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PAULA ZAHN NOW
Trading Sex, Drugs and Money For Salvation; Could Latest West Virginia Mine Disaster Have Been Prevented?; School Nurse Shortage in America?; Deadly Ford Vehicle Fire Danger
Aired January 23, 2006 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening. And thank you all for being us.
Tonight, some new information about the latest underground disaster that cost lives and devastated families. Could tragedy have been prevented?
ZAHN (voice-over): Into the darkness -- after another tragic mine disaster, after more lives lost, could more have been done to save them?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We realized we didn't have the proper equipment on us, that we could not chance going back.
ZAHN: Tonight, straight talk from a disaster survivor -- a PAULA ZAHN NOW exclusive.
Tonight's "Eye Opener": Does this sound like a school near you? Too many kids with too many serious health problems, and not enough nurses.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When a child has a terrible allergic reaction....
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Right.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: ... or when a child has an asthma attack...
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Right.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: ... who is there to take care of them?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Our secretaries.
ZAHN: Is a nationwide shortage of nurses creating a health hazard in your child's school?
And porn again -- this former stripper and porn star is on a new mission, taking on a billion-dollar business.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And you could come and start going to church and have a relationship with God.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No way.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. That's what we do.
ZAHN: Tonight, trading sex, drugs and money for salvation.
ZAHN: Also ahead tonight, the startling videos -- after a series of fiery rear-end collisions in Ford Crown Victoria police cruisers, steps were taken to make them safer. So, why haven't owners of civilian models been told about a fix that could save their lives? It is a story you don't want to miss just ahead.
But we begin tonight in West Virginia, where, only about an hour ago, lawmakers scrambled to approve new mine safety standards, including emergency location devices and emergency oxygen. Now, that comes after the fire at a Melville, West Virginia, coal mine that claimed two lives late last week.
A survivor of that accident has agreed to tell his harrowing story and what he is telling us tonight might save lives down the road.
Chris Huntington has been working on this exclusive story. And he just filed this report for us.
UNIDENTIFIED MINER: Throughout my years...
CHRIS HUNTINGTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This West Virginia miner is still trying to come to grips with the tragedy in the Aracoma Mine, the fire that he escaped, but that killed his friends, Don Bragg and Elvis Hatfield.
He has asked us not to reveal his identity out of respect for them and their families. Shortly after 5:30 this last Thursday afternoon, his group of 12 miners learned that a conveyor belt had caught fire. They immediately began their escape. But it was more than two miles to the nearest mine exit.
UNIDENTIFIED MINER: We started just smelling -- smelling the fire a little bit. And then we started running into some light smoke. And, at that time, nobody had their apparatuses on. We was all just kind of covering our faces and covering our mouths with our jacket.
HUNTINGTON: Were you scared?
UNIDENTIFIED MINER: Definitely. I faced -- I faced death right now. I really did. I thought -- I didn't think I was coming home to see my family.
HUNTINGTON: But then the smoke turned black and choking, and they had to put on their emergency breathing gear.
UNIDENTIFIED MINER: We was trying to put the apparatus on. And the smoke was so bad that I was -- myself -- and I can vouch that others around me was gagging, gasping for air, suffocating, and throwing up. I was throwing up. And I know a couple -- couple of my buddies was throwing up as well.
HUNTINGTON: This miner dropped his goggles. And he said others did, too. The smoke was so thick, they couldn't even see their miner lights. Moving single file, with each man holding on to the man in front, they felt their way blindly along a coal shaft for nearly the length of a football field, searching for an escape door they believed would lead to fresh air.
UNIDENTIFIED MINER: As we worked our way, you know, to the door, the guy in the back, which was the boss, you know, he assumed that they was 11 miners in front of him. And the guy in the front assumed that 11 miners was behind him. As soon as we got through the door, we realized two was missing.
And we didn't know, couldn't figure out how they got separated from us. And we finally realized we couldn't not find them. So, all of the 10 that made it out got together and...
HUNTINGTON (on camera): At that point, did you know it was Don and Elvis?
UNIDENTIFIED MINER: We -- we knew who was missing, yes. We didn't know who was -- we knew exactly when we got through the door who was missing.
HUNTINGTON (voice-over): They yelled back through the door, as a couple of them made two trips back into the smoke to search for Bragg and Hatfield.
(on camera): What was your first feeling when you knew you were nine...
UNIDENTIFIED MINER: You...
HUNTINGTON: Or you knew you were 10, not 12?
UNIDENTIFIED MINER: You get a real sickening feeling to your stomach, just wondering where -- where could they have gone, you know, where they -- where could they be?
HUNTINGTON (voice-over): After 15 frightening minutes of trying to find the other two, the 10 had no choice, but to save themselves and pray.
UNIDENTIFIED MINER: You hear a lot of stories about, you know, what -- people say what I would have done and what this one would have done. And, in a situation like that, I can honestly say now there is not much you can do.
HUNTINGTON (on camera): Do you think this could have been prevented?
UNIDENTIFIED MINER: This was pure accident. I mean, this -- this -- the only way this could have been prevented is if you would have had five or six guys at that one area when the fire started.
HUNTINGTON (voice-over): But he is upset that there was not a mine rescue team on site familiar with the huge labyrinth of the Aracoma Mine.
UNIDENTIFIED MINER: Most of the guys on the mine rescue teams have never been under that hill right there specifically.
HUNTINGTON (on camera): Given what you have been through, will you go back into the mines?
UNIDENTIFIED MINER: Me personally, I -- I probably won't go back under the hill.
HUNTINGTON (voice-over): But while he was under that hill, he knew he would make every effort to get out.
(on camera): What gave you the determination to keep your head together to get out of there?
UNIDENTIFIED MINER: Probably -- probably my kids. I mean, that's all that -- I mean, I have got, you know, two young kids. And I knew, you know -- that's all that kept going through my head. You know, I have got to I have got to -- I have got to see them, you know, and...
HUNTINGTON: Chris Huntington, CNN, Melville, West Virginia.
ZAHN: So, try to imagine the pain and frustration of knowing trapped miners are fighting for their lives, but you're not even allowed to help them.
That's the situation Chief -- Fire Chief Scott Beckett and his fire crew found themselves in. Beckett's team, from Logan, West Virginia, was first on the scene after the explosion in the Melville mine. But federal rules kept them from taking a leading role in that rescue. It wasn't until more than three hours later that rescue teams actually went in to fight that fire.
And the chief believes precious time may have been lost. Chief Beckett joins me now.
Good of you to join us, sir. Thanks so much for being with us.
SCOTT BECKETT, LOGAN, WEST VIRGINIA, FIRE CHIEF: Thank you.
ZAHN: So, we understand, chief, you were on the scene within four minutes of getting the call. Who told you that you couldn't fight the fire?
BECKETT: One of the officials in the mine actually told us that the MSHA had issued some sort of federal regulation papers that prohibited us from actually going in and fighting the fire. ZAHN: What was your reaction when you heard that? You were ready to go. You had all of the equipment in place to fight this fire.
BECKETT: Yes, ma'am.
We had all of the equipment ready to go to fight the fire, especially when the mine rescue teams -- their equipment is designed strictly for rescue, not for firefighting. So, I knew that they didn't have the -- the necessary equipment to put the fire out.
ZAHN: You had this...
BECKETT: And it was just -- it was just a total shock.
ZAHN: You had to sit and wait for almost three-and-a-half-hours, until those mine rescue teams went in. What was it like to stand there, knowing that very precious time was being completely blown?
BECKETT: It was -- it was just a frustrating situation all the way around, to try to tell 20 men who are competent and well trained that -- that they're not being allowed to do their job. And it was just a tough situation.
ZAHN: What would have happened to you, if you had decided to go against the feds and used your instincts and said, you know what, we got -- we're here; we can't waste any more time; we're going in?
BECKETT: We were told of -- there were rumors and we were being told that we would be arrested. There was even talk of federal prison time if we violated these orders. So -- and that's a pretty stout punishment. And that's what we were looking at, as far as I -- as far as I know.
ZAHN: What do you think would have happened if you had been able to go in there as soon as you arrived on the scene?
BECKETT: Well, we would have definitely been able to do something with the fire.
It would not have grown to the size that it had grown to, if we were allowed to go in and -- and initiate an aggressive initial attack, which is what needed to be done. Just like any -- any routine fire that we fight, if you don't hit it hard and fast, it is going to get out of control and grow larger, and, then, it becomes a -- you know, a lengthy process.
ZAHN: Well, Scott Beckett, we really appreciate your time tonight. Thank you for sharing your story with us.
And, as we mentioned, West Virginia lawmakers have just today approved new regulations designed to quickly locate trapped miners, good news for Governor Joe Manchin, who proposed the new law. He has seen first-hand the damage inflicted on mine families over just the last three weeks alone.
He also lost a member of his family to a mine accident in 1968.
And Governor Manchin joins us now.
Thank you very much for being with us.
I don't know whether you could hear Chief Beckett just now...
GOV. JOE MANCHIN (D), WEST VIRGINIA: Yes.
ZAHN: ... describe his shock about having his well-trained fire cruise on the scene within four minutes of getting the call and then being told by the feds, he couldn't fight the fire. Is there any excuse for that?
MANCHIN: Paula, I really don't know the procedures as far as the trained rescue teams, and how that coincides with the volunteer fire -- or, I mean, with the paid fire department there at Logan. I really don't. And I'm not here to say any of the things that could or could not have been done.
I know we cannot bring back the 14 brave miners we have lost in 13 weeks. I know one thing, that we can keep the promise that I made to all of those families who lost these brave men. And we did that today, starting today, just a commonsense procedure.
We're going to find out why we can't have a better response. And response, rapid response, is part of this legislation, along with electronic tracking and additional oxygen stations throughout the working mine.
ZAHN: But let me just ask you this. Do you think that -- that any well-trained fire team should face potential federal arrest, which was the rumor going around on the scene, if they have to sit around and -- and wait for crews to assemble for three hours, when they could be fighting the fire themselves?
MANCHIN: Well, you're talking about a mine. And a coal mine is much different than other types of fires, I'm told.
And, in that coal mine, it is a whole different array of things they must go through and the training that they go through. I think the only people that can answer that is the people that are responsible for certifying mine rescue teams, and if they're able to -- to co-train, if you will, fire teams. This is the first time I have ever heard of a fire department that thought that they were trained or maybe have been trained and nobody else knew about it.
I'm not doubting that they couldn't have done it. And I can't give you any reason or excuse where why, if they were well trained, were not allowed to proceed.
MANCHIN: I don't know. But we are going to find out.
ZAHN: ... finally tonight, how much empathy do you have for the position of many family members, who are -- are saying to us in interviews over and over again, why did so many people have to die, and, if they hadn't died, maybe we never would have seen legislation like you got passed today? Do you understand that?
MANCHIN: Oh, I can't -- I can't -- I'm not here to -- to tell you why human nature works in the way it does or the timeliness of it.
I was with those families for over 90 hours in both the Sago and the Aracoma Mine. I was with them praying, hugging, crying. The strength of these families, trying to pull people together, going through the ups and downs and going through the same scenario -- "Do you think they're alive? Do you think they had enough air?"
I have been through this. There is nothing more gut-wrenching than what I have endured. And no family member of any miner should have to go through this. That's my promise. I can only tell you, there is no one that feels it any harder than I feel it. And there is no one that was more committed than I am to make the changes.
We will have the safest mines in this country. The safest mines in the world will start right here in West Virginia. That's my commitment. Today was a start, historic start, passing major legislation in one day, suspending rules, bipartisan effort.
ZAHN: Governor Joe Manchin, we really appreciate your joining us, after this historic vote, a vote that happened...
MANCHIN: Thank you, Paula.
ZAHN: ... rather quickly, by legislative standards. Again, appreciate your time.
Coming up next, defending the president's controversial domestic spying program.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GENERAL MICHAEL HAYDEN, DEPUTY NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE DIRECTOR: Had this program been in effect prior to 9/11, it is my professional judgment that we would have detected some of the 9/11 al Qaeda operatives in the United States.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZAHN: If that's true, why do most Americans say the president is wrong on this one?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KAREEN WYNTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): I'm Kareen Wynter.
She left the fast life in the strip clubs and bars of Las Vegas when one of her best friends died. But now she's going back. I will tell you why -- coming up on PAULA ZAHN NOW.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZAHN: And, a little bit later on, an alarming trend in schools across the country, a huge shortage of school nurses, resulting in the death of one student. Could this put your child in danger?
That's still ahead.
ZAHN: So, how much privacy are you willing to give up to prevent another terrorist attack or find sleeper cells of suicide bombers?
Just days after Osama bin Laden threatened the U.S. in a new tape, the president is setting out to convince Americans that his domestic spy program helps catch terrorists. And, in a speech today, he flatly rejected critics' claims that he broke the law by authorizing wiretaps without warrants.
David Ensor has more in tonight's "Security Watch."
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The president of the United States, George W. Bush.
DAVID ENSOR, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: From the president on down, the administration is making the case that its controversial domestic surveillance program, without court warrants, is aimed only at monitoring al Qaeda's communications in and out of the U.S.
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And if they're making a phone call in the United States, it seems like to me we want to know why.
ENSOR: The goal, say officials, is to find any sleeper cells that might be hidden in this country, waiting for an opportunity to strike. The goal is to stop the next Mohamed Atta.
HAYDEN: Had this program been in effect prior to 9/11, it is my professional judgment that we would have detected some of the 9/11 al Qaeda operatives in the United States, and we would have had identified them as such.
ENSOR: Intelligence officials say Iyman Faris, the truck driver charged with plotting to bring down the Brooklyn Bridge, was found partly through the domestic surveillance program President Bush authorized in late 2001.
The surveillance covers phones, e-mails and other international communications to and from this country where the National Security Agency has reason to believe one of those they're listening to may have ties to al Qaeda. But General Michael Hayden, who headed the NSA, before he took his current job as deputy director of national intelligence, insists there is no specific surveillance of heavily Arab-American communities. HAYDEN: It is not a drift net over Dearborn or Lackawanna or Fremont, grabbing conversations that we then sort out by these alleged keyword searches or data-mining tools or other devices that so-called experts keep talking about. This is targeted and focused.
ENSOR: Law enforcement officials say there is currently no intelligence suggesting there are specific al Qaeda cells in this country waiting to strike, although officials always stress, you don't know what you don't know.
The latest tape from Osama bin Laden threatening attacks on the United States may actually help the Bush administration make its case for domestic surveillance.
(on camera): At hearings next month, Congress will hear from critics who argue that the program erodes liberty and has yet to catch any sleeper cells.
David Ensor, CNN, Washington.
ZAHN: So, the question tonight is, just how real is this latest threat?
To get some answers, we turn to Dr. Walid Phares, the author of "Future Jihad: Terrorist Strategies Against America." Dr. Phares in our Washington bureau tonight. And here with me in New York is CNN security analyst Pat D'Amuro, who spent many, many years with the FBI.
Good to see both of you.
So, Dr. Phares, how concerned are you about this latest threat? How real do you think it is?
WALID PHARES, AUTHOR, "FUTURE JIHAD: TERRORIST STRATEGIES AGAINST AMERICA": The threat is always real, Paula. But it is a general threat.
It is mostly expressive of the concerns of al Qaeda, because they too have concerns of major changes taking in their own neighborhoods in Afghanistan, in Iraq, in Lebanon. It is not going the way al Qaeda wants. That doesn't mean we are winning the war on terror.
So, a -- an audio cassette is a very important tool for Osama bin Laden to make his state-of-jihad declaration, in which he's calling for further attacks on the United States, hoping, Paula, that he would be able to reach what we call now commonly the second generation of al Qaeda, people who are not necessarily in touch, organically, with a cell or with the mother ship of al Qaeda, but who would be prompted by such calls.
ZAHN: This second generation of al Qaeda that Dr. Phares is talking about, some people think is a real threat. You're talking about the prospect -- or they think of more of a homegrown terrorism than the kind that we saw exported on 9/11. Are you fearful of that? PAT D'AMURO, CNN SECURITY ANALYST: Well, exactly.
I mean, you -- you could look at what happened in Lackawanna, New York, with second-generation United States citizens that traveled to Afghanistan to participate in jihadist training. We know that that element exists within the country. It is still the number-one mission of the FBI is to uncover those sleeper cells.
ZAHN: Let's talk about the sleeper cells, Dr. Phares, for a moment. You have raised a lot of eyebrows where you have gone on television and said you believe that there are at least 200 members of sleeper cells already here in the United States. Do you have evidence of that?
PHARES: But, let me refine a little bit.
I said there are 200 jihadist potential terrorists, meaning to be able to cross the line. The evidence is analytical. The numbers have been advanced by a senior member of the Intelligence Committee in the Senate in 2002. But more important are the following facts.
Number one, for 19 perpetrators of 9/11, probably 20, how many support systems they may have? All intelligence assessment tells us that, for each terrorist, for each one person, you need to have at least three support systems. So, that takes care of the first 100. Now, you have another analysis that tells us that all the cases that the government has addressed, uncovered, tried or not, tells us that there are remarkable numbers of people who have tried to do the same thing.
And, finally, what personally I was able to see -- on -- on online in the chat rooms, Paula, was how many who participated in discussions with jihadists, including with members of al Qaeda, based in the United States from 2002 to 2005, I have seen at least more than 150. If you combine all of these numbers, of course, I can't say for sure 200, but it's in the vicinity of that number, my projection.
ZAHN: This is a terrifying scene that the professor has just painted for us this evening. Do you buy those numbers? Or even if those aren't the exact numbers, since that would be so difficult to prove, do you think it is that large of a threat?
D'AMURO: You know, Paula, even when I was in the bureau and I testified before various subcommittees, they always wanted a number attached to how many potential sleeper cells we think were -- were in the country. I think that's a dangerous number to give.
I don't think you can put a number on it. At any...
ZAHN: Do you have any doubt they're here, though, no matter what that number is, whether it's dozens or whether it's a couple hundred that the professor just described?
D'AMURO: You know -- you know, you have to look what the creates a suicide bomb and a potential sleeper cell. In 1997, there was a potential bombing in a New York subway system, where an individual felt sympathetic to an attack that had taken place in the West Bank. And he was going to strap pipe bombs on, go into the subway, and blow himself up. That -- that was prevented by the Joint Terrorism Task Force and the NYPD.
You know, you have individuals that feel sympathetic to a cause that could potentially become the lone wolf and want to conduct an act. Those are very difficult to identify and stop.
ZAHN: And, as the professor used the language, those that may not have crossed the line, but could potentially cross the line.
D'AMURO: That's right.
ZAHN: Pat D'Amuro, thank you for your insights.
Walid Phares, yours as well.
PHARES: Thank you.
ZAHN: Appreciate having you both of you on tonight.
When we come back, this man was very lucky.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I saw flames shooting past my window. And I said, oh, my God. We're on fire.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZAHN: He survived a devastating car fire, but his three passengers died. Could the nation's second biggest carmaker have prevented their deaths?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: If your child had a life-or-death emergency at school, who would help them? If you're thinking, the school nurse, of course, think again. That's coming up on PAULA ZAHN NOW.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZAHN: Tonight, a CNN investigation is raising some disturbing questions about millions of cars made by Ford Motor Company.
Certain full-size Fords used as police cars were involved in fiery, deadly rear-end crashes. Ford came up with a fix to address the problem. The question tonight is, why has Ford not offered the same fix to the millions of owners of similar cars made by Ford, Lincoln and Mercury?
National correspondent Susan Candiotti has been working on this story, and she joins me now with a very latest -- Susan.
SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Paula, we're looking into the trunk of a Lincoln Town Car. See the big boxy area right here at the back?
Well, underneath this padding, this is actually the gas tank. And this is where our story starts.
A few years (AUDIO GAP) police officers burned to death after their patrol cars went up in flames in rear-end crashes. Ford found a solution. Those were Crown Victoria police cars. Their tank is in the same position.
Now, Ford created a rubber and plastic shields to put on sharp parts around the tank to help prevent punctures. They worked. No police officer has died because of such a puncture and fire since then. But Ford officials said the shields were not necessarily on regular everyday models, the Town Car, the Crown Vic and the Mercury Marquis.
They say you and I don't use our cars the way cops do, stopping alongside the road all the time. Then, two years ago, in Greensboro, North Carolina, three sisters were burned to death going home from a Fleetwood Mac concert. Their rented limousine was rammed from behind by a drunk in a pickup truck while they were caught in a traffic jam.
That limo was a converted Lincoln Town Car. Ford acknowledged this. A bolt that would have been covered by those police car shields pierced the limo's gas tank. And last fall, Ford notified limousine makers it would now provide the shields to them free of charge.
And, last week, it settled the lawsuit by the sisters' next of kin. Ford says their cars are safe and already pass the highest crash-test standards in the industry. But the parents of the sisters who were killed are speaking out to try to get the shields on all three of these regular everyday models.
You will meet the parents tonight on "ANDERSON COOPER 360," when we will have a full report.
ZAHN: All right, Susan, so Ford is saying that most of these accidents have been high-speed, high-energy crashes with such force that a gas tank in any kind of car could fail. So, can the shields really prevent these deaths?
CANDIOTTI: Well, they have for police. Ford's own tests show the shields do work in high speed accidents. It ran tests at 75 miles an hour before approving the shields for police and Ford says the tanks held up with that extra protection.
ZAHN: And beyond the limo and police deaths in the past, have there been every day drivers who died?
CANDIOTTI: Yes, Paula. One case in Illinois, the death of an elderly man went to trial last year. This was a slightly different case, about a tool in the trunk that went through the gas tank. Ford did develop a trunk storage pack for police. And the jury felt ford should have told the public about that too. The jury returned a verdict for almost $44 million in damages against Ford.
ZAHN: A lot of money, Susan Candiotti, thanks. One more thing to add about the Ford story and this happens to be an unrelated development that happened today. The company announced a major restructuring and massive cost saving plan closing 14 factories in North America and cutting between 25 and 30,000 jobs.
Coming up next, a vanishing breed, the school nurse.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COHEN: Can one nurse really cover 5,000 students in six schools?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No. Absolutely not.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZAHN: Could a shortage of medical professionals in schools put your children in danger?
And still ahead, see how this former stripper and porn star is bringing the word of God to her former colleagues in the sex trade.
ZAHN: Now to an alarming trend in the nation's schools. And the odds are this involves a school perhaps in your own neighborhood. Every parent's top concern is for the safety of their children. But in almost half the nation's schools there is no full time school nurse. No one on duty specially trained to handle a critical medical emergency. And that could have deadly consequences as you're about to see.
Medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen has been looking into the problem. Here she is now with tonight's "Eye Opener".
MELISSA ASSAEL, DAUGHTER HAS DIABETES: A little chilly, kids. Give me your finger.
COHEN: Melissa Assael tests her daughter's blood sugar one last time before school starts.
M. ASSAEL: Perfect right now but we'll have to give you a little something to get through snack, okay?
COHEN: Nervous that Katie's blood sugar level might plunge, Melissa gives her one final instruction.
M. ASSAEL: I want you to check your blood at 9:00.
COHEN: Katie has diabetes and after her mother leaves.
M. ASSAEL: Bye, Katie. I love you.
COHEN: The 6-year-old to a great extent is on her own. And that has her parents scared.
(on camera): Did you both grow up with a school nurse in your school?
M. ASSAEL: Yes. I did.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah.
COHEN: Were you surprised to hear your daughter's school wouldn't have one?
M. ASSAEL: I was shocked.
COHEN (voice-over): But that's the way it is these days at many schools around the country. In California, where Katie lives on any given day, 70 percent of the students don't have a nurse at their school. That's according to the California School Nurse's Organization.
(on camera): While she's at school what is the big worry in the back of your mind?
M. ASSAEL: Many worries but sometimes even when she has low blood sugar, she gets too low, her body doesn't recognize it. And it is just so dangerous. She can pass out. And they wouldn't know how to care for her.
COHEN: Does Katie worry about Katie while she's at school?
M. ASSAEL: Katie definitely worries about Katie.
COHEN (voice-over): And Katie isn't the only one who is worried.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Tell me what kind of medications is he on.
COHEN: This is registered nurse Kathy Gabe. She splits her time between Katie's school and five others.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. Off I go.
COHEN: Half a day here, half a day there, driving from one school to another.
(on camera): In all you take care of how many students?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My case load is approximately 5,000 students.
COHEN: Can one nurse really cover 5,000 students in six schools?
NANCY SPRADLING, CALIFORNIA SCHOOL NURSES' ORGANIZATION: No. Absolutely not. COHEN (voice-over): And as the number of school nurses continues to decrease, the number of children with chronic illnesses continues to rise.
(on camera): So there are more sick kids these days.
COHEN: And fewer school nurses.
COHEN: Many fewer.
COHEN: Many fewer.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How are you doing?
COHEN: Gary McHenry is the superintendent of schools in Katie's district. He agrees that one nurse for six schools isn't enough but he says there is nothing he can do. Could you hire more school nurses if you wanted to?
GARY MCHENRY, SUPERINTENDENT, MT. DIABLO SCHOOL DISTRICT: No.
COHEN: Because the money is not there.
MCHENRY: Just not there. With the funding that we have, we have to put the money into teachers first. Safety second. And nursing and counseling services is less of a priority in terms of the money. So I would say to those parents that are angry that they have to put pressure on legislators to provide more funding for schools so that can happen.
COHEN: Nationally there are many overworked nurses like Kathy. Statistics in regulations vary from state to state and district to district. But according to a 2004 National Association of School Nurses survey, nurses take care of nearly twice as many students as they're supposed to under federal guidelines.
KATHY GABE, SCHOOL NURSE: Don't feel hot. I'll have you sit in a chair over there. How about you, young man?
COHEN: Kathy does what she can. On any given day, she's taking care of children with cerebral palsy, epilepsy, diabetes, and headaches and fevers.
GABE: Go ahead and put that under your tongue.
I love my job. And there are days I feel overwhelmed because there was so much to do and not enough time to do it and not enough answers. And those are the days that I leave and I go, you know, I'm worried about that child.
COHEN: Of course Kathy can't be at six schools at one time so what happens when there is an emergency. These days at many schools, when a child has a terrible allergic reaction or a child has an asthma attack who is there to take care of them?
GABE: Our secretaries.
COHEN: That's right. The secretary. The same person who takes attendance, registers new students and answers the phones is handling medical problems.
GABE: The minute they say my throat is tight, can't swallow, you give them the Epipen.
COHEN: Today Kathy teaches to secretaries how to handle severe allergic reactions.
(on camera): So you're expected to handle kids who have seizures ...
MARY SHEPHERD, SCHOOL SECRETARY: Who have fallen and broken something who have destroyed their hands in wood shop, all that kind of stuff.
COHEN: And you're a secretary.
SHEPHERD: Last time I looked, yeah.
COHEN: You have no medical training.
SHEPHERD: Nope. I'm just a mom.
COHEN: Does that seem right to you that a secretary should be asked to handle shock?
SHEPHERD: No. Not at all.
COHEN: Are you surprised there aren't more accidents?
SRPADLING: I think that it is an accident waiting to happen. I think that if not tomorrow or next week, then, you know, it could be in six months, but kids are going to die. Kids are going to die. And kids have died.
COHEN: Linda Gonzalez (ph) has seen what can happen when the school nurse isn't there.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I got a call and they told me that Philip had collapsed.
COHEN: When Linda's 11-year-old son Philip had an asthma attack at school, the nurse was at another school. The staff tried but couldn't help him. They called 911. Linda rushed to the hospital but her son was already dead.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I miss him. He was my baby. If the nurse would have been there at school, she could have helped Philip.
COHEN: Katie Assael knows all too well what to expect in an emergency. KATIE ASSAEL, HAS DIABETES: I would have to take a shot.
COHEN: Who gives you the shot while you're at school?
K. ASSAEL: My mom.
COHEN: Melissa is back at school just a few hours after dropping Katie off. Worried Katie's sugar is too low she does another check. After Melissa leaves, Katie will check it again herself.
M. ASSAEL: If you feel low anytime before lunch time, will you check it again?
K. ASSAEL: Mm-hmm.
COHEN: Is a big responsibility for a six-year-old.
M. ASSAEL: It could truly be a matter of life or death. It should be the nurse that does it, not the teacher, not the secretary, not Katie alone.
COHEN: But with nurse Kathy Gabe only at Katie's school half a day a week, it is up to Melissa to check on her daughter.
M. ASSAEL: I never know what it is going to be and it is a constant worry. Constant worry.
ZAHN: Talk about added parental responsibility, Elizabeth. Let's go back to the secretaries for a moment. Are they then asked to do the kind of medical procedures a nurse would do?
COHEN (on camera): They do in some ways do a lost the procedures that a nurse would be expected to do. However, by law they can't do some. For example, by law they can't give injections. So several times a week sometimes Katie will need an insulin shot in the middle of the day and no one at the school is allowed to give it unless the nurse happens to be there which she usually isn't. The staff can't so what do they do? They have to call Katie's mother. That means Katie's mother has to stay within two miles of that school day in and day out every minute of every school day. And as she said to us, what happens if I get stuck in traffic? What do they do? What happens if I have to take a job that is more than two miles away? She would really be stuck.
ZAHN: I don't think many of us could ever imagine that it is like to live that way. Elizabeth Cohen, thank you for calling our attention to the story. Important issue for all of us to debate.
When he come back, what is an ex-stripper and porn actress doing trying to save her former colleagues in the sex industry.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It really started hitting me that nobody cares about them. Nobody. I started really thinking like, does anybody reaching out to these girls?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZAHN: One woman's crusade.
And a little bit later on, one man's solution to the dating dilemma. Hint, it is all about the eyes. Check 'em out.
ZAHN: And we're moving up on just about 15 minutes before the hour. Time to check in with Larry King to figure out what he's doing this evening. It's about 15 minutes from now, so Larry, who is joining you.
LARRY KING, CNN HOST: Well, Paula, an old friend of yours as well, former President George Herbert Walker Bush will be with us discussing his trip to Pakistan over earthquake relief. Lots of other things too. And Reverend Robert Schuler who yesterday left his famed Crystal Cathedral Church and turned it over to his son, Reverend Robert A. Schuller so the Schullers, father and son, will follow President Bush all at top of the hour, Paula?
ZAHN: That is going to be a pretty emotional thing for father to hand over responsibilities like that to his son.
KING: Sure will.
ZAHN: We'll be watching to see what he has to say about that, thanks Larry.
KING: Thank you, dear. I thought you were wearing black like me today --
ZAHN: We had that matching thing going on Friday and I decided to break the pattern tonight. Have a good show.
KING: I'm depressed.
ZAHN: Don't be depressed. I'll wear black tomorrow.
ZAHN: That made no sense at all.
We'll move on now to story that I think you'll probably be surprised by. Sheer a woman that has been a stripper, a porn star and now she happens to be on a mission and certainly not one that any of us would ever expect. Heather Veitch is about to guide you through the seedy world where she used to make a living. Before a personal loss changed her life. She still prowls the strip joints but with a very different goal in mind. Here's Kareen Wynter.
WYNTER: It is after dark on one of the grittiest street corners in Southern California. Heather Veitch goes work.
HEATHER VEITCH, JC'S GIRLS: Doing something that is risky dangerous that you don't know what is going to happen to you.
WYNTER: Although she knows this world very well, it is impossible for Heather to feel at home here. The former stripper and adult film star says the business almost killed her. Her poison -- the magnetic draw of the glitzy Las Vegas strip. Easy money and celebrity clients. But the wild night life and ties to trouble 21- year-old from Los Angeles into a world of sex, alcohol and sometimes violence. Heather says she feared for her life, addicted to alcohol and subjected to abuse by her customers. But it was the death of a close friend that drove her out of the business.
VEITCH: About three years ago a dear friend of mine passed away that I used to dance with. And I found out that she died of alcoholism.
WYNTER: Heather eventually gave up the bottle and quit the sex industry. But didn't abandon it. Her new journey took her right back to the strip joints. But with a new focus. A spiritual one. She turned to Christianity for redemption.
VEITCH: So God, I just pray that you be in charge of this night.
WYNTER: Heather formed a missionary group, Jesus Christ's Girls.
VEITCH: It really started hitting anyway nobody cares about them. Nobody. I started really thinking like is anybody reaching out to these girls?
WYNTER: Several former strippers joined her crusade, a unique but risky outreach program that involves late night trips into some very rough neighborhoods. .we went out on a mission with JC's Girls but they wouldn't let our cameras follow them into strip clubs because they want their meetings to be confidential and safe.
VEITCH: We don't want to endanger ourselves and we don't want to create too much attention to what we're doing.
WYNTER: Inside, Heather and her crew split up.
(on camera): They even go as far as paying for private lap dances. And that's where the group's ministry begins, by preaching to these dancers.
TANYA HUERTER, JC'S GIRLS: It is simply planting a seed, getting the message out there because a lot of the girls don't hear that they can know about God. And so just by planting the seed that they can know about God if they want to doesn't matter who you are or what your life is about.
WYNTER (voice-over): JC's Girls have taken their message right into the lion's den ark tending international porn conventions where they hand out bibles wrapped in signature t-shirts.
VEITCH: You can come and start going to church and having a relationship with God.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No way.
VEITCH: Yeah. That's what we do.
WYNTER: It is an unlikely place to promote religion but she believes this is where she'll find people that need it.
VEITCH: We try to make it so that if you ever want to go to church ...
WYNTER: Not everyone here agrees.
CHRISSY, ADULT ENTERTAINER: They come to a porn convention and them to think they have to save us is kind of - kind ofgets you out of the mood. It is like why are you even here?
WYNTER: Carol Leigh, a former prostitute, who now heads her own nonreligious outreach program in San Francisco doesn't approve.
CAROL LEIGH, SEX WORKER ADVOCATE: To couch it in a specific religious framework, I think that's problematic. And to make -- to point finger at these women and tell them there is something wrong with them, I don't think that's necessarily the best things for their lives.
WYNTER: Some people associated with the sex industry think Heather's ministry is harmless.
JOHN WESTON, ENTERTAINMENT ATTORNEY: The notion they're going weed them out or somehow lead them out of bondage, to me it is just silly.
VEITCH: Thursday, January 19th at 12:30.
WYNTER: Heather Veitch, who now styles hair for a living, has no illusions that she will bring down a multibillion dollar sex industry. But she thinks she can make a difference. Part of it is a successful Christian Web site she runs out of her bedroom. There are desperate emails from girls looking for help.
VEITCH: I have been dancing for a year now but I'm about to be 21 and I don't want to be a drunk.
WYNTER: Heather now has kids and a husband but says her spiritual family is still growing.
VEITCH: I have hope for my life. I have a lot of hope for my own life because I know that my life consists of good. Of watching people change their lives, of seeing people have hope that didn't have hope before.
WYNTER: One of those people is stripper Roxann Elias who is now in a place she never imagined would embrace her, a church.
ROXANN ELIAS, EXOTIC DANCER: Made me happy. I don't feel worthless. I feel like even though I'm a dancer, God loves me and it is OK. I'm OK with my life. I can do something else.
WYNTER: Heather Veitch says her new calling will keep her on the streets. Trying to lead others away from the life she has escaped. Kareen Wynter, CNN, Los Angeles.
ZAHN: And coming up next could this be the next big thing in dating?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Look at one of your target's eyes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZAHN: Is three minutes of staring into someone's eyes all you really need to know about a date? Does he love me or does very something stuck in that eye? Find out when we come back.
ZAHN: So I don't know how comfortable any of you feel having someone staring at you. I was a bit surprised to find out that eye gazing is now the latest thing in blind dates. Our Jeanne Moos looked into it.
JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It may look like couples having a bad night with nothing to say. But, hey, they're eyes are doing the talking.
MICHAEL ELLSBERG, EYEGAZING PARTNERS.COM: People ask me, are you allowed to blink. Yes.
MOOS: They call it eye gazing. You spend three minutes gazing into a stranger's eyes. And then you switch partners.
ELLSBERG: It is going to be really weird for about 30 seconds.
MOOS: Michael Ellsberg dreamed up eye gazing because he was sick of dating conversations that goes like this.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So you work here in the city?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I work here in the city.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Where do you live now?
MOOS: Eye gazing is supposed to be a deeper connection. Think of it as a cross between speed dating ...
MOOS: And the staremaster competition. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stare.
MOOS: Where contestants try not to blink for as long as 18 minutes while eyes tear and noses run. Maybe you would want to run rather than gaze into a stranger's eyes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Beautiful.
MOOS: But that didn't deter 70 singles from showing up for what was only the second eye gazing party ever.
(on camera): You don't seem like a guy that would be quiet for three minutes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm a New York City tour guide. I talk for a living it is nice to meet a whole series of beautiful women and not have to say a word.
MOOS (voice-over): First, every mingle over drinks and then eye gazing tips.
ELLSBERG: Take both of your eyes and look at one of your partner's eyes.
MOOS: My first guy was a blinker. The tour guide couldn't resist making faces. His partner suppressed a smile and ended up practically cross eyed.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Troublemaker.
MOOS: By my fifth guy, I was thinking if the eyes are the windows to the soul, I need blinds. By the eighth guy - it is exhausting, though, isn't it?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah, it is.
MOOS: Sorry, there were no stories of love at first gaze. Still ...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I thought it was pretty good. Probably connected with like three out of ten.
MOOS (on camera): Did you gaze or didn't gaze?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We did.
MOOS: How did you do?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I thought we had a good gaze.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The music makes a big difference.
MOOS (voice-over): A song like this would be far too obvious.
MOOS: But apparently it wasn't heaven to be touched is.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was standoffish about that. I wasn't really feeling it. It was a little awkward.
MOOS: The first rule of eye gazing, forget hand and eye coordination, Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.
ZAHN: That hand-eye coordination all gets in the way of things doesn't it?
Coming up at the top of the hour, former President Bush is Larry King's guest. We will be right back.
ZAHN: And that wraps it up for all of us here. Thanks so much for joining us tonight. See you again tomorrow night.
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