BY JORGE BARRIENTOS, Californian staff writer firstname.lastname@example.org
The Kern High School District board on Monday will hear how certain lifesaving devices could be brought to its campuses for the first time.
The district does not have any Automatic External Defibrillators available at schools to use in case staff or students suffer sudden cardiac arrest. But a mother on a mission wants trustees and district officials to know that can change.
Corinne Ruiz, who lost her 14-year-old daughter, Olivia Hoff, to sudden cardiac arrest, will discuss laws related to AEDs in schools, policies districts could implement and responsibilities of schools.
The Californian highlighted Ruiz's mission first in August. After Olivia's death, it became Ruiz's goal to inform as many people as possible about silent heart syndromes affecting kids and also get the defibrillator -- devices that help increase chances of survival during sudden cardiac arrest -- in schools.
She started by handing out cardiac arrest awareness posters to schools. And in late August, Ruiz donated an AED to Rosedale Middle School, where Olivia once attended, becoming one of the first (and possibly the first) public schools in Kern to have one.
The state's two largest elementary and high school districts, respectively -- Bakersfield City School District and KHSD -- don't have any.
Since the Rosedale donation, she founded the Kern County chapter for the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Association. Recently she reached out to the Kern High School District, and it reached back. Trustee Ken Mettler asked her to meet, and district officials asked her for more information.
"They just gave me the green light," Ruiz said. "I was quite surprised."
Unlike 12 other states, California does not require AEDs in schools. One concern for schools: AEDs can cost up to $2,000 each.
District spokesman John Teves said Ruiz and the district are trying to achieve some of the same goals. Assistant Superintendent Joe Thompson said any action would first have to go through the board, but he is encouraged about the presentation.
The school board also on Monday will hear a proposal from Superintendent Don Carter on how to balance enrollment and attendance boundaries for Centennial, Frontier and Liberty high schools in northwest Bakersfield.
Frontier is over capacity by 280 students. Centennial has 379 slots open while Liberty has 345, according to district data.
Also, the school board will appoint a new director of the Kern High School District Education Foundation Board of Directors. Sheryl Barbich could take over for Louie Vega, who will be recognized for his 18 years of service.
The meeting will begin at 7 p.m. at 5801 Sundale Ave.