Childrearing

Your Kids Don’t Actually Need A Nurse At School, Do They?

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School nurseUnless you have a child with asthma, I guess then you could consider it a priority. Or maybe a serious allergy, that might prompt the need for an in-school nurse. And then I guess we could consider the rising rates of childhood obesity and diabetes. Those could be causes for additional health school in our schools, instead of less. This is all on top of the normal recess falls and flu viruses that keep school nurses busy all year long, of course.

I guess when you put it that way, school nurses might be more necessary than ever.

Which is why it’s troubling to note that with gutted education budgets, school districts all over the country of laying off school nurses left and right. As the wonderful ladies of Jezebel reported, “The school district in Cleveland, Ohio, laid off 55 percent of its school nurses last year, and now just 28 nurses care for 45,000 students.” Cleveland is not alone.

At the public early childhood program that my daughter will attend next year, she’ll share a nurse with two other larger schools. There were will be at least three days a week that the nurse won’t even make it in to my daughter’s school. Schools all over the country go days without a professional nurse in the building to help out when there are accidents or illnesses.

Unfortunately, kids don’t stop getting sick when the timing becomes inconvenient. They don’t stop needing medicine or taking tumbles on the playground. Instead, those health issues will go on, they’ll just be handled by someone like the school secretary. I’m sure she hasn’t seen her support or help cut back due to budget cuts. And now she’ll be asked to handle even more, getting medicine or calling parents when the nurse isn’t available.

There are a lot of budget issues to discuss. I realize that states are dealing with decreased revenue because of the recession just like everyone else. But our children’s health shouldn’t be at risk. Our schools should get the professional support that they need. School nurses shouldn’t be stretched so thin that they barely have time to help their students. Health issues in schools won’t wait for budgets to rebound.

(Photo: Resources Delivered)