WCPSS nursing change has these parents fuming

RALEIGH, NC (WTVD) -- These families seated front row center at the Wake County school board meeting Tuesday all have children with some extraordinary special needs: kids that require nurses with them at school every day.

But here's the thing - these families already have and trust these nurses. So what's the problem? WCPSS is telling them they need to pick new ones.

"I urge you to reevaluate the decision," Lizzie Bain told the board during her time at the podium. Bain's 5-year-old son Eli was born with a rare genetic disorder that doctors still can't diagnose.

One by one, these parents pleaded with the board to undo a decision that limits the nursing agencies allowed to contract with the school system to two companies.

For these families, where medical consistency is critical, it means choosing a nurse that they don't know and nurses that don't know their children.

"We want to keep the nurses that know our kids," said Deborrah Murray, whose 10-year old daughter Ayden suffers from a rare skin disease. "They know by looking at our kids that something's wrong with them. They know what to do if they see that."

Ayden was flanked by four other Wake County children - all facing different and significant health challenges: 10-year old Morgan Clark battles severe cerebral palsy; 4-year old Porter Richardson needed a heart transplant not long after he was born; and 7-year old Grayson Ketchie has multiple diagnoses.

But all of them, these parents say, were making progress in the classroom. They fear this nursing change could stop the progress in its tracks.

"I've spoken with a family whose son has already missed 50 days of school due to the inability of the two agencies to staff the case," Lizzie Bain said.

Morgan's mother, Nakima Clark, said, "Now I'm forced to isolate her from her peers because I can't choose who provides her health care during the day."

Three weeks until the start of the traditional school year and some of these families are still waiting to hear from the two school system-sanctioned nursing agencies to map out care plans for their kids.

"We're talking about 40 children out of 160,000," said Grayson's mother, Dianne Ketchie. "If they could just focus on educating them and let us worry about their health care, I would feel better."

WCPSS's assistant superintendent of special education services wasn't available Tuesday night. We hope to make contact Wednesday for more answers to these families' concerns.
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