A school nurse in Mundelein, Illinois, began CPR and used an automated external defibrillator in August to save the life of a coworker at the Lincoln Early Learning Center, the Pioneer Press reports. The village presented Deborah Geib with the Good Neighbor Award on October 24.
“This incident required many people coming together for the purpose of helping a member of our school,” Geib said in her statement, saying that paraprofessionals ran to get equipment, secretaries called 911, and teachers and the principal provided moral support and kept students calm. “We may come from different districts, but we functioned that day as one well-oiled unit.
“I’ve been called a hero,” her statement continued. “I want to thank many people and let people know that although I appreciate the honor I do not consider myself a hero. I want to thank God and my family for making me the person that I am.”
Despite her humility, one administrator said she put her superpowers to work. “Without hesitation, Deb stepped into action and saved a life,” the paper quoted Renee Ullberg, director of special services at Hawthorn 73, as saying. “Even the paramedics reported back to us her remarkable actions. I am so proud to have her on my team.”
The Lincoln Early Learning Center used to be Lincoln School, part of Mundelein School District 75. It was closed in 2011 due to enrollment problems. Hawthorn School District 73 in Vernon Hills leased part of it two years later for its prekindergarten and early childhood learning programs, and then, Fremont School District 79 joined in, making it a three-way deal to share resources and make the building into an area early learning center.
What can we learn from this?
As the federal Education Department changes hands, to be run by a billionaire who has a record of diverting money away from public and toward private and parochial schools, districts may in the future consider consolidating like these three far-northwest suburban districts did with this early learning center.
I can think of few better ways to fight off privatization efforts than strengthening the quality of education and services provided by traditional public schools. Those who would turn the running of public education over to private enterprise, especially to corporations that are not accountable to an elected or even appointed school board, are likely to see no financial gain in providing these services to high numbers of students, so traditional public schools need to strengthen these types of services if privatization efforts are to be shut down.
As another example, we reported last month that several high schools in the Indianapolis area combined forces to create a career center at one of the high schools that serves students from about 10 high schools, many of which are in different school districts. We need more of this in a climate of increasing pressure to privatize public school operations and funding.
Ms Geib saved a life and spread out the praise to people who worked for other school districts. Consolidating efforts may not save lives in a future joining of forces, but children’s education and equal access to that education by all students who live in our school districts are nothing short of important.
Editor’s note: We published this story on Thanksgiving, because I’m very thankful for nurses in my own life, but also because President-elect Donald Trump’s nomination of Betsy DeVos as a potential education secretary has led to a great deal of criticism about what she might do, based on her record in Michigan. I’m simply trying to suggest a path forward. School nurses are very important to our children’s school lives, but they provide one of many services it takes to educate children properly. They should not fall victim to a decreasing bottom line, because when bottom-line people are responsible for important functions at an institution, bad things often happen.