Austin (KXAN) - - Texas high school students could be learning life saving techniques as part of their regular health class.
In a bill before the Texas legislature sponsored by Corpus Christi Sen. Juan Hinojosa (D), and his Texas House counterpart state Rep. John Zerwas (R), learning Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) and using automated external defibrillators (AEDs) would be a mandatory course to ensure graduation.
Jumping in to save the life of someone having a heart attack at a sporting event or elsewhere is probably the last thing on most high schoolers' minds. But given the chance, some KXAN talked to at McCallum High School in Austin say they would embrace a mandatory CPR course.
At 17, junior Caitlin Falk already took one for a babysitter's course.
"I thought it was kind of cool to learn CPR. It's very hands-on," she said, agreeing the benefits would outweigh the time the lessons would take, estimated by teachers and EMS professionals to be several hours, but much less than an entire semester.
The bill states CPR and training on portable automated external defibrillators be part of 'the essential knowledge and skills of the health curriculum' for all 7 to 12th graders in both public and private schools. It would start in the 2014-15 school year.
A new poll conducted for The American Heart Association finds 79% of Texans support mandatory high school CPR courses.
But is the average middle or high school student mature enough for this kind of hands-on training?
One Austin ISD health teacher said the CPR program will work if kids are shown how it'll affect them, say living with a grandparent with health problems.
"They may have a situation close to home that hits them and kind of wakes them up, so they say, ‘okay yeah, maybe I need to know this,'" said Nancy Honeycutt who teaches at McCallum High School.
The American Heart Association found nationally, EMS teams treat nearly 300,000 cases of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest. But by the time an ambulance arrives, often too many minutes have passed for resuscitation efforts to be effective.
The Association also noted there are currently six other states with laws that are considered similar to what is proposed in Texas. They are Alabama, Iowa, Minnesota, North Carolina, Tennessee and Vermont.
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