San Diego Unified School District is set to vote on whether to send final layoff notices to several nurses in the district. Rory Devine spoke to school nurses Ann Sutherland and Julia de la Paz about what this means for students.
It may be a matter of life or death for a number of San Diego Unified School district employees in danger of losing their jobs.
An estimated one-third of the district’s school nurses received pink slips earlier this year, according to the calculations of one school nurse, Ann Sutherland. Trustees will vote on Tuesday night whether to send them final layoff notices or rescind those pink slips.
However Sutherland says those nurses whose jobs are on the line are the ones who give a growing number of students with diabetes their insulin shots, or who know how to treat students with severe allergies.
The nurses are also responsible for training teachers how to take care of students who are having seizures.
“I don’t think [trustees] realize the consequences and the potential for liability,” Sutherland said.
Even if the district boardmembers vote to rescind the pink slips, she added, the nursing staff is already being spread thin by layoffs from last year.
“We’ve just been running around like crazy trying to plug holes, and a lot of nurses can’t do it,” Sutherland said. “It’s overwhelming.”
Some of the school nurses facing layoffs received pink slips in the past, only to have them rescinded. Yet they are no less worried this time, said Julia de la Paz.
“This year it feels different,” she said. “It feels different, and it feels like there are some nurses that have started looking for other jobs.”
The nurses will join thousands of teachers for a rally outside the education center Tuesday. It’s one last pitch to save their jobs, they say.