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Illinois High Schools to Teach Defibrillator Use

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Students in Illinois will now receive training on a potentially lifesaving device as part of their high school education. One superintendent says it’s the latest in a long line of unfunded mandates.

The new law passed by the legislature this spring requires schools to train all students in how to properly use automated external defibrillators or AED. Illinois Governor Pat Quinn says he will sign it into law. Schools are already required by law to have AEDs on hand.

But West Prairie District School Superintendent Jonathan Heerboth said what all these mandates are missing is funding.

“We are required to train our staff on them which we do," Heerboth said. "And now we are required to train students. All of which has a cost in time and money. And the legislature is never willing to face up to that. Somebody should just stand up and say we are not going to put one more thing on public schools until we figure out how we are going to pay for public schools.” 

West Prairie high schoolers will receive AED training as part of their health class either under a teacher or an American Red Cross instructor. Heerboth says the Illinois legislature has passed 69 unfunded mandates for public schools in the last four years.

Emily Boyer is a former reporter at Tri States Public Radio.