Parties on each side of the debate on a bill that would require schools to teach CPR and make it a graduation requirement will have more time to compromise following Monday’s Senate Health and Human Services committee meeting.
Committee chair Sen. Jean Hunhoff said “there is an interest” in Senate Bill 145, but the issues presented by both sides need resolution first.
“The upside of this bill so much greater than the downside,” South Dakota State Medical Association Lobbyist Dean Krogman said.
Proponents of the bill contended teaching the technique in schools would be a valuable life skill for students and could help save a life.
Sen. Tim Rave, the bill’s sponsor, also noted teaching CPR in schools is not a “foreign concept,” as the Aberdeen, Mitchell, Sioux Falls and Watertown school districts, among others, already have or are currently implementing curriculum for CPR instruction.
South Dakota Secretary of Education Melody Schopp agreed with the merits of CPR instruction, but said requiring it for graduation was “one step” to far.
“There’s some problematic things (in the bill,” Secretary Schopp said. “I want you to think very carefully about making this graduation requirement.”
Secretary Schopp said it would be difficult to track students completing CPR requirement for graduation based on the current language in the bill. Other bill opponents said the bill puts another initiative on the already full plate of schools, and an unfunded initiative at that.
“We should fund it,” Sen. Jim Bradford said. “We should not hand (funding responsibility) down…to these schools.”
The bill is scheduled to return to the committee’s agenda on Wednesday, Feb. 19. ASBSD is monitoring the bill.