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Special Education Teacher Says She's Striking For More Nurses, Because 'I Administer Tests, Not Insulin'

CHICAGO (CBS) -- For some teachers, this isn't their first trip to the picket line – but some said this strike is different, because there are specific conditions they are fighting for now.

One teacher, Susan Buchanan, told CBS 2's Tara Molina that a lack of nurses is her main issue – and is drastically affecting her students.

"I do it for the students," Buchanan said.

Buchanan is a special education teacher at the school where she started her career 30 years ago, Louis Pasteur Elementary School at 5825 S. Kosnter Ave. – in the community where she grew up in and still calls home.

"I love the students. I love my community," Buchanan said.

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Her sign and her message was simple.

The sign read: "As a teacher, I administer tests, not insulin."

"Who's going to monitor their diabetes? They want the teachers to do that," Buchanan said. "We're not equipped to do that. We can't do that."

We looked into that, and found CPS's policy on diabetes management.

It reads: "The Illinois Care of Students with Diabetes Care Act permits teachers, school staff, and school administrators to serve as a delegated care aide to assist a student with diabetes when the school nurse is not in the building or not available when needed."

Buchanan said there is no nurse in the building – and she had a student transfer out of her school because there's no nurse on staff.

"If they don't have a nurse in the building, and they're medically fragile?" Buchanan said. "They can't come to school."

That is the sticking point she's fighting for.

"We don't have medical training," Buchanan said. "We went to school to become educators, not nurses."

She wants better staffing.

"We don't have medical training," Buchanan said. "We went to school to become educators, not nurses."

Buchanan want to see a nurse in every school.

"I love being a Chicago public school teacher," she said. "I just wish we were more supported."

Mayor Lori Lightfoot and her team have said they're committed to adding hundreds more nurses, social workers, and case managers to schools, but added that the contract limits that. The mayor also says the city can't move any farther on money.

Friday will mark the second day of the teachers' strike.

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