ORANGE PARK, Fla. -- A lesson in CPR turned into a lesson on race relations at a local elementary school.
A Clay County mom said she's upset about the dolls the students were given to practice with.
Kimberly Thompson said her daughter got a brown-toned mannequin at school recently for a CPR training class. She said the mannequin itself is fine, but the color is not.
Thompson's 10-year-old daughter is a 5th grader at Plantation Oaks Elementary School.
"I think the CPR program is excellent," she said.
Thompson said how the training mannequins were issued raised an eyebrow.
"If you were white, you got a white mannequin. If you were black, you got a black mannequin," she explained. "and if you were in question or if you looked like you could be mixed, you got a black doll."
Thompson's daughter is bi-racial.
"They harassed her all day at school," Thompson said, speaking about other students. "Said 'why didn't you tell us that you were really black.' Made fun of her doll."
Thompson works as a nurse.
"You don't get to pick the victim that you're going to work on, so why are we racially selecting mannequins?" she asked.
Thompson said she would like changes, namely to the mannequins used in the training program.
"I think they should all be one color," she said. "I think they should all be blue orange, green. I just think that it should be neutral."
Clay County school board spokesperson, Darlene Mahla tells First Coast News only after parents signed consent forms did the American Heart Association come to the school and pass the mannequins out.
Neither teachers nor the school decided who got what mannequin. The district has a zero tolerance bully policy and said no adult saw the child being teased nor did she tell an adult about being teased.
Mahla said the district has done the CPS program for a few years with no complaints. The board apologizes if Thompson was offended, but feels they did nothing wrong.
Metro Jacksonville's American Heart Association Vice President, Rebecca White issued this statement Thursday afternoon:
"We offer a light skin tone and brown skin tone version to our CPR Anytime kits. Volunteers and consumers have told us they prefer to learn CPR on mannequins that reflect their populations. Based on this understanding, our American Heart Association staff distributed the mannequins to students. No students objected to the mannequins they received for training, or asked American Heart Association staff for a different mannequin. We want to make sure an important point of this story is not lost. This student took the time to learn a life-saving skill they will be able to carry forward the rest of their life. More than 350,000 out-of-hospital sudden cardiac arrests happen in the U.S. each year. But only 40 percent of those people receive CPR from a bystander. Now this student, and her classmates, are prepared to act in an emergency, and potentially save a life."
The American Heart Association website has more information about the CPR Anytime Kits.
First Coast News