Student idea for mandatory, life-saving poster in school cafeterias inspires Dan Daley bill
Image via Coral Springs Talk.

Dan Daley
The posters provide instructions on how to respond to a choking victim.

The Democracy in Action contest not only served as Rep. Dan Daley’s catapult into a legislative career, it also resulted in a bill that could save lives.

The Sunrise Democrat has filed legislation Wednesday (HB 585) that would require posters in public school cafeterias with step-by-step instructions on how to save the life of a conscious choking victim.

The idea for the bill came from McArthur High School students in Hollywood who were part of the same contest, the Democracy in Action Initiative, that Daley entered when he was a student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

“By requiring emergency first aid instructions for choking in public-school cafeterias, this bill will ensure the health and safety of students in the event of an emergency,” Daley said.

The bill has drawn support.  Democratic Reps. Johanna López of Orange County and Rep. Katherine Waldron of Wellington are co-sponsors. So there’s a chance students might even get to see the bill come up for committee discussion on The Florida Channel.

There’s no telling whether the legislation will have the same impact on students who wrote it as Daley experienced in his own participating in the contest. Daley participated in the Democracy in Action contest in 2008, the same year he graduated. 

His idea wasn’t the winning one that made it to the Legislature. It did, however, introduce him to the Legislature.

“It taught me that there WAS a Florida Legislature,” Daley texted.

The Democracy in Action Initiative is designed to promote and support civic education by engaging Broward County students in real-world governing and decision-making.

Now a lawmaker representing northwestern Broward County since 2020, Daley has had a hand in funding Deerfield Beach’s senior center and passing legislation that required panic alarms in schools, among other items.

The Democracy in Action also introduced Daley to a lifelong mentor in Broward County Circuit Court Judge Ari Abraham Porth, who served as a Democratic Representative from 2004 to 2012 when Daley first tried his hand at lawmaking at MSD. Porth also had terms as the Democratic Whip and the Chairman of the Broward legislative delegation.

Now Daley has taken Porth’s spot organizing the competition and coordinating with teachers.

“I’m proud to continue this tradition,” Daley said.

Anne Geggis

Anne Geggis is a South Florida journalist who began her career in Vermont and has worked at the Sun-Sentinel, the Daytona Beach News-Journal and the Gainesville Sun covering government issues, health and education. She was a member of the Sun-Sentinel team that won the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for coverage of the Parkland high school shooting. You can reach her on Twitter @AnneBoca or by emailing [email protected].


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