Parents want CPR training mandatory for kids

Posted at 11:16 PM, Apr 28, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-28 23:16:23-04

Parents and heart experts from across the state are urging lawmakers to pass a bill that would require all high school students to learn CPR.

As we showed you last week, safety advocates are pushing schools to put the cardiac safety of students first. Now, they say this new legislation could save countless lives.

Related: Looking at the state heart program that could save your child's life

Students, parents and health experts told their stories of tragedy in front of lawmakers on Thursday, urging them to pass the bill.

"Never did we imagine that he would be the one to have a heart attack," Melissa Johnson said. Her fiance died from cardiac arrest. "As we watched a team of professionals attempt to save Steven's life, a young man approached me and said, 'I'm sorry, I didn't know what to do.'"

Jocelyn Leonard lost her son from a heart attack with over 1,000 people in the gym when it happened.

"Nobody gave him CPR - he didn't get any bystander CPR and there wasn't a worked AED on site," she said.

House Bill 5160 would add two essential skills to the health curriculum that students are already required to learn. The first is training for using an Automatic External Defibrillator (AED), as well as bystander CPR, which only involves chest compressions, not mouth-to-mouth resuscitation

Advocates of the bill say it would only cost about $.60 cents per student, and about 30 minutes of class time.

"With CPR in a high school setting, if every student was trained, we'd have 100,000 more trained individuals per year," Rep. Thomas Hooker said.

Randy Gillary lost his 15-year-old daughter Kimmie to sudden cardiac arrest after a school water polo match. The father from Troy has been fighting to get AED's in all Michigan schools.

During testimony in front of the Michigan House Education Committee on Thursday, some lawmakers questioned why they should force schools to do this when charities and volunteer groups can just offer training to those schools that want it.

"If this is so passionate, why do we have to make it a state law?" Rep. Ken Yonker asked. "Should not our school boards be jumping at the fact to have you come in to our schools?"

This bill had been just sitting in committee until 7 Investigator heather Catallo started calling lawmakers about it.

At least 10 different people testified in support of the bill on Thursday, and we'll keep you updated on its progress.