressure to treat wounds, talk about the use of tourniquets and raising the injured limb above the heart to slow down the bleeding.”

Seniors have had mixed reactions as it was not brought up earlier in the year, along with college applications approaching the open deadline.

“I don’t think schools should have a required CPR course, because a lot of people don’t have the time for that.” senior Corvus Chan said. 

Senior Jena Clark who took part in the CPR sessions on Oct. 20th, felt that although it was educational, it also felt rushed.

“Personally I believe that the most informative section of the training was completed when working with the dummy because it provided a somewhat real expectation of what CPR will look like,” Clark said. “However, because we had very little time to complete the training it felt as if we were only given a small glimpse of the skills required to perform CPR.”

Welch has felt that there could have been improvements as well such as additionally covering more concepts and teaching all grades.

“I wish the bill required all high school students, but seniors is a good start,” Welch said. “I also wish they added choking into the training. Learning to dislodge a foreign object from someone that is choking is invaluable, as it can occur anywhere, to anyone.”

Author: Reiko Suzuki

Reiko Suzuki is a junior and one of the duties for the features page. One of her hobbies is drawing. Her favorite thing to do during her free time is spend time with her pets.

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