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THE ALGONQUIN HARBINGER

Teacher advocates for life-saving devices

Godbout strives to pass bill requiring AEDs

Social studies teacher Stephen Godbout with his wife, Barri Lynn, and two children, Benjamin and Jonathan. The Godbout family is directly impacted by heart conditions, which threaten the lives Senate Bill 2449 and AEDs have the potential to save.

Submitted Stephen Godbout

Social studies teacher Stephen Godbout with his wife, Barri Lynn, and two children, Benjamin and Jonathan. The Godbout family is directly impacted by heart conditions, which threaten the lives Senate Bill 2449 and AEDs have the potential to save.

Clarissa Wong, Copy Editor

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Social studies teacher Stephen Godbout has been working with family and friends for the past 16 months to pass Senate Bill 2449, a measure that will require every school in the Commonwealth to have an AED, as well as someone who is trained to use the AEDs properly.

AED, which stands for automatic external defibrillator, is a device that analyzes the heart’s rhythm for life-threatening cardiac conditions and treats them by delivering an electrical shock.

“In the last 15 months, the bill has moved further than it ever has,” Godbout said. “As of now, the bill is in the Ways and Means Committee and it is one step away from getting to the House for a vote. If it gets to the House, we are certain that we have the votes for it to pass and get to the governor’s desk.”

AEDs, on average, are $1000, but what is that compared to the cost of life?”

— Social Studies Teacher Stephen Godbout

Godbout is a strong advocate of the bill because his family has been directly impacted by heart conditions, and he believes the bill has the potential to save many lives.

“AEDs, on average, are $1000, but what is that compared to the cost of a life?” Godbout said. The AED is a life-saving device that can save students and adults with diagnosed or undiagnosed heart conditions. AEDs will save lives if it is in every school in the Commonwealth, and that’s the purpose of the legislation.”

Despite that there are AEDs on ARHS property, Godbout points out that any student who goes to another school may lack the same resources as Algonquin, and is still at high risk.

“We’re fortunate; we live in an affluent community and we have five AEDs on site [at Algonquin], but then again, any student athlete or band member could travel to another school without an AED on site, and that’s where the risk is at,” Godbout said. “It’s about making sure that every single school in the Commonwealth has an AED.”

Local charitable organizations have offered to donate money to help cover the cost of AEDs in each school. These foundations include the New England Patriots Charitable Foundation, The Boston Foundation, Inc., the Harvard Pilgrim Healthcare Foundation, as well as many others. With the help of these organizations, the financial burden for taxpayers will be minimal.

“It’s never really been about my family, but more for every kid in the Commonwealth,” Godbout said. “This bill will save lives. It’s not a question of if it will save lives, but how many lives it will save.”

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The official student news site of Algonquin Regional High School in Northborough, MA
Teacher advocates for life-saving devices