School Nurse Refuses to Treat Student for Not Saying the Pledge

The American Humanist Association has sent a letter to the public school system in Carlisle, Pennsylvania about an incident in which a school nurse allegedly refused to treat a student because she did not stand for the pledge of allegiance while in the nurse’s office.

The student in question, for personal reasons, does not wish to participate in the Pledge exercise in any manner. On Thursday, April 2, she happened to be at the school nurse’s office when the school’s Pledge of Allegiance exercise took place. The school nurse ordered everyone present to stand up, but the student remained seated as she typically does. She reports that subsequently, when it was her turn to be seen by the nurse, the nurse asked loudly, “Why didn’t you stand for the Pledge?” The student replied that the Pledge exercise is voluntary and that no explanation for opting out is needed. Shockingly, the nurse responded by ordering her out of the room, yelling, “Fine! Then leave! I have the right to not service you!”

The student reports that she left the nurse’s office in tears and went to the administrative offices to call her mother. A secretary then led the student to an office, but at that time the same nurse appeared again, saying, “She isn’t calling a parent until I have a long conversation with her!” Still sobbing, the student said she only wanted to call her mother. At this point a school counselor arrived and took the student to his office, where the student remained for the first two class periods. Though he showed some sympathy, he also incorrectly instructed the student that she should stand in the hallway if she does not wish to stand for the Pledge exercise! The student

politely tried to explain that she is under no obligation to stand in the hallway as such, to which the counselor replied that it was “district policy,” apparently unaware that “district policy” does not trump federal law.

The AHA is demanding an apology from the school, but that doesn’t go nearly far enough. The nurse should be fired immediately and reported to the state nursing certification board for refusing to treat a patient without cause.

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  • theguy

    How long until the right-wing claims that the nurse is being persecuted, adds some nonsense about how she has to hide like Anne Frank, and raises a million dollars for her?

  • John Pieret

    The letter is to “John W. Friend – Superintendent, Carlisle Area School District” and “Colleen Friend – Principal, Wilson Middle School”? Apparently, they are married:

    Bet there won’t be much disciplining going on … unless they are into that, of course.

  • MikeMa

    Wouldn’t a state licensing board want to act proactively to remove this stain of a nurse from its ranks?

    Carlisle is in the Pennsyltucky region of the state so maybe not.

  • dugglebogey

    Medical professionals refusing to give aid because someone is not acting patriotic enough…this seems to be the consequences of the politics of obstruction and bigotry.

  • Dr X

    Yes, the nurse can and should be be brought up for disciplinary action before her state board. And if the story is found to be credible, her license should be suspended at the least, only allowing resumption of work with satisfactory completion of ethics class and with probationary state approved supervisor overseeing her work for a couple of years. I’d be surprised if her state board isn’t already investigating on the way to preparing charges.

  • busterggi

    Good thing the nurse didn’t belong to HYDRA.

  • D. C. Sessions

    I’d be surprised if her state board isn’t already investigating on the way to preparing charges.

    It helps that she’s only a nurse. If she were an MD, it would have taken something on the order of raping the kid to get the Board’s attention.

  • Raucous Indignation

    All too true, D.C. But the farcical leniency with which doctors are treated by their licencing boards in no way changes the fact that any health care professional who refuses to carry out their fiduciary responsibilities to a patient because of ideological differences is grossly negligent and should be disciplined.

  • lofgren

    Is she even an actual nurse? A lot of school nurses are just administrators dong double duty or a parent helping out.

  • anubisprime

    The school counselor also requires some remedial training as a matter of some urgency…the clown obviously has no clue as to the law.

    As for the nurse, if she has a diploma of course, should be quite straightforward, summary dismissal from the school and loss of accreditation from the nursing council.

  • abb3w

    @9, lofgren

    Is she even an actual nurse?

    I saw mention elsewhere that the school website lists her as an RN, but haven’t checked that myself.

  • Michael Heath

    But I thought Obama lied when he called this area’s residents bitter?

  • Michael Heath

    I enjoy reading the local news reports of these sorts of events. Here’s the Cumberland County’s newspaper’s coverage:

    The first stupid comment post came from a self-proclaimed atheist projecting his own stupidity on the student (see the commenter’s Internet handle).

  • tfkreference

    Thank you, Mr. Heath, for adding a comment to that article. Yours is as far above the minimum acceptable level of rationality as the Iran comment was below.

  • ryangerber

    If I did that, I’d lose my job on the spot and lose my licence to practice within a week. If anything happened to the kid I would face criminal charges…

    Maybe I should move to Pennsylvania. Sounds like a pretty sweet gig she’s got.

  • caseloweraz

    Students in the school nurse’s office are presumably ill or injured, and at least uncomfortable. Why should any of them have to stand and recite the pledge?

  • gog

    @caseloweraz #16

    What are you, some kind of communist?