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Keep the Health & Safety of our Children First. Do NOT Elimate the Jr./Sr. HS 2nd School Nurse Position.

This petition made change with 140 supporters!

Currently Southbridge has two seperate school nurses for the Jr. High & Senior High. Next year the new school building opens and these two schools will be connected.

The Southbridge School Committe is currently considering cutting the second school nurse position leaving one nurse in charge of ALL seven grades.

The federal guidelines call for 1 school nurse for every 750 students. The new school will hold approximately 1000 students.

"If you were to compare a school nurse from 40 years ago, she was someone who usually waited for a student who needed a Band-Aid," said Nancy Spradling, executive director of the California School Nurses Association. That is not the case now with so many childhood ailments plaguing our children.

As a mother of an asthmatic child I want to know that if my child or any other child is in need of medical assistance there will always be a school nurse to aide him immediately.

It is estimated that between 10-12% of all children have asthma. This would mean that in the new jr./sr. high school there will be approximately 100-120 asthmatic children. I would even go as far as guessing this estimate here in Southbridge may be slightly higher.

Asthma attacks can happen at any moment & require prompt & immediate attention & treatment. Only a trained medical professional can judge the severity of the child's condition and administer life saving medicine.

Many times throughout the year my son will require daily breathing treatments during school hours to treat his asthma. There have been days I have walked into the nurses office to pick up my child who was ill and all nebulizer treatment stations were occupied by fellow classmates.This was in a school of about 400 students. The new school will host 2.5 times that.

Asthma is just one concern...

4% of all children under the age of 18 have food allergies. The new school may have up to 40 children that suffer from very dangerous & possibly life threatening food allergies.

It is estimated that 5.6% of all children require medication to be administered during the school day. This would mean that one school nurse would possibly be in charge of administering a minimum of 56 individual doses of medication per school day. This could potentially raise the risk of misadministration.

With that said, there is still a long list of unmentioned ailments that children suffer from such as diabetes and epilepsy.

Medical emergencies and injuries are frequent occurences.

Daily sicknesses are plentiful and require attention.

Let's also add in the yearly eye/ear exams, the physicals and the daily paperwork for each child interaction.

The school committee is already aware that the workload would be too much for one person. They are currently considering also having a fulltime CNA. This still leaves me uneasy. CNAs are to directly work under a licensed nurse, which would be the case here but they are not certified to dispense medication and are not qualified to make any medical decisions themselves. They can gather information about the student/patient but must report all information back to the nurse who will then assess the medical condition of the child. If there was two medical emergencies or two children in need of assistance, the nurse would have to choose which child to attend to first, leaving the second child, depending on their medical need, without proper medical attention.

The town currently has two seperate nurses at the two schools to handle the current Jr. High & Senior High student population. I am asking that these positions remain in place at the new combined school.

Some may argue that other schools ignore the 1:750 ratio. I do not beleive that because others have made that questionable choice, it makes it right. The federal guideline is in place for a reason and I do not beleive it is to be ignored. I want what is best for our children and so should you. Gambling with our children is not an acceptable action.

Traffic lights are usually installed after an accident has occured. Let's not use that same mentality when dealing with the lives of our children.

The health and safety our children should always remain our top priority. Please sign and join me in persuading our current school committee to meet the federal guideline, and by doing so, ensure our children the safe enviroment they deserve.


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