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CPR Training Now a High School Graduation Requirement in Many States

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Missouri became the latest state to require CPR training for high school graduates after Gov. Jay Nixon signed Senate Bill 711 into law Tuesday.

When the law takes effect in the 2017-18 school year, the Show Me State will join more than 30 others that require cardiopulmonary resuscitation  training in public schools. Many passed such laws in recent years in response to a push by the American Heart Association called "Be CPR Smart."

"Training students in CPR can be accomplished with a minimal investment in time and cost," the organization says on its website. "According to the latest science, trainees—including schoolchildren—can achieve acceptable levels of CPR skills proficiency in 30 minutes or less. That means in less time than it takes to watch the average sitcom, students can learn this lifesaving skill."

This map from the American Heart Association shows states that have passed such laws, most in the last five years. (Click through to see an interactive version of the map, which links to state laws and provides additional details.)


In Missouri, Senate Bill 711 requires that, beginning in the 2017-2018 school year, all high graduates, including those from charter schools, will receive 30 minutes of CPR instruction and training in the Heimlich maneuver, which is used to aid choking victims.

"Basic first aid can sometimes be the difference between life and death, " Gov. Nixon said. "Making sure young people are familiar with CPR and the Heimlich maneuver is a prudent addition to their coursework in physical education."

Supporters of such laws cite life-saving potential in urging their passage. Opponents say schools are increasingly being asked to do more with less. It can be difficult for educators to find the time and resources to meet another mandate, they say.

What do you think?

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