Crazy school kids insist on staying alive, Part I
February 22, 2004 -- Today the Boston Globe published a powerful letter from 10-year-old Anthony J. Delmonaco protesting the plan of Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney to cut the state's school-based health program, which would reportedly mean layoffs of hundreds of school nurses.
Mr. Delmonaco (see reprint below) explains how important his school nurse has been in helping him care for his asthma, which requires use of an inhaler before recess and when he "can't breathe." He also notes that his school nurse determined, after Delmonaco had broken his leg, that his cast was too tight--requiring a return to the hospital--and found through an eye test that his prescription glasses were inadequate for learning. Mr. Delmonaco explains that if his school nurse were gone, which would be the result of the Romney plan, he would be afraid to go to school.
This short letter conveys the importance of school nurses today, when students with increasingly serious health problems (including diabetes and a growing number of students with life-threatening food allergies) depend on school nurses for the dispensing of medication, health teaching, key immunizations, screenings and emergency interventions. For more information on why school nurses are critical to the health of our nation's children, especially the most vulnerable, see our write-up of a Baltimore Sun article on school nursing.
See "Crazy school kids insist on staying alive, Part II" for a positive editorial on school nurses in the February 24 Boston Globe.
I AM A 10-YEAR-OLD FOURTH GRADER AT BRYANTVILLE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL IN PEMBROKE. I DISAGREE WITH GOVERNOR MITT ROMNEY'S PROPOSAL FOR CUTTING THE SCHOOL-BASED HEALTH PROGRAM. WHAT THIS MEANS IS THAT I WILL NO LONGER HAVE A NURSE AT MY SCHOOL.
My school nurse means a lot to me, you see I have asthma. I see her every day to get my inhaler. She has taught me how to use my inhaler. I get two puffs before I go out to recess or when I can't breathe. Mrs. Regan is my nurse and my friend. When I broke my leg last year she said my cast was too tight and she told my mom I needed to go back to the hospital. We did and they cut my cast and my leg felt so much better. Just last month she tested my eyes and I didn't pass the eye test. Even though my glasses were only four-months-old, I wondered why it was so hard to see the blackboard.
Without my school nurse I will not want to go to school. I will be afraid of what will happen if I can't breathe, or ge! t hurt out at recess or get sick in school. I have friends who also need to go to the nurse. Some have diabetes, asthma, or get sick. So please contact your senators and tell them not to agree with this cutback.
ANTHONY J. DELMONACO
Originally published in the Boston Globe February 22, 2004. Reprint permission from the author and his mother Mary DelMonaco, who does not mind if you send notes of thanks to Anthony through her email address.