A few weeks ago we asked the question of whether the Park City School District was on the wrong side of history related to its handling of full time nurses at schools. We pointed out that the district was found to be violating student civil rights by the US Department of Education because children with Type 1 Diabetes were treated differently from other students. We pointed out that children have allegedly have come close to death because of lack of nurses. We showed a picture of elementary school students holding a bake sale in order to donate money toward full time nurses.
Today I had the chance to visit with Park City School District School Board member Julie Eihausen. Ms. Eihausen felt it was important that the public understand that the school board has been looking at this issue, takes student health very seriously, and are conducting an audit of the processes and procedures related to making sure students with disabilities are being treated equally.
One of the key issues we highlighted was that it wasn’t “optional” for our schools to provide health care professionals to meet the needs of diabetic students. We believe that our students’ needs are best met by having a full-time nursing staff at each school, with processes in place that ensure that there is always a nurse available for those students needing help, whether that is at school, on field trips, or at school events.
According to Ms Eihausen, the board completely agrees that personnel must be available to meet the requirements but they want to better understand the options available to our district. She stated that we have many needs, including areas such as mental health, and that the district wants to find the most effective way of meeting as many needs as possible. Ms Eihausen provided the example of the Wasatch School District, who, according to Ms. Eihausen, only has one nurse on staff for the district. She stated that the board wanted to better understand what they were doing (and other districts), so that our district could do what was in the best interest of all of our students.
We inquired about a time frame for a decision on how to ensure our students’ needs were met. Ms Eihausen said that budget talks for the upcoming year were concluding but that if the results of their upcoming audit called for more employees, they could adjust the budget to pay for additional personnel.
So, we are in a little bit of a holding pattern on this issue. Ms. Eihausen thought the results of the audit would be available before the upcoming school year begins. We’ll continue to follow the issue and report on that audit and any steps the district is taking.