• Parents, students upset DeKalb school nurses being moved

    By: Rikki Klaus


    DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. - “Don’t take Ms. Sumi!” shouted nine young protesters outside Kittredge Magnet School in North DeKalb County on Friday.

    The students held handmade signs and told Channel 2’s Rikki Klaus their school nurse plays multiple roles. They said she’s irreplaceable.

    “She’s a really nice nurse, and she helps us with other stuff like clubs and after-school activities,” said student Ashvij Hosdurg.

    The DeKalb County School District is reassigning nurse Sumi and nurses at nine other elementary schools to accommodate kids with diabetes.

    There are two types of school nurses: clinic assistants and registered nurses.

    A district spokesman says the RNs have been carving two hours out of each school day to travel to schools employed by clinic assistants so they can give insulin shots to diabetic kids.

    The district said that disrupted the school day and left some schools unsupported, so it’s matching RNs with diabetic students.

    In a statement, the DeKalb County School District writes, “There is no policy that requires this approach, which provides a higher level of service than the minimum required by law.”

    But some parents think the nurse shuffle actually degrades the quality of care for most students and doesn’t reflect what most parents want.

    “And didn’t take into account the thousands of kids that are negatively affected for just a handful of diabetic kids, most of whom are not asking for this,” said Cindy Pietkiewicz, whose son, Andrew, goes to Kittredge.

    Ted Golden’s 10-year-old son, Corbyn, attends Bouie Elementary in South DeKalb County and gets debilitating migraines.

    Golden says swapping school nurses actually make it worse for his son’s condition.

    “Quite naturally, I’m very upset about it,” he said.

    The school nurse has been caring for Corbyn for six years.

    “The way his eyes look, she can say OK. We just need to lay down, drink this water, take this Motrin,” said Golden.
    And she knows when to send the fifth-grader home.

    “I think that it’s not right that she’s gone,” Corbyn told Klaus.

    “We’re just very concerned about not just the fact that she was moved but the circumstances and the protocols that they used to make that decision,” said Golden. “She’s been there for 15 years. That’s a very long time, and she’s really an integral part of the operation in the schoolhouse.”

    Some parents are urging the district to take a second look.

    “Stop the decision right now. Take months, if not the rest of the year, to come up with a strategy that works,” said Pietkiewicz.

    Bouie Elementary parents are meeting with a district official next Wednesday, after Golden helped launch an email campaign to get more answers.

    “Obviously, we want them to come back,” said Golden of the school nurses.

    The district says one nurse has already quit following the move, and others are considering it because they don’t want to transfer.

    “You don’t think that if you’re going to try to ask an RN on short notice to move to a different school that they didn’t sign up for that you’re not going to have them quit?” asked Pietkiewicz.

    The school nurses who aren’t quitting are required to change posts on Tuesday, Oct. 13.

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