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HealthWatch: Resolve to Keep Kids Safe


It’s a new year, a customary time for resolutions. So, how about a few resolutions — let’s call them a wish list — for our entire Irvine community, especially the kids?

First, let’s resolve to bring back the school buses. Getting kids to and from Irvine schools safely is getting harder and harder. The morning “crush hour” chaos in front of our schools is dangerous for kids, frustrating for drivers, and a colossal waste of time. It contributes to the City’s morning traffic congestion. The City should work together with our School Districts (IUSD and Tustin Unified) to restore school bus service, making sure that all school buses are modern and equipped with three-point lap/shoulder belts.

Second, let’s resolve to fully fund our school nurse programs. School nurses improve school health; they improve public health; they save lives, and they save money.
Let’s be the first large city in America to fund school nurses in accordance with the American Academy of Pediatrics standard: one school nurse at every school. The citywide payoff in improved health and safety would be far beyond the public costs of expanding Irvine’s school nurse coverage.

Third, let’s resolve to assign additional Irvine police officers to serve as School Resource Officers. These specially trained police officers provide a full-time, on-site police presence in Irvine’s high schools and most middle schools. It’s clear that these officers help us combat drug use, smoking, and underage drinking, while also providing a presence and a “rapid response” in the event of security breaches on our campuses.

Let’s remember that in 2012, Irvine voters adopted Irvine initiative Measure BB with a 70 percent majority. Measure BB, which my husband — former Mayor and Councilmember Larry Agran — and I wrote, required the City to help support Irvine schools by allocating surplus funds to improve school health and school safety. The concept has worked well for four years; but, now it’s time to expand the program and optimize results that benefit not just school children, but our entire Irvine community.

In our local democracy, each of us has a voice. Now, let’s use our voices to promote the optimal health and safety of our children.

Suggested Action Items:

  • Email or write a letter to your School Board members. (See IUSD email addresses, above, in red box.)
  • Attend an IUSD (or TUSD) School Board meeting and express your views under the “Public Comments” or “Oral Communications” portion of the agenda.
  • Encourage others to participate as well.

I would be pleased to provide more information on these issues. You can email me at: pagran@aap.net

Phyllis Agran, MD, MPH, FAAP
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