THE BRONX - Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand is continuing to fight for children's health in the Bronx, and her latest round has her battling asthma, one of the most aggressive and widespread childhood ailments.
Gillibrand was surrounded by city officials, teachers and parents on Wednesday to introduce a bill aimed at providing more funding for medicine, equipment and training teachers how to effectively address asthmatic children during school hours.
"As a mom to a child with asthma, I know how horrible it is when your child can't breathe," Gillibrand says. "We need our schools to have the tools they need to treat the children when they need it, and have the resources to do that."
There are currently 3,600 children in the Bronx who suffer from asthma. Many of those children have had to be taken away by ambulances while at school to receive proper care, instead of being treated on site, according to officials.
Those resources would give schools the tools to treat children in-house instead of rushing them to hospitals.
School officials say that by doing so, it takes students away from their work, makes them uncomfortable in school and makes them lose focus. They say that those are factors that have contributed to Bronx schools being labeled as low-performing, with a large number of those students having asthma.
Parents say Gillibrand's bill will give them peace of mind and help their children achieve more in class.
Montefiore Medical is on board with the bill and is now covering 75 out of the 200 public schools in the borough. It is hoping to expand its coverage with the bill and increase communication with school staff members.