The Connecticut legislature wants to ensure its school nurses can detect systemic racism in students’ uteruses.
Rep. Jillian Gilchrest of the Connecticut General Assembly has been busy during the 2023 legislative session, including co-sponsoring legislation prohibiting the sale or barter of dead kangaroos, mitigating climate change, and introducing a bill promoting “equitable holidays” for state employees. But one proposed bill recently gained attention on social media: An Act Concerning Endometriosis Training for School Nurses.
HB 6297 says that school nurses and those serving in school-based health centers must be required to receive “(1) Endo What? School Nurse Training and Toolkit” and “(2) training on endometriosis that includes information on systemic racism, explicit and implicit bias, micro aggressions, racial disparities, anti-blackness, and experiences of transgender and gender diverse youth.”
Moving past the fact that one must be trained and certified as an advanced practice nurse to diagnose and treat a medical condition, the provisions of this bill are facially absurd. Having spent several years of my nursing career in rural New Mexico, I gained a wide variety of experience in the field, including school nursing. I can confidently state that none of the students who came into the office said that their tummy aches or menstrual cramps were due to systemic racism or implicit bias. Working as an operating room nurse during many hysterectomies, there was no way to distinguish the race or ethnicity of the uteruses once they were in the specimen container. And, during multiple medical and surgical treatments for endometriosis as a young woman, my doctors never attributed the problem to “anti-blackness.”
Said one tweet about the Connecticut bill: “All that oppression in one uterus.”
Let’s demand more from our lawmakers who are proposing legislation in the name of public health. School nurses have more important topics to study for their continuing professional development. Most of all, children need protection from radical ideologies, not the promotion of them.
Laura L. Morgan MSN, RN is the program manager for Do No Harm.
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