D'IBERVILLE, MS (WLOX) - A Harrison County school isn't waiting to learn the fate of a House bill that would add life-saving lessons to the high school curriculum. That bill would require basic CPR training and the proper use of Automated External Defibrillators (AED) for physical education students in grades 9-12. On Monday, D'Iberville High launched its own CPR training program.
"Heart-Saver First Aid" is now part of the curriculum at D'Iberville High School. The topics will touch on small cuts and bruises to traumas, like heart attacks. For freshman Olivia Nelson, the scenario brought back memories of the day she witnessed her grandmother suffering a stroke.
"It was hard. It was scary. I didn't know what to do," Olivia said.
With help from AMR and the D'Iberville Fire Department, every student who takes the Health class at D'Iberville High will learn how to perform CPR and how to properly use an AED. That means, about 1,200 students at the school will eventually go through the same training.
"Because it's the moms and dads that may need the treatment, and who's going to be there? The children. Yeah, it's really important that the children learn as young as possible," said Don Gipson, AMR Paramedic Field Trainer.
School administrators said they started the program to support the American Heart Association. The organization is trying to urge state lawmakers to pass a House bill that would require CPR training before students graduate.
Another reason had to do with a scare on the football field. Last October, Ocean Springs football player Tyler Free collapsed during a game against D'Iberville. An assistant coach at D'Iberville High performed CPR on Tyler and helped revive him.
"It could be me. It could be you. It could have been anyone of our teachers. It could be another child. If something like this happens, the more people who are educated, the better chance we have of saving that person's life," said Josh Ladner, D'Iberville High Health Teacher.
Students who complete the three-day program will receive a certificate of completion. If they choose, they can be CPR-certified by passing a written exam and a proficiency test.