Dozens remember young girl, call for rehiring of Philadelphia school nurses

SPRING GARDEN - October 17, 2013

While that's no surprise, controversy still swirled outside the meeting.

None of that money will be used to rehire school nurses in Philadelphia and some argue that staffing decision is dangerous for children.

Dozens gathered on the steps of the Philadelphia School District headquarters to remember Laporshia Massey.

The 12-year-old died after an asthma attack at Bryant Elementary three weeks ago.

"She's not gone. She's up there resting watching over us. I will see her one of these days," Laporshia's mother Loretta Lorraine Massey said.

An attorney for Laporshia's father blames the school district for her death. He says if a nurse had been on duty she'd be alive today.

"They led Mr. Burch to believe everything was OK. They were going to let her walk home. They then made the decision we need to drive her home," attorney Ronald S. Pollack said.

Laporshia's father, Daniel Burch, says his daughter came home and got on her nebulizer, but it didn't work. He rushed her to the hospital. She collapsed on the way. Burch then saw an ambulance.

"I cut the ambulance off and started screaming 'my daughter needs help, my daughter needs help,'" Burch said.

She died later at the hospital.

The Philadelphia School District tells Action News, Laporshia was not having an asthma attack at the school, but told teachers she was tired and not feeling well.

They called Burch and his fiancée twice, asking that she be picked up. At the end of the school day, a teacher felt sorry for her and then decided to drive her home.

In a statement released Thursday night, the district says: "From our review to date, we are certain that our staff at Bryant are not the cause of the student's death, and we will continue to address all concerns arising out of this tragedy."

"Not only were there no nurses, there was no one in the school that would've been trained to basically look out for the safety of these children," Pollack said.

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