Educators Say Yes To CPR, No To Graduation Requirement - 47 ABC - Delmarva's Choice

Educators Say Yes To CPR, No To Graduation Requirement

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SALISBURY, Md. - From coaches to nurses, Dr. John Fredericksen says the staff at Wicomico County Schools is prepared to save lives.

"If you go to [Bennett High School, Wicomico High School or Wicomico Middle School], I'm positive I've got at least a dozen [of my staff certified in CPR]," said Fredericksen.

But what about students?

Maryland lawmakers want to make public high school students complete training in both CPR and AED, or automated external defibrillators. If not, they wouldn't graduate. The bill passed in the Senate and currently sits in the House.

Supporters say more people knowing the techniques could save more lives. The Red Cross is one organization being considered to train students.

According to communications manager Christine Maiese, 300,000 people a year die from cardiac arrest nationwide.  In a statement, Maiese wrote, "The Red Cross has the curriculum, expertise, and generations of experience delivering CPR and AED knowledge and skills to the Maryland community."

But a majority of educators WMDT spoke with say the cost is too high.

"We don't support the bill as a specific stand-alone activity," said Fredericksen. "We think it's important. We think it should be apart of the curriculum as part of an overall system, not just as a stand-alone check off [for graduation].

"We support the inclusion of AED/CPR First Aid training as part of a comprehensive health and safety."

According to the fiscal summary of the bill,  AEDs cost at least $1,200 dollars each. Potentially hiring a Red Cross-certified consultant could cost $50 per student.

"I think it's a worthwhile conversation, but I think practically and effectively we would have to address those procedural hurdles," said Dr. Henry Wagner, superintendent for Dorchester County Schools.

WMDT raised some questions about liabilities for any students that may need to use CPR in case of an emergency. We reached out to Del. Jon Cardin (D), who sponsors the bill.

His office says that if the bill passes, it would fall under Maryland's Good Samaritan Act.

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