The Manchester Board of School Committee’s Committee on Coordination and Administration voted to allow the city’s Health Department to place Narcan in all of the city’s elementary, middle, and high schools. Each school nurse will have two kits.
A member of the public, Michael Porter, expressed concern over allowing Narcan in schools saying that he believes addicts will be attracted to the schools once they know Narcan is on site. Porter was also concerned about liability in the event that a nurse administered Narcan too quickly, which would cause the patient to become violent, endangering the nurse and potentially students.
Also opposed was Jewett Street School Parent Teacher Group President Tammy Shah. In her comments to the board, Shah said they’d never had an overdose, but they have had kids run into the street, arguing that the safety fence they’ve been asking for is a higher priority. She was worried that if the schools had Narcan, the nurse would be required to treat anyone anywhere on school grounds. She said the nurses are there for the kids and shouldn’t be put in a position where they’d have to turn their attention to treat overdosed members of the public on school grounds.
Public Health Director Tim Soucy, who proposed putting Narcan in the schools, said that there has only been one overdose incident on a Manchester school property, but it was after school hours. Soucy believes that having Narcan in the schools could save lives and explained that school nurses have been trained on how to use it. The issue will be on the board’s agenda on March twenty eighth for final approval.
The committee also addressed head lice with Soucy, who explained that the goal of the policy change was to keep children in school. The committee discussed restoring the old policy, which sent children home immediately upon discovering the lice. The current policy keeps the child in school unless a nurse or administrator thinks the child should go home or if the child is uncomfortable having lice.
Ward Five Committee Member Lisa Freeman, who asked for the policy to be revisited, expressed concern over the emergence of so called “super lice” in the twenty five states that have similarly relaxed their school policies. She pushed back against Soucy’s comments that board members shouldn’t act in fear, but on best practices. Soucy says school nurses are currently tracking forty two cases of chronic head lice in the schools, but when he couldn’t answer how many of those children went home after the lice was discovered, Mayor Ted Gatsas moved to table the discussion until those numbers were available.
Later, at the meeting of the full Board of School Committee, Gossler Park parent Sarah Harrington urged the board to, at a minimum, adopt a “no live bug” policy. She said that while some parents are contentious about treating lice, others are not because they don’t have to be in order for their children to be in school. Harrington, who works for a private pre-school, said it’s not fair to children, like hers, who get infected by students whose parents sent their kids to schools with live lice crawling in their heads.
News from our own backyard continues after this.
At the Manchester Board of School Committee last night, the board heard from several teachers worried that budget cuts are on the way. Manchester Education Association Vice-President Maxine Mosely said the board’s failure to negotiate well with Hooksett and Candia are responsible for the district’s budget woes, not the teachers’ contract. She accused Mayor Ted Gatsas of squelching a budget proposal that Superintendent Debra Livingston was allegedly going to bring forward last night because it didn’t meet his requirements. Livingston would later deny the charge.
M E A President Sue Ellen Hannan proclaimed that teachers won’t bear the blame for the district’s budget issues, claiming the contract saved the district money, quote this year end quote and that they’re working with a bare minimum staff that can’t be reduced. She proclaimed the superintendent and her staff to be the educational professionals who should be left in charge of the budget and redistricting. Hannan urged Livingston to present a budget that truly represented the needs of the district.
On the question of redistricting, the board voted to establish a special committee to review the matter. The vote came after a protracted discussion on what the basis of a redistricting should be and whether or not the city can sustain four high schools.. Board Vice Chair Arthur Beaudry picked up on comments made by Ward Four Committee Member Leslie Want at the board’s prior meeting about establishing a committee.
The Nackey S. Loeb School of Communications is presenting a panel discussion in collaboration with the New England First Amendment Coalition. Representatives from both organizations will be discussing New Hampshire’s Right-to-Know Law. The panel discussion is titled “The Right to Know in New Hampshire: Where are we, where are we going?” and will be held at the Loeb School in Manchester tonight at 7 seven. Admission is free. For more information, visit loeb school dot org.
From the campaign trail, today is a big day in the G O P race for President of these United States. Voters go to the polls in the winner takes all delegate states of Ohio and Florida. There are a whole lot of delegates up for grabs in North Carolina, Illinois and Missouri as well. If the polls are right, business mogul Donald Trump is in for a good day, with strong leads in Florida, North Carolina and Illinois. He’s in a dead heat with Ohio Gov. John Kasich in Ohio. There’s not a whole lot of polling coming out of Missouri, so we’ll just have to wait and see what the Show Me state shows us tonight. Republicans will also caucus in the Northern Mariana Islands.
Democrats vote today in all of the above, except for the Northern Marianas.
That’s news from our own backyard, Girard at Large hour ___ is next