Improve School Safety
LAUSD is denying our students the supports they need to succeed. LAUSD must provide them with more access to nurses, counselors, school psychologists, and more.
“I am a mother of three, and grandmother of three adopted grandsons. We live in South LA where one of my grandsons attends Carver Middle School, and two attend Harmony Elementary School. I have been fighting for years to get my children the resources they need at school. One child was diagnosed with ADHD and hyperactivity in third grade; another was diagnosed in kindergarten. I rely on the school’s nurse, social worker, and special education teachers to navigate the school system. Although it took over two years, they have helped to develop an Individualized Education Plan for my second-oldest grandson, and have supported both my boys through emotional and traumatic issues.
I worry about my children’s safety if they lose access to nurses and counselors at school. Last year, the school removed our social worker during a time when my children were dealing with traumatic events at school. I don’t know if she will be replaced. Now I am afraid the same will happen with the school nurse.”
Grandmother, Harmony Elementary School & Carver Middle School
Just the Facts
There is currently one nurse for every 1,224 LAUSD students, and nearly 40% of LAUSD schools have a nurse only one day per week. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends one nurse for every 750 students, and full-time nurses at all schools.1 All students must have access to a wide spectrum of support staff, such as nurses, counselors, school psychologists, and social workers. When schools lack adequate health and social services, vulnerable students, such as those with mental health challenges and learning disabilities, deal with an increased risk of declining academic performance and substance abuse.2 Every school should have a full-time nurse. Every secondary school should have a teacher-librarian. The district should guarantee a secondary student–counselor ratio of 500 to 1 at every school site. Schools should be able to hire full-time school psychologists, attendance counselors, and psychiatric social workers.
Moreover, in serving our most vulnerable students, LAUSD must agree to UTLA’s proposals to reduce special education caseloads for educators in order for students to get the attention they deserve. Special education classes should include no more than two consecutive grades, and special education students should have opportunities to engage with general education students, rather than the segregation that often characterizes their experience.
1 American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), “AAP Policy Statement Recommends Full Time Nurse in Every School.” 23 May 2016
2 Calogne, B.N., et. al., “Managed care and school-based health centers. Use of health services.” National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI). Jan. 1998;152(1):25-33