A Parent’s Right to Know
Photo by Allison Shelley for EDUimages
School nurses are a critical component of a public school campus and provide important health care, including the administration of prescription medicine to students, often in emergency situations.
Some school nurses have actually saved a child’s life.
Parents tend to assume that every school campus has a full-time nurse on the premises, but this is true in only a small percentage of Texas public schools. And nothing in Texas law requires a school to tell parents — thanks to Gov. Greg Abbott.
Senate Bill 196 Sent to the Governor
SB 196, which required parental notification of the lack of full-time school nurse, counselor, or librarian staffing, was passed by the 85th Texas Legislature. The bill has been a priority of the Texas AFT School Nurse Task Force for more than a dozen years.
Gov. Greg Abbott Vetoes SB 196
In his veto of the bill, the governor said, “Our public schools should be focused on educating students in the classroom. Senate Bill 196 detracts from that focus and imposes a needless regulatory mandate on schools,” even though all that was required was a simple website posting.
Texas Declares Statewide Emergency for COVID-19 Pandemic
Since the start of the pandemic in 2020, Abbott has consistently emphasized the importance of “parental rights” in public schools. But what about a parent’s right to know that their student will be cared for at school?
During the COVID-19 pandemic, our neighborhood schools have played essential roles in feeding our communities and maintaining their health and safety, as well as serving the mental and emotional health of our students.
Surely we see more clearly than ever before how crucial it is for parents to know whether their child’s school has a nurse present. Knowing whether a school has life-saving personnel on campus is not a “needless” mandate but an essential piece of information for worried parents.
Parents should have the right to know whether or not their child’s school has an on-duty school nurse and this can be done by a free, simple website posting.
Increase the basic allotment, which would provide school nurses with a raise to attract and retain them in a competitive job market.
The legislature must work to pass a nurse notification bill and put pressure on Abbott to prioritize the safety of children and the rights of parents to know whether their child’s school has an on-duty school nurse.