The other night I crunched my eyeglasses. Luckily for me, the little nurse I am blessed to live with, came to the rescue, and as she repaired the glasses, announced that she was something of a "glasses fixing expert", just one of many tasks that a school nurse becomes proficient in, as she cares for the kids and staff at her school.

Over the years I have heard many stories about my nurse's "wee widdle widdies" at Nizhoni Elementary, and later her older kids at Tse Bit ai Middle School. Sadly, I will no longer hear these stories as this nurse has recently resigned from Central Consolidated School District. That wouldn't be all that noteworthy in the big scheme of things, except for the fact that of the eight RNs that finished the 2012-2013 school year with CCSD, as of about three weeks ago, only one remains. It doesn't take an HR Specialist to realize something is terribly awry with this picture. There has been something of a mass exodus from CCSD of talented and caring staff recently, with the forced removal of the Career Prep principal being only the most obvious and glaring slight. These teachers, principals, nurses, etc., have all been replaced, but it takes time to become enmeshed in a school community, to gain the trust of the kids and parents, to show stability and commitment, to be something besides a revolving door. School nurses do much more than sit behind a desk looking cross and reviewing immunization records. They are a vital link in the health and well being of the school populace, helping to keep things humming along so that the professional educators can concentrate on their tasks.

Oftentimes, nurses are the first link for abused or neglected kids to receive the protection of a society previously unaware of their situation. The top administrators at CCSD can spin all sorts of gobbledygook about testing and statistics, but the really important stuff, the people stuff, the passion, love, and caring that a dedicated staff can give, they seem blissfully ignorant or oblivious to, and that is most unfortunate, a hidden tragedy for the families in the district.

Peter Emery