A bill that requires schools districts to notify parents when a school nurse will be on campus wins unanimous approval with the Senate Committee on Education.
The bill is being carried by Sen. Rodney Ellis, D-Houston, and requires schools to post online for parents the days and times a nurse is available. Currently the average ratio of nurses to student is 1 to 861.
Patti Quincy with the Texas Chapter of the American Federation of Teachers testified in favor of the bill.
"Often times at the open house or at the PTA the nurse is introduced and the people assume the nurse is there full-time, but it’s rarely, if ever, said that the nurse is here for 2 to 3 days at a time. Another big issue is with diabetics; there is a parent in here who testifies that they need know the nurse’s specific schedule to give insulin because if she is not available she has to take time off from work to do that," Quincy said.
Not everyone in the Senate hearing agreed with the idea of posting a school nurse’s schedule. Maria Whitsett with the Texas School Alliance said this measure will paint school districts in a negative light.
"We have a problem with limited resources and district do the very best that they can to staff their schools fully and appropriately. And the issue comes across as though districts are willfully choosing to not staff their schools and they are doing something wrong," Whitsett said.
The measure passed from the Senate Committee on Education with a unanimous vote and now heads to the Senate floor for a debate.