Youth Parliamentarians from Wonthaggi Secondary College have successfully passed a Bill through the Legislative Council, proposing to train high school students in first aid.
Their Bill, known as Mandatory First Aid Training for Secondary School Students Bill 2017, requires Victorian secondary schools to supply Level 2 First Aid training to all students in years 9 and 10.
The Hon. Britney Ames believes that knowledge of first aid is vital, particularly among teenagers.
“We are forever hearing about young teenagers getting drunk and doing stupid things, resulting in them getting badly hurt or, even worse, dying,” said Ms Ames. “A well-needed skill in this day and age for people affected by drugs and alcohol is first aid.
“It’s ridiculous that these highly important skills aren’t already being taught.”
The Opposition agreed with the intentions of the Bill but argued against the initial plan to implement the program at year 9, describing it as a “socially difficult” year for students.
However, The Hon. Jack Mendes, a member of the Wonthaggi team, disagrees.
“Year 9 is proven to be the best year to learn new things,” said Mr Mendes. “We believe [first aid] is such an important skill that [students] should learn it as early on as possible.”
The Opposition stated that the program could “put unnecessary stress” on students, and questioned the maturity of year 9 students and whether or not they could “handle first aid training”.
“Just because someone isn’t mature enough, doesn’t mean we don’t teach them,” said Youth Premier the Hon. Saxon Taylor-Le Page.
“We ask that the Opposition ‘first-aid’ themselves by opening their eyes to the value of learning first aid,” said The Hon. Matthew Fletcher.
Before passing through the Youth Parliament of Victoria, the Bill was amended to administer the first aid training program at year 10, as well as year 9. However, the team from Wonthaggi disagreed with the changes.
“I believe it should only run in one year,” said Mr Mendes. “They’d just be doing the same program two years in a row, which is a waste of time and money from the government.”
Despite not being entirely convinced by the amendment, the team agreed that there was no harm in implementing it at year 10.
“There’s no downside I guess,” said Ms Ames. “[The students] will just learn more.”
“I personally don’t agree with the amendment but it’s for the best for the Bill,” said Mr Mendes.
The team’s Bill has been passed onto the Minister for Families, Children and Youth Affairs, the Hon. Jenny Mikakos, for consideration.