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5/27/2014 2:39:00 PM Email this articlePrint this article 
Lawrence County schools ready for new AED law
Administrators at Unit 10 and Unit 20 are already on-board with a new forthcoming law that will require high school students to undergo automated external defibrillator training as a graduation requirement.

"I'm not opposed to it. We do CPR and first aid training through our P.E. classes. We will probably make it an extension of that. It wouldn't be cumbersome for us," Unit 10 Principal Clarence Gross said.

The automated external defibrillator (AED) is a device that analyzes the heart's rhythm. If necessary, it delivers an electrical shock, known as defibrillation, which helps the heart re-establish an effective rhythm, according to the American Red Cross website.

Unit 20 Principal Paul Higginbotham said the school follows a training method similar to Unit 10.

"Frontier Community College does CPR and first aid training with the students. They spend about eight days with our P.E. Classes. Our students are introduced to the AED during their training, but they aren't trained on it," Higginbotham said.

While both schools are in the red financially, state law already requires the schools to have AEDs on campus. However, Gross noted that the state continually adding new laws could potentially put additional financial strains on the schools.

"It's another example of unfunded mandates. The state expects more and more, but gives us less and less funding. They tell us we're required to do these things, but don't give us funding," Gross added.

The prices for an AED kit through the Red Cross website range from $1,354 to $1,952 per kit. Each kit contains one device and all the necessary equipment to operate it.

The plans for the new law were announced Tuesday by Governor Pat Quinn via a press release.

"Illinois' students should be prepared to act if a health emergency happens in any of our high schools," Quinn said in a press release.

"This is [sic] common-sense legislation will make sure all Illinois high school students are properly trained to use defibrillators in life-and-death situations."

The bill was developed after the 2009 death of 18-year-old Lauren Laman, a senior at St. Charles North High School. Laman collapsed during drill team practice and was pronounced dead. It was later determined she died as a result of a known heart condition. Although she was given CPR at the scene, an AED nearby was never used and could have potentially saved her life.

"I commend Representative Daniel Burke and Senator John Mulroe for sponsoring this bill and all legislators who voted for it. I look forward to signing it into law to make sure our young people are prepared to help their classmates or teachers in case of an emergency," Quinn also said.


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