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SDUSD may place student health and safety at risk for 2011-2012

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Who is looking after your child's emergency health needs at school?  Who is looking after their daily health needs at school?   San Diego Unified School District is proposing cuts that will endanger the health and safety of our students. Many parents are unaware that there may be limited or no credentialed school nurse in their child’s school in 2011-2012.  It will not matter how great a child’s education is, or how effective a school prepares students for the future, if the future of even one student is threatened by healthcare provided by unqualified school staff.

Many of the health challenges facing school aged students today are different from those of past decades General education classrooms in California have students with serious health care needs including gastrostomy feeding tubes, intravenous medication lines and ports, ventilators, tracheal suctioning and monitoring for seizures.  California’s public schools have students with asthma, students who need emergency injections, and nearly half have students who need blood glucose monitoring.  Asthma has become a leading cause of school absences and hospitalizations in the school aged child. 

The health of a child can be compromised within seconds and there is no substitute to having a credentialed school nurse at a school to handle life threatening situations. Credentialed school nurses prevent acute and chronic health conditions from escalating.  This prevents needless use of Emergency Medical Service and increased costs to a failing state budget.

The credentialed school nurse, with specialized medical education, academic preparation and professional skill, is a school staff member specifically qualified to strengthen the educational process through improvement of the health status of students.  It is critical to support school nurse staffing so that students can be in school, healthy, ready and able to learn. 

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommendation for a safe nurse to student ratio is 1:750 in general education populations and 1:100 in special needs populations.  The cuts proposed by the San Diego Unified School District will result in a nurse to student ratio of 1:3300.   

Below is key information illustrating the need for the recommended ratios:

·    One in four California children has a chronic medical condition

·    One in six children (1.6 million) in California has been diagnosed with asthma

·    11% of California’s school-age children who have been diagnosed with asthma (134,000) miss five or more days of school per year due to asthma

·    One in six California children were uninsured in 2009, with even higher rates of uninsured in  San Diego

·    The San Diego County Health Department identifies the Central Region as having the highest rate of health issues. San Diego Unified School District is the only district serving this region.

·    The American Federation of Teachers adopted a resolution calling for a fulltime school nurse in every school building in July, 2002

·    The California State PTA adopted a 2005 resolution “Credentialed School Nurses” which encourages school districts, legislators, and public health agencies to work together to secure funding to ensure that the services of a credentialed school nurse are available to each school

·    The National Association of Elementary School Principals advocates for a school nurse in every school.

California is in financial crisis, and so are many schools.  Cutting positions that prevent students from having a school nurse to ensure their health and safety is a dangerous decision. Research shows a direct correlation between student health and academic success.  In addition to safeguarding the health and safety of California students, investments in school nursing pay off financially  through reduced absenteeism, controlled liability risk, and increased revenue via billing the Medi-Cal Program for health/nursing services.

Credentialed school nurses are critical to ensure that San Diego Unified School District students are in school, healthy, ready and able to learn.

Your signature on this petition urges the San Diego Unified School Board to support student health and safety by aligning with the national guidelines for nurse to student ratios.  Please forward to as many of your family, friends and professional colleagues as possible.  Consider sending a personal letter to the editor and/or to your School Board Member.


Link to SDUSD Board members:




We are a group of concerned individuals asking San Diego Unified School District to support the health and educational success of children and youth by advocating for safe and appropriate school nurse staffing ratios for the 2011-2012 school year and beyond.


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