Sacramento, CA – One of the largest school districts in the Sacramento area is quietly moving to revise its student absence policy to make clear that parents will not be notified if their children in grades 7-12 leave school to get "confidential medical services," such as abortions, contraceptives and drug abuse counseling.
Pacific Justice Institute has learned that last week, the school board of San Juan Unified held an initial hearing to revise the district's student absence policy. School officials have acknowledged that, currently, decisions are left to individual school counselors, nurses or administrators as to whether parents are notified when their children miss school for "confidential medical services." The new proposal would make clear that parents of 7th-12th graders would not be informed in such instances. Only one board member, Dr. Larry Masuoka, questioned the proposed policy change. A final vote is scheduled for the next board meeting on November 17.
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Similar attempts by school board members in Modesto and Fairfield-Suisun within the last few months stirred such intense opposition from parents that the proposals were defeated. A similar, pending proposal in Thousand Oaks is also meeting stiff opposition from parents and community members. Pacific Justice Institute will be offering legal analysis to the school board of San Juan Unified in support of parental notification. PJI has provided similar counsel to several other school boards that have ultimately decided not to hide students' medical decisions from parents. PJI ally Capitol Resource Institute has also been instrumental in rallying parents to oppose “confidential medical services" policies.
PJI President Brad Dacus lives in the San Juan Unified School District. He commented, "It is wrong for a school district to hide students' medical needs from their parents, who are morally and legally responsible for them. Fortunately for parents and voters, there is still a small window of time to contact the San Juan school board and oppose this proposal before it becomes official district policy." For more information on the upcoming school board meeting, parents should contact Pacific Justice Institute.