APPEAL FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF COOK COUNTY. HONORABLE LESTER D. FOREMAN, JUDGE PRESIDING.
Released for Publication December 10, 1996.
The Honorable Justice Wolfson delivered the opinion of the court. Campbell, P.j. and Braden, J., concur.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Wolfson
The Honorable Justice WOLFSON delivered the opinion of the court:
There are times when a nurse is called on to take care of a child attending school in District 15. Perhaps the child was injured during recess. Or the child might have some medical condition or disability, mental or physical, that requires attention. Vision and hearing must be screened. In short, the nurse is the school's health provider.
The question in this case is whether the Illinois School Code requires that someone performing professional nursing services in District 15 must possess a school service personnel certificate. The trial judge held that the answer is yes. We affirm the trial judge.
Community Consolidated School District 15 (District 15) is an elementary school district. District 15 is in Palatine, in Cook County. It has 15 elementary schools and four junior high schools. It educates about 11,800 students at any given time. The district employs about 750 certified staff members of a total staff of about 1,400.
Before the 1990 school year, District 15 still employed six school nurses. Because there were more buildings in the district than nurses, each school had a school nurse about two days a week. When the nurses were not there, other staff members provided first aid and gave out medication to the students.
Starting in 1990, District 15 began replacing school nurses who left the district with registered nurses employed as registered nurse health aides (R.N. health aides).
For the 1993-94 term, District 15 dismissed all but two school nurses. One of those nurses later retired. The other continued to work in District 15 as half-time school nurse and half-time coordinator of health services.
District 15 had written job descriptions for both school nurses and R.N. health aides.
A school nurse was described as a registered nurse who possessed a school service personnel certificate. That is, he or she would be trained to take part in classroom instruction. In addition, according to the district, the school nurse would: administer first aid, track student health records, monitor students' illnesses and injuries, conduct vision, hearing, and scoliosis screening, supervise medication distribution, conduct classroom presentations, and attend evaluation meetings for special education students.
The R.N. health aide's duties were similar to those of the school nurse, but the health aide did not attend evaluation meetings for special education students. As of June 1994, the R.N. health aide had to have experience with school age children, have keyboarding and filing skills, and be certified in CPR, but no longer needed a Red Cross first aid course, did not need ...