Student Dies at Philly School; No Nurse Was on Duty

Would boy be alive if staffing cuts hadn’t happened?

City Paper reports a first-grade student died Wednesday at Jackson Elementary School in South Philadelphia. No nurse was on duty, and questions are being raised about if the boy would’ve survived if not for the massive staffing cuts of recent years.

The details of the boy’s condition (the student has not yet been identified) are unclear. But Ann Smigiel, Jackson’s nurse, worries that she might have been able to prevent it had she been on duty.

“There is no net for the staff or the children,” she says. “There’s no requirement to have any kind of medical team. It’s my job as the nurse to make sure there’s an emergency plan, and basically it is 911…The equipment isn’t there, nothing is there for them.”

Smigiel works at Jackson only on Thursdays and every other Friday. Until five years ago, Smigiel says that she was present at Jackson every single day. Smigiel says that she has worked at Jackson for 12 years, and worked for 15 years prior in an emergency room.

City Paper adds: “Philadelphia Federation of Teachers president Jerry Jordan said he is “absolutely shaken” by the death, and says it marked ‘another example of another under-resourced school.'”


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  • Jennifer Robnett

    I want everyone who reads this to tweet Governor Corbett and thank him for being the impetus for two kids’ deaths in the Philadelphia School District while in office. (Two is all I know; there might be more.)

    I hope Wolf takes this scumbag out. Unbelievable. Would our society accept understaffed hospitals? These kids need a nurse on duty at all times.

  • laurenalice

    They don’t yet know why he died, and we may never know if a nurse at the school would have made a difference, but it is fact that there are significantly less adults running each school and teaching and monitoring our students. A staggering deficit, and most if not all of them describe their day as treading water and putting out fires.

    There are no nurses, guidance counselors, classroom aids or special education teachers. Security guards. Vice Principals. There are no supplies, libraries, anything extra.

    One “nice” elementary school has a nurse they rehired only after money was raised by parents and politicking and who knows what else. But she also serves as: late desk check in, the lunch aide, the recess aide, a guidance counselor, volunteer coordinator which has to be a staff member so they can track background checks, and now that they took away the security guard in April that they had all year (he was an awesome guy that loved the students and his job), the nurse has to do all that HE did, too. Fire drills, emergencies, visitor security. She does this in partnership with the Principal that has no Vice Principal or assistant.

    There are less adults around, period. I can’t imagine what it’s like in the upper grades.

    Please spread the word, read everything you can (set a news filter for Philadelphia School to come into your email once a day!) and find out how or who you can influence to change this. If everyone, with kids or if they just care about Philly, starts to object to this it won’t stand anymore.

    Something has to give, and not figuring out a financial solution to THIS problem is unacceptable. If we are going to pay these taxes, shop, and work for the companies in this city, the schools need to be invested in immediately. All these kids deserve a collective effort to make their days safe and enriching.

    • laryloo

      The problem is WE THE PEOPLE. Politicians need to raise money to be elected, lots of money. To do so they turn to organized interest. In Philadelphia that means Unions. Unions finance politicians for many reasons, one of the biggest being Pensions such as the DRIP program. City government is drowning under pension cost. Pensions vs School Funds is the battle. School funds loose because parents don’t fund campaigns. WE THE PEOPLE if we truly desire change must demand structural change in HOW government works, not what it accomplishes. It is only through sensible changes such as publicly financed elections that GOOD government will emerge. IT IS MY FAULT, IT IS YOUR FAULT, WE ALL ARE TO BLAME.

      • kaiello

        Yeah, it has nothing to do with huge tax cuts for the wealthy pushed through by Corbett. And what happened to casino money fully funding our schools? Remember that promise?

      • matthew brandley

        You nailed it my friend! finally somebody else on here that knows whats going on! Thank you!

    • matthew brandley

      Heart defect . Coroners report so don’t blame anyone

      • laurenalice

        Where is the blame in what I wrote? All I did was point out the situation in our schools. Is that the type of school you attended growing up?

        • matthew brandley

          Let me make this so simple tha you can even understand this . Its not a dem or repub thing, its called welfare! heres the facts plain and simple like it or not black and white. Over 1/3 of the city population receives some type of assistance from the state of feds. Which in turn Qualifies them for free or reduced breakfast and lunch programs the PSD must provide which suck! Thanks to commy obamas wife and the kids hate which is a waste of tax payer $. Now take the welfare kings and queens who have never had a J O B . They have had susidised housing food , medical ,utilities everything paid for by the T A X P A Y E R! They pay nothing in city wage tax, real estate tax, fed or state tax, NO TAXES AT ALL! The city is missing out on hundreds of millions in tax revenue because of the dang welfare program! heres more facts for you to take to the bank. Over 60 pct 60 PCT of the city budget goes for city and psd employees salaries, health care and pensions!And to add the aging decrepit buildings? Declining enrollment since nobody wants to have kids in this p t low paying rat holl that Obama has created?