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Life-saving techniques may be a matter of course in N.J. high schools

A measure awaiting action by Gov. Chris Christie would require New Jersey high schools to make a life-saving instructional program part of their core curriculum.

The bill, which received overwhelming support in both houses of the Legislature, requires high school health classes to offer hands-on training in CPR and the use of a defibrillator.

Equipping students with that know-how can make a difference, said Assemblyman Angel Fuentes, D-Camden.

“We even had testimony where a 10th-grader was able to save a 40-year-old person within the community. She just collapsed, and everyone was taking pictures and calling 911,” he said. “Then this one sophomore just came out from nowhere and saved her life.”

A provision that would have required students to complete the training to graduate from high school was removed from the bill, said Assemblyman Pat Diegnan, chairman of the Assembly education committee.

“Because you know a terrific student may have taken the CPR training and not passed it,” said Diegnan, D-Middlesex. “So we didn’t want that to be an obstacle for graduation.”

Schools would be able to select a no-cost non-certification program to meet the training requirement.

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