MONTVILLE, NJ - Janet’s Law will go into effect on Sept. 1, necessitating the purchase of six additional automated external defibrillators (AEDs) for Montville Township schools. AEDs are placed on the chest of a victim of sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) and use an electric shock, if necessary, to restart the victim’s heart.
The Law, passed in 2012, is named after an 11-year-old New Jersey girl named Janet Zilinski, who died of an SCA while warming up at cheerleading practice. After her sudden death, her parents decided to start a fund “dedicated to preventing sudden cardiac death in New Jersey’s youth through awareness, legislation, AED placement and training,” according to the Fund’s website.
The Montville School District has had AED’s at each school for several years, and “minor changes” are all that are needed, according to Superintendent Paul Fried.
“We have to make sure that there is greater access to AEDs on the playing fields outside the schools," Fried said. "We’ll have some units that are on the doors closest to the playgrounds when the playgrounds are a distance from the school building. The idea is to get the AED and return to the patient within a certain time” to save their lives.
Fried stated that the District had consulted with several AED companies but is going to utilize the plan laid out by the District’s current AED provider since the District is satisfied with its units. The company provided the District with “a good overview of what we have and what was needed,” Fried said. Six additional AED units will be purchased “for different locations to give us more peace of mind,” Fried stated. The cost for the six units will be approximately $4,800, according to Fried.
Another facet of the Law is that each school must have five people who are trained in CPR and the use of an AED. Fried stated that some of the schools in the District already have the required five people, but for those that don’t, Cedar Hill Elementary School Nurse Bonnie DiCola will be conducting the training sessions.
Another new law which will affect the District is a recent bill signed into law on August 20 requiring high school seniors to pass a cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) course as part of their curriculum. Fried stated that the new CPR law affects entering freshmen.
“We have not yet discussed the placement of the teaching,” Fried said, “but it is likely that we would teach it in our health classes.”
New Jersey is one of three states in the country to implement such a law. The other two are Illinois and Oklahoma.
These two laws represent what is known as Unfunded Mandates. They are laws with which the District must comply but no additional funding is provided to the District from the State, currently or in the future.
"While any one particular mandate may have value, the volume and complexity of many unfunded mandates puts stress on a school district's personnel, resources and finances,” stated Board of Education President Dr. Karen Cortellino regarding the mandates.