The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Chicago Public Schools Guts Nursing for Kids

Mar 18, 2019

Chicago Public Schools employs just 300 nurses for 500 schools – not even a nurse for every building. And the school system has been laying off nurses, instead of hiring. They fill in the gaps using a privatized, for-profit staffing agency.

This private contractor treats nurses as replaceable parts in a machine designed to suck money out of the school system, not provide care. So they shuffle nurses all over the system, as if their human relationships with students didn’t matter. One nurse reported she had worked at 39 different schools!

There are at least 700 CPS students who have chronic conditions requiring ongoing, daily care. For instance, a student with diabetes at Pickard Elementary needs her blood sugar checked three times a day, and needs to receive insulin to stay alive. Nine different nurses worked at the school over a three month period. And there were days when no nurse showed.

A student with a severe condition at Drummond Elementary needs to be relieved with a catheter three times a day. But he is not cared for by a dedicated school nurse. The young man was in the care of four different nurses and several substitutes. Sometimes there were three different nurses in a single day. And on several occasions, when no nurse showed up for the day, his parents found their son with his pants soaked in urine. On top of being mortifying for the student, this can lead to permanent kidney damage.

It is outrageous enough that adults have to endure the indignities of a profit-driven health system. To put children in a system that subjects them to trauma instead of care is nothing short of negligence.