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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