In an effort to drive efficient practices in public schools, Rep. Tami Green (D-Lakewood) introduces House Bill 1322, which repeals mandated scoliosis screenings.
Nearly 150,000 students were screened for scoliosis in the 2004-2005 school year. Of those students, only thirty percent of them were referred to health care providers. The number treated was even smaller; 20 were treated with a brace and 11 were treated with surgery.
“Unlike hearing and vision screenings, very few students screen positive and among those that do, few actually require treatment.” Green said.
Washington public schools require at least three scoliosis screenings for all students. These occur in fifth, seventh and ninth grade. Green proposes that the screening be replaced by nurses educating school staff and families to identify signs and symptoms of scoliosis. Screenings will be done by referral only.
Scoliosis, which is a condition in which the spine curves away from the center of the body in an “S” or a “C” shape, affects approximately two-to-three percent of the general population.
“In a time when school nurses are spread thin, we should evaluate what tasks we are mandating,” Green said. “In these tough times we have to look at every way for our public services to be efficient and effective.”