Thursday, January 6, 2011

CMS's Band-Aid solution -- literally

Kimberly Helms, a Northwest School of the Arts parent, posted an interesting comment on yesterday's story about budget cuts in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools. She noted that the school nurse had recently passed along a list of items she'd like parents to donate for the school health room: Kleenex, ginger ale, crackers, bottled water, cough drops, sanitary napkins, and hard candy for diabetic students.

"I nearly cried when I read it," Helms wrote. "It's a shame a school nurse can't even give a kid a tissue or a drink to comfort them."

School nurses have long turned to parents and other partners to stock the health rooms, says Maria Bonaiuto, school health director with the Mecklenburg Counth Health Department. Except for the sanitary napkins -- CMS recently stopped supplying those -- the wish list isn't related to budget cuts, she says.

In fact, Bonaiuto gives credit to CMS school health specialist Nancy Langenfeld and recently-retired Assistant Superintendent Barb Pellin for finding "a couple thousand dollars" in shrinking budgets to make sure the neediest schools have basic health supplies.

At some high-poverty schools that don't have PTAs raising money, "there were times when literally there was not a Band-Aid in the house," Bonaiuto said. Now there's a central supply of bandages, thermometers and other essentials. But yes, she says, nurses continue to ask for help supplying such things as soft drinks to settle stomachs and snacks to help a hungry student get through the day. (Bonaiuto isn't sure cough drops should be on the wish list -- if students can go to the nurse for a cough drop, "they'll come get it like candy.")

Bonaiuto notes that plenty of people are pitching in to make sure needy schools aren't shortchanged. Some strong PTAs team up to support a high-poverty school. Other schools have faith, business or community partners who help with extras for health rooms. And several parish nurses -- nurses hired by houses of worship to serve a community -- work with school nurses to make sure kids get what they need.

"Lots of people in this community reach out," Bonaiuto says. "It's nice."

I caught up with Helms (not related to me) by cell phone and filled her in on the various efforts to stock school health rooms. She was glad to hear there are no new cuts and glad to hear CMS is doing something to fill gaps. Her next stop? Going to the store for some ginger ale to send in with her daughter.


therestofthestory said...

As long as we keep "enabling" CMS just like a druggie, we will continue to have this spiraliing out of control mis-spending.

Anonymous said...

Please send Ms. Bonaiuto's comments along to the editorial board so they have another illustration of how CMS and the community at large (including wealthier schools) are supporting disadvantaged students. Restofthestory--I fail to see how providing minimum health supplies to school clinics (which I remember doing way back when I was in school elsewhere) is enabling CMS in anyway.

wiley coyote said...

Every school should be stocked with the basics for any health related issue that students may face.

These essentials should be paid for by the school district and NOT supplied by parents or any other group. If J&J decides it wants to donate a supply Band-aids to CMS, then great, otherwise, they should be budgeted with other items.

Like TROTS(therestofthestory, I am sick to death of hearing Gorman whine about having to cut the budget and laying offteachers yet do nothing about cutting the millions it spends on sports programs. I am sick to death that CMS does not DEMAND that the Governor of this state and our elected congressional delegates go to Washington and force Obama's USDA to seriously audit the FRL Program, weed out the fraud and redirect those savings to the classrooms.

Hard decisions have to be made, there is no question about it and Ann's headline to this story - "CMS's Band-Aid solution -- literally" needs to happen.

Gorman needs to take one side of the Band-aid, grab it and yank it off very quickly to minimize the pain. The problem is, he'll pull on it a little ta a time and make the pain much worse without helping the wound to heal.

Anonymous said...

I have been asking about the Sports for at least 7 years and am always looked at like I'm an idiot. Kay Mc. told me that whenever the subject comes up in Board meetings the person mentioning it gets the same look.

What is truly sad is that a school like NWSA is a magnificent magnet that will continue to lose population as CMS eliminates the ability to get there. I will still try to get my child there what the heck 10 miles to the shuttle or 17 to the school..... but it is sad when the recent accident occurred when a vehicle hit a student (wonderful kid) for jaywalking..... I blame CMS.... for he has no way to travel the crazy distance to the shuttle, but it is a reasonable walk to a CATS stop..... so good going CMS.... why not stop all busses and kids can walk 10 miles to school or take CATS..... or a limo or something..... BUT DON'T CUT A SPORT.... or skimp on artificial turf stadiums for all schools.... idiots.

Anonymous said...

My children have and continue to go to private school. We regularly are asked for items for the classroom including wipes, tissues and other heath related itesm. I see nothing wrong with parents who have children in CMS bringing these types of items to school. I just dont get it at times.

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