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The Los Angeles Times published an editorial urging Governor Brown “to ruffle the teachers unions” and sign Republican Leader Bob Huff’s bill SB1266 that calls for volunteers at schools to carry epi pens. As usual, the Times portrayed CTA and CFT union intransigence as the only barrier to public school reforms, this time with the attention-grabbing headline, “Teachers unions shouldn’t stop Epi Pen bill from saving kids’ lives.”

Epi Pens

The hyperbolic headline tries to force the public to judge teachers for refusing to save a child’s life. It’s worked for the LA Times in the past, but it misses the point.

As the parent of an LAUSD middle school student, I see a school that has been stripped to the bone with no nurse, no librarian, one counselor for 700+ kids, no technical support, one principal and no assistant principal. Through this right-wing austerity plan advocated by Chris Christie, Eli Broad, Jeb Bush and even some others who call themselves progressives, it's becoming commonplace for the principal and teachers to be the only adults in the building, and they are expected to feed, clothe, counsel, provide medical treatment, and--don't forget--teach.

It's time the public understands the truth: the things public school teachers are demanding are the things parents know their children need. If it takes a union thug to get them, I’ll hold a sign that reads “Moms for Union Thugs”.

It's time the public understands the truth: the things public school teachers are demanding are the things parents know their children need. If it takes a union thug to get them, I’ll hold a sign that reads “Moms for Union Thugs”.

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It sounds perfectly fine to expect any intelligent person to administer an Epi Pen. I just looked on CVS.com and they cost about $175 each. So let's make sure that about $5000-$15,000 is available for each school to pay for them so no teacher is forced to decide whether that money should go toward band-aids, kleenex, or #2 pencils--or God forbid, her own lunch. Let's also make sure there's a person--with a name--at each school responsible and accountable for stocking and restocking them.

We need some way to make sure kids don't get to them and poke each other with them for the fun of it--or worse. Can we also require the school district to make sure there is at least one piece of copy paper in the machine so whoever is in charge of the Epi Pens can let everyone know where they are? And we need an outside telephone line so we can call the parent when an episode occurs. Now it's starting to sound like we're making an actual plan.

But that's exactly what this bill eliminates.

When did we start judging the value of something by whether we can inspire enough devotion among volunteers, rather than by whether we were willing to devote the necessary resources to it? I mean, I want to think that, if my child was overcome by a wave at Venice Beach, I would have the wherewithal or some of the dozens of onlookers would, to rescue her, but I’m glad our society and our County government value life saving enough to pay lifeguards and set standards for their work. If the lifeguards earn enough to live in Los Angeles, all the better. But I know that kind of thinking has become controversial.

This is a perfect example of how the right wingers are winning the fight to deregulate and privatize public schools; it’s a race to the bottom. Next thing you know, they'll be claiming the plumbers union is a bunch of selfish greedy thugs who endanger children because they actually demand payment to keep sewage out of classrooms. I guess if it comes to that, I'll wield a plunger in protest.

karen-wolfe

Karen Wolfe