Archive for July, 2011
Peg Myers (l.), a CTA Service Center Council Chair, and CTA Board Member Toby Boyd work on updating plans for mobilizing the thousands of CTA members and other education supporters who live in their geographic areas.
Their work came during a special training for Service Center Council Chairs held on July 21 during the CTA President’s Conference in Monterey.
The Chairs are working to enhance their members’ rapid responses to calls for action on legislation and to firm up their relationships with legislators and legislative staff members in district offices.
The training came at the request of Gerald Gandolfo, who is “chair of chairs” – leader of the group of CTA’s Service Center Councils that represent educators in every region in the state.
(At right in photo) CTA Pres. Dean Vogel relays questions from the audience of more than 600 teachers to Gov. Jerry Brown during his presentation at the CTA President’s Conference at the Asilomar Conference Grounds in Pacific Grove.
The governor was greeted by a standing ovation and received thunderous applause for his declaration that California needs more, not less education and the funding to support it.
In response to a question from the daughter of an attendee about how field trips might be reinstated, the governor reiterated the importance of unding and he jokingly invited her to take a field trip to Sacramento where ne would find a lot of “interesting critters.”
Education begins with a teacher and student in the classroom. If you get rid of teachers, the result is larger classes and less focus and support for each student.
At a news conference on Wednesday a half hour after a teacher-school employee- nurse coalition’s event, Assembly Member Linda Halderman (at left in photo) and Sen. Bob Huff (at lectern)– coauthors of CTA-opposed SB 161 – assert that the measure is vital.
Sen. Huff said that the authors were concerned with children, while CTA and other unions were interested only in protecting adults in the school system.
Dr. Halderman, who was a surgeon in private practice in the Fresno area, said the administration of Diastat would save lives and prevent damage to students.
Other SB 161 proponents argued that the medication is “easy” to administer. CTA representatives countered that it would be easy for someone who, like Assembly Member Halderman, had more than eight years of medical school and a surgical residency.
Teachers, Nurses, Parents Battle SB 161 – “Diastat” Bill Would Harm Students, Educators, and Schools
(SACRAMENTO, Calif.) 6 July 2011 – A coalition of teachers, nurses, other school employees, and parents warned the public and lawmakers that a measure by Sen. Bob Huff threatens to do harm to the very students it seeks to help.
Flanked by parents, nurses, and school employees, Harry Keiley (at lectern), president of the Santa Monica Malibu Classroom Teachers Association, warns that CTA-opposed SB 161 (Huff) violates the cardinal rule of medicine by threatening to do harm to the students with seizures it aims to help. Behind Keiley is an instruction chart from the Federal Drug Administration website that shows how complicated the procedure of administering the drug is – particularly to a student in the throes of a seizure in a crowded classroom.
At a Capitol news conference Wednesday morning, Harry Keiley, president of the Santa Monica Malibu Classroom Teachers Association, cautioned that Sen. Huff’s SB 161 would violate the basic element of the physicians’ Hippocratic oath “to do no harm.” The measure would require “volunteer” school employees to administer a form of valium – “Diastat” – rectally to a seizing student during class time or during transportation to and from school on district buses.
“It would lead to teachers, school bus drivers, and other ‘volunteers’ administering a dangerous drug through students’ rectal cavities during class time or travel time….SB 161 could do great physical harm to the student, up to and including death,” Keiley told television and radio reporters covering the news event.
“SB 161 could also do harm to the educator and the school district by subjecting them to legal liability if something should go wrong. SB 161 could harm other students by traumatizing them by having to witness the procedure in their classroom. SB 161 would allow educators and school employees to do a medical procedure that California law bars even trained firefighters and Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTS) from doing,” Keiley pointed out.
Keiley stressed that the bill is the wrong “prescription” for the real malady affecting schools – a critical shortage of funding that has forced layoffs of more than 18,000 employees, including school nurses trained and fully capable of administering the drug safely.
SB 161 was scheduled for a hearing before the Assembly Education Committee Wednesday afternoon.
Erin Niemela, a Davis parent of a child with a seizure disorder, said the bill’s provisions to let non-medical personnel administer the drug would put her child at risk and not make her daughter safer.
Carolyn Richie, a Compton Unified classified school employee, revealed that her nephew is prescribed to take Diastat for his seizures, but she would be reticent to administer the drug herself even in the safety of her home. “I can’t imagine administering this medication in a busy school environment, publicly exposing his private parts in front of numerous other children and adults.”
“The California School Nurses Organization believes correctly assessing a student in the throes of a seizure, correctly administering rectal medication and monitoring the student after the medication is given are skills for which only licensed nurses are prepared,” said Mary Ann Delleney, a registered nurse and coordinator of health programs for the Folsom Cordova Unified School District. “There are only a small number of students with seizures who require emergency medication at school, and they need nurses to care for them.”
School employees stressed that the bill’s provisions that claim it would apply only to “volunteers” are naïve or deceiving. They noted that districts can pressure employees – especially new teachers and educational support professionals who do not have “tenure” protections – to perform the procedure, even if they feel they are not qualified to do so.
Sen. Bob Huff is pressing the Assembly Education Committee to pass on Wednesday a CTA-opposed bill that would have teachers and other school personnel play the role of nurses in a medical situation that could harm the student “patient” and put the educator and school district at risk of losing desperately needed funds in a liability hearing should anything go wrong.
Specifically, Huff’s SB 161 would allow educator “volunteers” to administer Diastat (a valium compound) into the rectum of a student suffering from a specific form of seizure. Wrongly applied, the rectal “injection” could harm the student.
The dangerous measure treats a symptom – instead of the real disease – plaguing California’s schools. Cuts of some $20 billion have decimated public education and exacerbated shortages of nurses on campuses. SB 161 is a poor substitute for the real prescription – a large, long-term injection of funds into schools.
Educators, nurses, parents and others are aghast at the proposal, which could have a teacher removing a student’s clothing in the middle of a class to administer the medication, while the student is potentially thrashing about violently in the throes of a seizure.
California law does not even allow highly trained paramedics to administer this drug – but SB 161 would make it okay for teachers to do so.
For more information about SB 161 (Huff) and how to help defeat it, go to CTA’s Take Action page.
This link will take you to a Federal Drug Administration publication that describes Diastat medication and how it should be administered.