Private school nurse bill raises concerns

week and was sent to the Senate floor with very little discussion or testimony.

The bill would allow parents to hire a private school nurse to sit alongside a student for the school day. Despite bill concerns, the Republican author and chair of the E-12 education committee would not allow opposing testimony, saying the bill had been fully vetted.

A private school nurse could be approved with a note from the student’s doctor. Education advocates question whether that requirement is stringent enough. Also, there was little discussion about who will pay for the cost of the private nurse. Private duty nurses can be paid anywhere from $16 to $29 per hour, depending on U.S. location. Some students may use private insurers to pay, but others might use medical assistance. One mother who testified said the school district was paying the costs.

There was also no definition of “private nurse” in the bill, a distinction that could affect hourly costs. There will be no more discussion on the bill because it was sent to the full Senate for passage. The Legislature should not be shutting down discussion on a bill and preventing citizens from voicing their opposition to legislative proposals, which is exactly what Senate Republicans have decided to do here. (SF 3551)