Letters to the Editor - June 13

June 13, 2012

Commissioners’ decision demeans kids, nurses

To the editor:

I’m writing as the parent of two children in our county school system, concerning our County Commissioners recent decision to cut the school nurse budget entirely. One of my daughters has Type 1 diabetes and must regularly monitor her blood sugar and inject insulin to stay healthy and avoid life-threatening, long-term complications. If she does not keep her blood sugar under tight control, she can go into a coma now that requires immediate medical attention. Later in life, she could face complications that leave her blind, with her major organs damaged beyond repair and/or suffer painful nerve damage that might require amputation of her limbs. With proper support and encouragement, this doesn’t have to happen. She can continue to live a long, productive life and grow from the delightful, creative person she is today — a lively 13-year-old girl on the cusp of life who loves soccer, poetry, reading and school.  

I am completely outraged that our commissioners have eliminated funding for our school nurses from the county health department’s budget, prompting the recently noted layoff notices sent to all the nursing staff. Making sure that our children stay safe and healthy has to be one of our top priorities, and I can’t believe the commissioners have decided through their budget decision that it’s optional. As I’m sure the commissioners realize, it’s actually not legally optional. Federal protections place clear obligations on the public schools to ensure that children with medical conditions have the same opportunities as their more fortunate classmates. So far, our experience with the nursing staff at Boonsboro Middle School has been exemplary.

By stripping the budget for our school nurses, the commissioners have managed to convey to the public that they don’t care about my daughter’s health, or the health of many other even more vulnerable children in our county. Our children’s health and their dedicated nurses should not be a bargaining chip in budget battles. The commissioners should not be using the nursing budget cut for what I can only assume is an attempt to burnish very dubious anti-tax, anti-public employee credentials. This demeans our kids and their nurses. This budget decision is simply unconscionable and the commissioners should be ashamed of themselves.

Heidi Welsh

Parents of school children should vote out commissioners

To the editor:

Are the Washington County Commissioners completely crazy? All we have read about lately is how they are ready to step up and dump their share of money into a new stadium in downtown Hagerstown. Now, in Saturday’s paper (June 9), the leading story is that the county health department is laying off 76 nurses from the school system because the commissioners find it necessary to cut $3.3 million in health department funding.

So let’s see if I have this right, the commissioners are telling the school children of Washington County, they can’t have a school nurse anymore because we have to build a new stadium in Hagerstown. I can’t believe they would take away something the school children need just to build a stadium that better than half the people in the county don’t want. These are the children of the people paying taxes and voting in Washington County.

I would suggest an old-fashioned tar and feathering, but the price of tar would mean more cuts. I sure hope the parents of these children all show up when it comes time to vote these people out.

Larry Naugle
Falling Waters, W.Va.

Commissioners did county students’ parents an injustice

To the editor:

I am at a loss as to what our County Commissioners were thinking when they decided to cut more than $3 million to the Washington County Board of Education nursing program for our kids who attend public school. They say this money was cut to pay our teachers’ pensions.

Pensions — what are those? It seems anybody not working in the government has very little shot at seeing a pension. I am not against teachers, as most work hard, but there has to be a better decision with other options. Cut funding in other areas or something. 

Not according to the County Commissioners. Let’s fire nurses to pay pension funds — nurses and CNAs (certified nursing assistants) who take care of the children in this county.

My son is a Type 1 diabetic in kindergarten and had a wonderful CNA who checked his blood sugar regularly to stop an incurable disease from further breaking down his body. So what now? As parents, do my wife or I quit a job so we can run to school every two hours for a two-minute finger prick and insulin check?

How do we survive? What about kids with allergies, asthma, bad cuts, broken bones, etc.? Who is going to take care of these injuries on site and monitor medicines? Not the teachers. They don’t want the responsibility, and frankly who could blame them? That is what nurses are for.

The County Commissioners did all Washington County parents an injustice by cutting this program. I already know our local school’s CNA has been let go. The BOE will tell you they will work something out. Wait until lawsuits come the BOE’s way when a child’s blood transmits a disease to another child because no one on site was there to handle the situation properly.

County Commissioners, I beg you to figure out a way to fund this important program. I love baseball, but that new stadium can wait if our kids’ health is at risk. All parents should write and call the commissioners and the BOE to prompt a change.

Mark Barnhart

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