Middle, high schools would benefit from nurses on staffI...


December 01, 1998

Middle, high schools would benefit from nurses on staff

I read with interest the article "School nurses rescue students and staff" (Nov. 28). I commend the Baltimore City Health Department for recognizing the necessity and priority of re-establishing school nurse programs in the public schools of Baltimore.

In the article, however, there were no examples of these efforts at the secondary level. That is because the thrust in the past 12 to 15 years has been to remove health services from the schools. When staff budgets were cut, school nurses were the first to go. The commitment to reinstitute services has not yet expanded to the level of the middle or high schools in Baltimore.

There are very few high schools where health services (with a trained professional in the field) are available. Dunbar and Southwestern have community-based programs with nurse practitioners. Those positions are limited, however, to very few schools.

Each year, most high school principals designate a person trained in CPR or first aid as the "resource" person in the school.

At Baltimore Polytechnic Institute, the principal (Ian Cohen) requests that I assume that role. I help when and where possible, given my busy schedule.

As the athletic director at Poly, I am responsible for one of the largest athletic programs in the state (26 teams), and I also teach three classes in the physical education department. Injuries throughout our building that require immediate first aid are evaluated by me and/or a few others in our school who have first aid skills. I am certified as a first aid trainer and CPR trainer.

We do have a professional athletic trainer on staff, but his full-time hours do not begin until late in the afternoon.

Students who are ill are excused to the main office during the day and usually sit until a parent is contacted. It is then the parent's responsibility to transport the youngster home or to a doctor.

Frequently, critical time is lost in treating those who need immediate assistance. If there were a health professional on site, immediate care would be administered.

The likelihood of further health risk would decrease with follow-up by a school nurse.

The populations in the middle and high schools (there are more than 1,100 students at Poly) warrant serious consideration for the return of services to all schools. Obviously, the greater the school population, the greater the possibility of frequent health concerns. I hope the Baltimore City Health Department continues placing certified health professionals in every school in Baltimore City.

Mark Schlenoff


Greed isn't the issue with contingency fee

On Nov. 27, L. William Hott accused Peter Angelos of greed ("Angelos wrongly enriched by litigation 'gravy train,' " Letters to the Editor). First of all, it is quite rude to comment on another citizen's business dealings. Second, I do not see how greed is relevant.

Mr. Angelos probably put up several hundred million dollars of expenses, or was prepared to pay market interest rates on borrowed funds to do so if necessary. Large numbers of attorneys worked for years, under his guidance, and on his "nickel."

His contingency fee arrangement was hardly greedy. His firm's share was lower than the typical fee split. Several hundred million dollars will be taken by state and federal governments, in the form of income taxation. Whether the government's intrusion is greed is a subject for another day.

Joel N. Morse


Getting the date straight for Hanukkah's first night

Your story "Jewish group to sponsor food drive for Hanukkah" (Nov. 24) incorrectly stated: "The first night of Hanukkah is Dec. 14." In fact, the first night is Dec. 13, followed by the first day which is Dec. 14. The second night is the 14th, at sundown of the first day.

Howard K. Ottenstein


A city's texture is in the feel of its buildings

Few structures could be more sterile, stark and cold than the Alex. Brown garage, with those long, bare slabs of concrete panels facing Baltimore Street. How could the mayor have pushed for the destruction of the richly detailed, warm, ornate and inviting Horn & Horn and the three other turn-of-the-century buildings on that block?

Every time I walk by that prison-like warehouse for cars I get a chill. The mayor seemingly has no sense of what visually and spiritually holds a city together, of a city in the context of the texture of its buildings.

Harvey Schwartz


Death penalty is the answer for today's crime problem

In his letter to the editor ("Opponents of death penalty have historic giants on side," Nov. 24), Gerald Ben Shargel cites 10 opponents. What the writer failed to see or consider was the era in which they lived.

With the possible exception of Thurgood Marshall, all lived in a period of relative calm and did not experience the violence so prevalent in America today.

Throughout history, people have had to make adjustments to face problems that confronted them, and the death penalty was one of them.

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