To the editor:
The recent attacks on the school board for cutting nursing care and counselors in the schools are misplaced. The school board has neither the mandate nor the ability to raise taxes to pay for health care for our children. State law requires the county government to provide public health services including for our children, and gives the county board the power to raise taxes to pay for them.
"The mission of the Health Department is to protect and promote the health of the population of Douglas County" (http://www.ci.lawrence.ks.us/medicine/lhdindex.html), including services for: immunizations, communicable disease control, HIV/AIDS education, counseling and testing, sexually transmitted diseases and child health assessments.
State law requires school boards to provide education, not health care. Moreover, taxes to support education are controlled by the irresponsible, gutless, spineless politicians in the state Legislature. They are negligent in their constitutional duty to fund education, let alone health care for children in schools.
Health care includes school counselors, who provide mental health services to disturbed and disturbing children in schools. That is also a county responsibility. Tell county commissioners not to be negligent like the Legislature and to provide public health services to our children at our schools. If a missing school nurse does not prevent a child from transmitting disease, or a missing counselor does not help a child learn to behave, all children suffer. We all suffer.