A Parent's Guide to School Safety Toolkit
2.8 Traumatic Injury Response Protocols
The need for bleeding control equipment and education has been highlighted by recent violent shootings, both in schools and in other public places. Bleeding control plays an essential role in life preservation in events ranging from a violent shooting to the much more commonplace shop class accident. Uncontrolled hemorrhage (bleeding) caused by traumatic injury is a leading cause of death for Americans under the age of 46 (Chambers, Seastedt, Krell, Caterson, Levy, Turner, 2019). The use of a tourniquet quickly after an event occurs will provide the largest positive impact possible in saving a life. A person who is heavily bleeding can die from blood loss in as little as five minutes. This means that it is critical that bystanders have the training to know how to take simple steps to quickly stop blood loss until medical personnel arrive.
Teaching students and school staff how to properly respond to a traumatic injury is equally important as teaching someone how to swim, respond to a fire, or perform CPR or the Heimlich maneuver. Bleeding control techniques can be used on oneself or on those around them. In some cases, adults may not be nearby, or they may be incapacitated.
Even young children, when they are taught what to do, can respond to emergencies and save lives. Tilly Smith, a 10-year-old British girl, is credited with saving 100 lives during the 2004 tsunami that hit the Indian Ocean. She warned people on the beach to leave for higher ground when she saw the water receding. She had learned about tsunamis in her geography class two weeks prior.
The law requires that school districts and open-enrollment charter schools develop a traumatic injury response protocol, and that they annually make that protocol available for school employees and volunteers. In addition to the protocol, bleeding control stations must be stored in easily accessible areas of the campus, and all school district personnel who might be expected to use it are properly trained and are current in their training. The law requires the school district or open-enrollment charter school to annually offer instruction on how to use the bleeding control station to students who are enrolled at the campus and are in grade 7 through 12.
CPR and AED Training
In 2023, the Texas legislature adopted additional mandates for school district and open enrollment charter school staff and students to respond to and train for traumatic injuries. In addition to required CPR training for students in grades 7 through 12, the law has been expanded to include the use of an automated external defibrillator (AED). All students in grades 7 through 12 must receive instruction in CPR and AED at least once before graduation.
Parents or guardians have the authority to immediately remove their child from an interscholastic athletic practice or competition if they believe their child has sustained a concussion during the practice or competition.
The Texas Education Agency (TEA) has a list of approved programs that school districts and open-enrollment charter schools may choose from which meet the requirements stated in the law. The list can be found on their website.
What Should My Child Know?
The skills for how to respond to traumatic injury can be used at home. For example, a family member falls on a glass table and requires action to stop hemorrhaging. Your child may use the skills at school, for example, on a peer who was harmed from a school attacker or shop class accident. If your child is in grade 7 through 12, speak with them about the purpose of this training and in having these life skills. If interested, speak with your child’s school district or open-enrollment charter school about when they are offering this training.