The 21st Show

School Nurse Shortage in Illinois; Consent on College Campuses; Chicago Sports Update


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On the 21st: With national attention focused on the issue of sexual assault, we'll talk to a few college students about the conversations taking place on campus around consent. Plus, as the Cubs season wraps up, the season for the Chicago Bears is ramping up. But first, do you remember visiting your school nurse when you were a kid? These days, half of Illinois schools don’t have one. We’ll talk about how they are coping.

More than half of the schools in Illinois don’t have a school nurse. This sounds problematic when thinking about the number of scrapes, bruises, colds and fevers students get. But, what about all of the other mental and physical health services that children rely on at their schools nowadays? 

Schools can serve as a hub for for health care and nutrition, especially in many of our state’s rural communities. And, we know that nurses do much more than just give ice packs, but there aren’t enough of them.

Linda Vollinger joined us to talk more about the shortage. She is the head of the Illinois Association of School Nurses and a nurse at Stagg High School in Palos Hills, a southwest suburb of Chicago. And Mary Fisher was also with us, Mary is the Health Services Coordinator for Rockford Public Schools. 

Plus -

The Senate is scheduled to convene tomorrow on the confirmation of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. His hearings, and the numerous sexual assault allegations lodged against him, have prompted a national conversation about consent and the culture on college campuses.

But this is not a new conversation. Think back to movements like Take Back the Night, which date back to the 70s, and hit a peak in the late 90s.

What are students talking about today when it comes to healthy sexual conduct? First, consider the stats. Across the country a quarter of undergraduate women experience some kind of rape or sexual assault on campus. In Urbana, where The 21st is broadcast from, at the University of Illinois, there were about 50 cases of harassment, dating violence and sexual assault that were investigated by the university in 2016 and 2017. That’s nearly double from 26 in 2014. That's according to the Champaign News-Gazette.

A few of the many students leading these conversations joined us on in our studio today. Sudarshana Rao is the Vice President for Students Against Sexual Assault at the University of Illinois. Sudarshana also facilitates various sexual education and bystander intervention programs on campus.  She’s a junior studing economics.

Connor Riddle also spoke with us. Connor is the Risk Manager for the Interfraternity Council that works with Greek organizations on the University of Illinois. He’s a senior studying molecular cell biology.

And Jaya Kolisetty was also with us. She’s the Associate Director for the Rape Advocacy, Counseling, & Education Services (RACES) and a Supervisor for their Prevention Education Programs.

And -

The Cubs season came to an end this week when they lost the National League wildcard game 2-1 to the Colorado Rockies. 

There’s also been more serious news in the world of baseball and for the Cubs. Yesterday shortstop Addison Russell was sentenced to a 40-game suspension because of domestic abuse allegations.

But, now that baseball season is over in Chicago, the focus moves to the Bears who already have three wins this season and are off this weekend. In two weeks they'll face the Dolphins.

Also, the Blackhawks have their season opener tonight against the Ottawa Senators as they look to bounce back from a disappointing 2017 season. The Bulls are also underway soon as they look to improve on the 27-55 finish last season. 

As always, WBEZ’s Cheryl Raye Stout joined us to share her thoughts.


Story source: WILL