New CPR bill breathes life into Hagerty

Mandatory CPR training takes place after PSAT


photo by Sarena Wilkerson

Tyler Welch performs CPR on a dummy. CPR training was part of a health training class after the PSAT this Wednesday.

When people stop breathing, problems start to pile up quickly. Nowhere is this more true than in high school, an environment filled with kids who are untrained in CPR. Following the unanimous passage of a bill in the Florida legislature this April, students in Florida high schools will be given a one-hour course on basic first aid and CPR. Hagerty had its first instructional course for freshman and juniors this past Wednesday, after students took the PSAT.

Junior Cam Jorgensen, when asked to reflect upon his Wednesday experiences, said “I thought the [PSAT] was pretty easy, I’m a bit of a natural at test taking.” As for the health training following directly afterwards, he reflected “I thought the CPR training was informative and helped me learn what to do in an emergency.” 

The Florida legislature passed House Bill 157 (the bill which enabled health training) after a Jacksonville student suffered from cardiac arrest at a local gym. She was saved using CPR, and her father led the push which culminated in the passage of the new health training legislation.  

It is precisely for instances like these that Personal Fitness teacher and basketball coach Kohn supports the new training. “It is a good refresher. You never know that one time when you might be the only person in the room who knows how to do CPR.”

He later compared it to having car insurance: “You can be 15 learning this stuff, and then age 37 comes around and you save someone’s life. You hope you never need to use it, but it’s a good thing to know.”

The district policy is to teach ninth graders how to save lives, later providing a refresher course in eleventh grade. Issues occur when students take advantage of loose attendance guidelines on PSAT and SAT days.

“Yeah there were people slacking off, not paying attention and skipping,” said Cam Jorgensen. 

Hagerty hopes to solve the skipping problem by giving CPR training twice during students’ four years on campus. By having two opportunities to learn about health training, any given student has the ability to miss one session and still walk away from Hagerty having learned about CPR in the second. 

“To me, kids skipping is a matter of self accountability. Even if they only watch for seven minutes, maybe those seven minutes had an impact on them. Maybe those seven minutes are the difference between life and death,” Kohn said.

The hour-long course did seem to rub off on some students. Says Cam Jorgensen “I feel like if somebody were to go into cardiac arrest right in front of me then I would 100% be able to save their life. I would trust my peers to save me too.”