Schools should not replace doctors' offices, clinics and hospitals as providers of health care services to children. But for the obvious reason that a child's well-being bears heavily on his or her ability to learn, public education should have some involvement.
That appears to be Hancock County school Superintendent Suzan Smith's idea behind plans for a school-based health center. It is being proposed for the new Weirton Elementary School, which is under construction.
Smith discussed the plan during a board of education meeting this week. She noted rumors, including a false one the center would be a repository for narcotics, have prompted some criticism of the idea.
As Smith explained it, the center would be for students only and would provide health care services only with parental consent. She compared it to "a glorified nurse's station."
Diagnosing and, at least to some extent, dealing with health problems such as illness or vision and hearing problems is a key to helping some children learn. For that reason, Smith is right to pursue the school-based health center - again, without supplanting existing health care providers.