Medill Newsmakers: Amid uptick in school shootings, Lurie Children’s Hospital creates initiative to keep students alive

Lurie Children's Hospital creates "Safety Day" workshops to teach students how to administer CPR and how to stop a bleed in case students need to intervene during a traumatic incident. (Kennedy Chase/ MEDILL)

By Kennedy Chase
Medill Reports

Lurie Children’s Hospital’s nurses, surgeons and doctors travel around Chicago teaching students the necessary skills they need to feel prepared against any potential trauma they might face inside and/or outside of school.



NARRATION: Welcome to Medill Newsmakers. I’m Kennedy Chase.

Let’s continue the conversation of gun violence but this time how the issue affects schools. Lurie Children’s Hospital is doing what they can by starting an initiative to decrease the number of gun-related deaths in schools here in the city of Chicago.

School shootings in the U.S. are more prevalent in this country now than ever. According to Everytown Research and Policy, as of May 2023, there have been at least 58 incidents of gunfire on school grounds, causing 21 deaths and 39 injuries nationally.

Because of these statistics, Lurie Children’s Hospital has started an initiative to help Chicago-area students help themselves in case someone gets shot in the classroom. The initiative is called “Safety Day.” The Safety Day workshop is taught by pediatric nurses and surgeons with a mission to inform and educate.

RASHMI KABRE: Really to get out as much information as possible to our young students, even faculty members, anyone in the community, to arm them with resources to prepare themselves against any potential trauma that may happen and feel like they have a little control in the situation. It’s hard to prevent anything. So really, our job is to give them the resources to be able to help others during situations like this.

NARRATION: The workshop includes teaching students how to administer CPR and how to stop a bleed.

PATTY ANQUINO: It’s a two-hour session, so we do Stop the Bleed and hands-only CPR. There is a lecture portion for each subject, and then we break out into groups and have hands-on sessions with equipment. So we bring legs. We bring all of the guards. We use the tourniquets mannequins, actually allow the children to have the hands-on experience so they can get the most learning

KABRE: The goal of Stop the Bleed is to try to decrease as much bleeding as possible before a patient gets to the hospital, and the people that will be best to be able to do that are people at the scene. And we thought it would be good to expand by helping to teach children CPR. They also get training in aid. I mean, these are skills that sometimes even adults don’t know how to do.

NARRATION: Starting as young as sixth grade, one of the Safety Day nurses tells me the students are very receptive to the workshop and eager to learn.

ANQUINO: They love it. They ask so many questions. And it’s amazing to see. We teach as young as sixth grade their goals and the questions that they have. You know, they’re very aware of the world.

NARRATION: The Safety Day workshops are free of charge. If you want Lurie Children’s Hospital to host a Safety Day workshop at your school or business, you can contact the pediatric trauma unit directly.

Now that we’ve learned about Lurie Children’s Hospital’s Safety Day mission and purpose, let’s see what it looks like when this initiative is applied at a school in Chicago Heights.

Located in the south suburbs of Chicago, Bloom High School participated in the Safety

Day workshop Lurie Children’s Hospital provides in March of this year. I spoke with Bloom High School Principal Dr. Jerry Anderson about how her students reacted to the workshop.

JERRY ANDERSON: My goodness, you should have seen them. They really were really paying close attention, practicing having people check it to be sure that they got it right. One was hands-only CPR and another one was called Stop the Bleed, which is really a way that you could stop — like if a student or any person had some kind of deep wound — how do you stop the bleeding?

NARRATION: The Bloom High School students who are a part of the STEM program and JROTC took advantage of this workshop and were eager to learn more than just the typical workshop information.

ANQUINO: Bloom High School was amazing. They incorporated it into their science and ROTC classes. So it was geared to very specific learning that they’re interested in and getting credit for. They had 75 students there, and they were amazing. They stayed and asked a lot of questions about our profession. And, you know, we had a range from nurses to paramedics to surgeons and emergency medicine doctors.

NARRATION: Dr. Anderson says these life-changing skills Lurie Children’s provides empowers students to feel more helpful on the scene.

ANDERSON: Well, you know, it’s our reality today. And I mean, as much as I hate to say that it’s our reality for this generation of young people to hear about someone their age, dying is not an unusual thing, you know, whether it’s in school or out of school. And that’s really unfortunate, but that’s the reality. And why not empower them?

NARRATION: From learning about the Safety Day mission and purpose to applying that mission in Chicago Heights, Lurie Children’s and Bloom High School are doing what they can to keep students alive. From Medill Newsmakers, I’m Kennedy Chase.


Kennedy Chase is a graduate student in the video and broadcast specialization. Connect with her on LinkedIn and Twitter.