Mahomet Seymour Teacher Union Struggle

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On June 11, the Mahomet Seymour Education
Association (MSEA) held a press conference
to gain public support for their
opposition to Mahomet Seymour teaching
staff being asked to perform medical and
health services as a condition of their
employment, instead of these services being
provided by medically licensed personnel.
At the start of the 2008–2009 school
year, MSEA attempted to discuss mental/
medical protocols and procedures with
the school board and building administration.
Some of those procedures could
include catheterization, insulin injections,
and diapering. The district has consistently
refused to bargain the issue with
the union.
This failure means that the district is not
following best practice on the issue and may
possibly be violating the law. The Illinois
Department of Health Care and Family Services
Handbook for Local Education Agencies
is very clear that only licensed nurses
can perform the procedures that Mahomet
teachers are currently required to do. The
Illinois Nurse Practice Act states, “A registered
nurse shall not delegate any nursing
activity requiring the knowledge, judgment
and skill of a licensed nurse to an unlicensed
person, including medication administration.”
Best practice is to have a nurse provide
medical procedures and services.
It would also be best practice for the district
administration to openly bargain the
issue with MSEA, since this issue relates to a
condition of worker employment. To
achieve these goals, MSEA has filed a grievance
against the administration.
Approximately 25 MSEA members and
concerned citizens addressed the school
board at the June 22 meeting. Each speaker
demanded that the board negotiate and not
procrastinate any further, in order to get a
health policy in place that respected MSEA
workers and gave children the best medical
service possible from licensed professionals.
However, the school board notified all in
attendance that the board’s legal counsel
advised them not to discuss the medical service
issue until the grievance process had
run its course.
Second grade teacher Pam Halm
summed it up, “The teachers in our district
have been hired to teach children of all
ages and all abilities with all sorts of needs.
Our doors are open to all children because
we believe that all children can and will
learn. This entire medical issue really boils
down to making sure a licensed, qualified
person is performing these procedures on
our students. We have a full-time school
nurse. If she is unable to provide the medical
services that our students require, then
additional nursing personnel should be
hired. This is not about teachers and aides
not wanting to go the extra mile for students.
That already happens every single
day here in Mahomet. Teachers and aides
should be teaching, and nurses should be
providing medical services.”

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