The student news site of Pleasant Valley High School

Spartan Shield

The student news site of Pleasant Valley High School

Spartan Shield

The student news site of Pleasant Valley High School

Spartan Shield

Dwindling Donors: Blood drives experience reduced student involvement

Blood+Drive+banner+in+the+main+hall+at+PVHS+advertises+the+event+to+students.
Katelyn Morris
Blood Drive banner in the main hall at PVHS advertises the event to students.

Pleasant Valley has hosted blood drives for years, but student participation has been inconsistent. Spartan Assembly continues to push blood drive sign-ups until the day of the event to reach donor goals.

In recent years, Impact Life hosted fall, winter and spring blood drives on early-out days of school. These blood drives allowed for students and teachers to donate outside of school hours.

But this year, blood drives are being held on regular school days during school hours. Students have the option to sign out of any academic class period to donate. 

Math teacher Sheli Paustain believes this change will bolster student involvement. “When blood drives were just during the day, not during an early out, students would sign up to donate just to get out of class,” she said. “It seemed like when we switched to afternoons only students were almost less eager to donate.”

Now that the scheduling has switched to during the day it is challenging to get teacher participation. Paustain also says that prep periods are not long enough for donating, even on an early out day, and it is too difficult for teachers to miss class.

Since last school year the number of donors has declined. With 60+ sign ups at each event in the 2022-23 school year, roughly 40 to 50 of those students would follow through with their donation. In this academic year the number of sign ups have only slightly decreased, but the number of completed donations are only in the 30 to 40 range. 

This decrease is not isolated to Pleasant Valley. “Despite an increased number of first time donors between 16 and 19 years had been recruited, this did not translate in an increased number of repeat donors for the same or older age groups as these donors were poorly retained,” stated the National Library of Medicine

In their efforts to solve this problem, Spartan Assembly may be pushing students too far.

Senior Adrianna Slings expressed her disinterest in donating at the school. “Spartan Assembly should stop hassling students to donate blood. I have passed out from needles four times and am not going to give my blood at a school,” she said. 

The apparent decreased retention in student donors is going to have a negative impact on blood banks. In 2022, “students from 16-18 make up 11.2% of all blood donors,” reports America’s Blood Centers. Less donor retention in the student age group will eventually lead to the next major generation of donors to have record low numbers.

Senior Pratima Khatri has firsthand experience with the need for blood donors. “I’ve been anemic and iron deficient since the eighth grade, so I’ve had numerous iron and blood infusions over the past few years,” she said. “A decline in the donation of blood would greatly set back my health.”

The appeal of a school blood drive is down, but the demand for blood isn’t going away. Some students’ disinterest will not change the current and future needs of blood banks. There is a delicate line between encouraging students to donate and peer pressuring them into signing up

The school blood drive isn’t limited to students and staff either; parents and friends are also invited to donate on February 7. Outside visitors can obtain a pass from the office and contribute to Impact Life. If you are interested in helping the community sign up for a donation time here.

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Katelyn Morris
Katelyn Morris, Arts and Entertainment Editor, News Editor
Katelyn is a senior at Pleasant Valley High School and is serving as the section editor of the Arts and Entertainment and News sections. Outside of school she enjoys theatre, art, and shopping. Katelyn loves spending way too much time away from home and never gets enough sleep. She plans on pursuing a degree in music education after high school.
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