School Nursing

The Relentless School Nurse: How a Seemingly Simple Question Turned into an Op-Ed

An actual illustration from a “safety pamphlet” given to children on the last day of school in one Texas school district…


It was a really simple (or so I thought) question from a school nurse colleague who reached out to me because she wanted to provide a health lesson to her third-grade students about gun safety.  At first, I thought I could answer her question, but when I failed to find a strong selection to share with the nurse, I turned to my school librarian friends, who are information specialists, and posed this challenge:

I have a school nurse who is interested in teaching safety lessons and wants to incorporate gun safety into her lesson. She likes to read books to the 3rd graders and asked if I had any recommendations. And, so I thought of you!

The response of the New Jersey Association of School Librarians (NJASL) including Mary Moyer Stubbs, the Legislative Consultant, and Beth Raff, President-elect of NJSASL was swift and actionable.  They were also concerned that there were few resources to recommend from reputable children’s publishers on the topic.  This spurred a joint op-ed and the search for a publisher for the op-ed.  To our surprise, there were few outlets that wanted to address the topic. Our deep appreciation goes to Opinion for their courage to publish the op-ed.

As school nurses and librarians, we find ourselves grappling with the distressing reality that little is being done to prevent school shootings. As educators, we see the somber truth that students are living in fear and experiencing heightened stress due to this pervasive issue. It then falls on us to fulfill our role and obligation to help students cope with the associated stressors, and one tool we rely on is books and stories. However, when it comes to the topic of gun violence, there is an alarming absence of resources or inappropriate ones like the one using Winnie the Pooh, featured in our op-ed.  We need publishers and authors who understand the needs of children to address gun violence in an appropriate manner.

Here is our op-ed, there is a registration required to view the article for free for a limited number of days. gun violence pamphlet exploits a cherished character Opinion


Illustration from a children’s “safety pamphlet” featuring Winnie the Pooh and friends.

2 thoughts on “The Relentless School Nurse: How a Seemingly Simple Question Turned into an Op-Ed”

  1. Unfortunately, a subscription was required in order for me to read the article.

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