High school students across the state will soon be responsible for learning CPR and the Heimlich maneuver before being able to graduate, following a mandate from Gov. Bev Perdue. They’ll be joining Lincoln County students who already undergo the training.
The new law was made effective July 26, but won’t start affecting local children until the senior class of 2015, Assistant Superintendent for Business Steven Zickefoose told the Times-News on Tuesday.
As part of the legislation, every school in the county must have a defibrillator in each school building, in case of emergency. Lincoln County schools have had the devices for at least five years, so that portion of the bill is satisfied.
The defibrillator is for situations where heart resuscitation is necessary, Zickefoose explained. Trained employees who know how to use them are on site at each school.
Local schools are ahead of those in many other districts when it comes to preparations for CPR, according to county Superintendent Sherry Hoyle.
“The plus side is that we already have CPR learning in place,” Hoyle said. “It’s a requirement to graduate.”
“Whether it’s adults or young people, it’s important to be prepared if there’s an emergency,” Hoyle added.
Currently, every high school in the area offers CPR training to 9th-graders, who must pass the course in order to fulfill credit requirements — a part of curriculum since the late 1990s. There really won’t be much of a change here, since high school students are already required to enroll in the course as freshmen, Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum Elaine Boysworth said.
Teachers leading the health courses the freshmen are taking are certified, as well as the staff nurses.
At the state level, the Department of Public Instruction will put together a plan for state schools to follow. Once that happens, Lincoln County officials will reassess the existing program to make sure it satisfies the new law.
Zickefoose expects two to three budget cycles before local schools have to worry about any additional funding for the plan. He hopes the state will be willing to provide the extra money, since the measure was passed at that level, he said.