I wish to applaud the efforts of the Erie County Legislature to increase Erie County nurse staffing levels in the Buffalo Public Schools. I do not feel that the general public is aware of the inequity of health services provided in suburban schools and city schools.
Suburban schools have full-time nurses who dispense medication and monitor the health care needs of students. The majority of Buffalo schools have only part-time county nurse service. Our nurses check for up-to-date immunizations and do preventative screenings. Much of this involves extensive paperwork.
When the nurse is not present, sick children and students in need of medication are handled by untrained staff. Generally, medication is dispensed by administrators, teachers or teacher aides.
As principal of Community School 77, I have personally been responsible for administering nebulizer treatments, asthma inhaler treatments and diabetes blood tests and dispensing a variety of medications, yet I possess no special health care training.
We have record numbers of students with serious health problems, combined with insufficient health services. Buffalo students need the same nursing attention as suburban children. Many families who have no health insurance rely upon school nurses for guidance and assistance regarding their health care needs. It is encouraging to know that something is finally being done to increase in-school health services for our city children.
PHILIP L. FRIOT