Target: Secretary of Pennsylvania Department of Health Michael Wolfe
Goal: Urge Pennsylvania health department to provide funding for vital school nurses
In Pennsylvania’s public schools, the state mandated ratio of nurses to students is one nurse for every 1,500 students. This percentage is more than twice the recommended limit set down by the National Association for School Nurses and has allowed unnecessary injuries and even death of students to occur as a result of schools being understaffed. Urge the Pennsylvania Department of Health Secretary Michael Wolfe to order funding for school nurses to help keep these children safe.
School nurses do much more than take temperatures and provide bandages for playground scrapes. They are responsible for keeping updated on students’ medical records, making sure that immunizations are recent, screening for diseases, and monitoring contagious illnesses amongst students. However, due to budget cuts, many public Pennsylvania schools only have one nurse for two days of the week. This is not enough time for a nurse to remain updated on the vital health information for students, let alone the fact that the school is unprotected for 60% of the week.
Students spend more than half of their waking hours at school and many are physically active during recess, sports, and gym classes. School nurses are the first line of defense against injury from these activities and yet they are being cut from Pennsylvania schools at an alarming rate. In 2011, there were 289 nurses spread across public, private, and parochial schools. Now there are only 179 left who are trying to do twice as much work in half the amount of time. Clearly this is not an equation for successfully protecting children entrusted to the school system.
Sign the petition below to urge Secretary Michael Wolfe to allocate funds for school nurses. Budget cuts are currently a necessary part of public school planning but it should not come at the cost of a child’s safety or even their life. Help Pennsylvania see the absolute need for a nurse to be on staff in school every day of the week.
Dear Mr. Wolfe,
It has recently come to my attention that the number of public school nurses in Pennsylvania schools has dropped drastically since 2011. More than 100 nurses have been let go since then, and the ones that remain are sometimes brought in for just two days per week. It is not right to leave children unprotected like this because of budget cuts. Please allocate funding for each public school to have a staffed nurse.
School nurses play a vital role in a student’s life. The nurse keeps track of medical records, screens for diseases, makes sure immunizations are up to date, and monitors contagious illnesses present in the student body. They are the first line of defense when an unexpected illness or injury strikes, and it is unfair to risk a student’s life by not having a nurse on hand every day of the week.
Please review the current budget and find some funding for the public school systems which are entrusted with a student’s wellbeing. Nurses are an absolutely necessary part of a school and should not be cut.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Image via www.chickensmoothie.com