1997 Regular Session

To: Education

By: Representative Weathersby

House Bill 1002



SECTION 1. Section 41-79-5, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

41-79-5. (1) There is * * * established within the State Department of Health a school nurse intervention program, available to all public school districts in the state.

(2) By the beginning of the 1998-1999 school year or at such time that the state allots sufficient funding to cover one hundred percent (100%) of the cost of employing a school nurse in each school district, whichever occurs later, each public school district shall * * * employ a school nurse, to be known as a Health Service Coordinator, pursuant to the school nurse intervention program prescribed under this section. The school nurse intervention program shall offer any of the following specific preventive services, and other additional services appropriate to each grade level and the age and maturity of the pupils:

(a) Reproductive health education and referral to

prevent teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases, which education shall include abstinence;

(b) Child abuse and neglect identification;

(c) Hearing and vision screening to detect problems which can lead to serious sensory losses and behavioral and academic problems;

(d) Alcohol, tobacco and drug abuse education to reduce abuse of these substances;

(e) Scoliosis screening to detect this condition so that costly and painful surgery and lifelong disability can be prevented;

(f) Coordination of services for handicapped children to ensure that these children receive appropriate medical assistance and are able to remain in public school;

(g) Nutrition education and counseling to prevent obesity and/or other eating disorders which may lead to life-threatening conditions, for example, hypertension;

(h) Early detection and treatment of head lice to prevent the spread of the parasite and to reduce absenteeism;

(i) Emergency treatment of injury and illness to include controlling bleeding, managing fractures, bruises or contusions and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR);

(j) Applying appropriate theory as the basis for decision making in nursing practice;

(k) Establishing and maintaining a comprehensive school health program;

(l) Developing individualized health plans;

(m) Assessing, planning, implementing and evaluating programs and other school health activities, in collaboration with other professionals;

(n) Providing health education to assist students, families and groups to achieve optimal levels of wellness;

(o) Participating in peer review and other means of evaluation to assure quality of nursing care provided for students and assuming responsibility for continuing education and professional development for self while contributing to the professional growth of others;

(p) Participating with other key members of the community responsible for assessing, planning, implementing and evaluating school health services and community services that include the broad continuum or promotion of primary, secondary and tertiary prevention; and

(q) Contributing to nursing and school health through innovations in theory and practice and participation in research.

(3) Public school nurses shall be specifically prohibited from providing abortion counseling to any student or referring any student to abortion counseling or abortion clinics. Any violation of this subsection shall disqualify the school district employing such public school nurse from receiving any state administered funds under this section.

(4) Until such time that the state allots sufficient funding to cover one hundred percent (100%) of the cost of employing a school nurse in each school district, each local school district of this state may apply for funding for a school nurse intervention program. State administered funds shall * * * be available only on a 50-50 matching basis, and subject to appropriation by the Legislature, with the local school district providing its local contribution from nonminimum program funds. However, school districts with an ad valorem assessed value per student of less than Seventeen Thousand Dollars ($17,000.00), according to the most recent ad valorem assessed valuation, shall not be required to make a local contribution to the cost of the program. In order to be eligible for such program, each district desiring to participate shall apply to the State Department of Health by May 31 before the beginning of the applicable fiscal year. Such applications shall be on forms provided by the State Department of Health. The local school * * * board and the county health department mutually shall * * * determine their school nurse intervention program within the previously determined state guidelines. The State Department of Health shall determine by July 1 of each succeeding year which local school districts have

submitted approved applications for school nurse intervention

programs. This subsection (4) shall stand repealed from and after July 1, 1999.

(5) Beginning with the 1998-1999 school year and pursuant to appropriation therefor by the Legislature, in addition to other funds allotted under the minimum education program, each school district shall be allotted an additional teacher unit per every one hundred (100) teacher units, for the purpose of employing qualified public school nurses in such school district, which in no event shall be less than one (1) teacher unit per school district, for such purpose. In the event the Legislature provides less funds than the total state funds needed for the public school nurse allotment, those school districts with fewer teacher units shall be the first funded for such purpose, to the extent of funds available.

(6) Prior to the 1998-1999 school year, nursing staff assigned to the program shall be employed through the local county health department and shall be subject to the supervision of the State Department of Health with input from local school officials. Local county health departments may contract with any comprehensive private primary health care facilities within their county to employ and utilize additional nursing staff. Beginning with the 1998-1999 school year, nursing staff assigned to the program shall be employed by the local school district and shall be designated as "health service coordinators," and shall be required to possess a bachelor's degree in nursing as a minimum qualification.

(7) Upon each student's enrollment, the parent or guardian

shall be provided with information regarding the scope of the

school nurse intervention program. The parent or guardian may

provide the school administration with a written statement

refusing all or any part of the nursing service. No child shall

be required to undergo hearing and vision or scoliosis screening

or any other physical examination or tests whose parent objects

thereto on the grounds such screening, physical examination or

tests are contrary to his sincerely held religious beliefs.

(8) A consent form for reproductive health education shall

be sent to the parent or guardian of each student upon his

enrollment. If a response from the parent or guardian is not

received within seven (7) days after the consent form is sent,

the school shall send a letter to the student's home notifying

the parent or guardian of the consent form. If the parent or

guardian fails to respond to the letter within ten (10) days

after it is sent, then the school principal shall be authorized

to allow the student to receive reproductive health education.

Reproductive health education shall include the teaching of total

abstinence from premarital sex and, wherever practicable,

reproductive health education should be taught in classes divided

according to gender. All materials used in the reproductive

health education program shall be placed in a convenient and

easily accessible location for parental inspection. School

nurses shall not dispense birth control pills or contraceptive

devices in the school. Dispensing of such shall be the

responsibility of the State Department of Health on a referral

basis only.

(9) No provision of this section shall be construed as

prohibiting local school districts from accepting financial

assistance of any type from the State of Mississippi or any other

governmental entity, or any contribution, donation, gift, decree

or bequest from any source which may be utilized for the

maintenance or implementation of a school nurse intervention

program in a public school system of this state.

SECTION 2. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 1997.