Notifying the folks? KISS (Keep it simple, Susan)
In response to Susan Rogers article on March 21, I was both angered and humored. I recently became outraged when I learned that any kid could leave campus (closed campus, no-less) to obtain confidential medical services without a parent’s knowledge.
These services include obtaining the birth control pill, the morning after pill, treatment for sexually transmitted diseases, and limited drugs for depression. Oh, did I forget to mention abortion?
While it is true these same kids can get all these lovely services after school, I’m just contending I don’t want my kids to be tempted to get these services while in school. Wow. We are led to the false assumption that the schools are overly-conscientious when the students can’t take a tylenol, can’t take a sex-ed class, or ride home on the school bus with another kid without a signed and returned consent, but can leave simply if he/she states for “confidential medical services.”
This leads to a false impression that the schools are overly-conscientious of our children’s welfare or whereabouts. Susan, we’re not talking about perfect families, about what constitutes a family, or about neglected children. All we’re talking about is the reasonable expectation that when we drop our kids off at school that they will stay there unless we are notified otherwise. This is simple, Susan. Who’s got the agenda? Who’s paranoid?
I have a hunch this would not be an issue if the parents had been notified properly at the beginning of the year. I was recently ridiculed by an ativist paper in Nevada County that I ignorantly overlooked the current policy. I guess most of us are ignorant, then, because of the dozens of parents I’ve talked to, not one of them has known of the current Nevada Union High School District policy.
What parent do you know of that would say “whatever, no problem, let ’em leave if they want to leave to get their birth control pills or their abortion.” Hmmm, signed-returned consent is the least we could expect!
When I called (district superintendent Maggie) Deetz to find out the current school district policy, she said they are only following the state law. When I spoke with (Pleasant Ridge Union School District superintedent Jim) Meshwert, he said there was no way he’d let a kid off campus without parental knowledge or consent.
I continued my investigation and spoke with Vicky Sawyer, state Attorney General Bill Lockyer’s personal secretary, and she said that Lockyer was only issuing an “opinion,” that the schools have “wide powers to adopt policies as they see fit,” as evidenced by our own Nevada County schools. Mrs. Deetz told me I was “barking up the wrong tree.”
That is when I contacted Capital Resource Institute and Sue Horne to help me get the word out. I learned that schools in Roseville, Rocklin, Folsom and Fairfield now have parent -friendly policies thanks to the help of Capital Resource Institute. I am not afraid to use the words parent-friendly and pro-family because they are true words and characterizations. If my kid got off campus without my knowledge to obtain an abortion and then the birth control pill or any other “confidential medical service,” then yes, that is undermining my parenting and that is not parent-friendly.
And as for the child who was self-cutting, suicidal, and I believe raped by her father (her friend testified at the recent board meeting), the schools were required by law to report this at-risk youth to CPS. CPS, like the schools, is not perfect and we all need to do our part to help bad systems work better.
Keep making my point for me, Susan. My husband and I took in a foster girl at age 11 who was suicidal, her mother was a meth addict, and she was already experimenting with boys and alcohol. Now she has nearly a 3.0 GPA and is on the Bear River High School tennis team as a happy youth.
It is my commitment to her and my other children to see that they not easily tempted or have easy-access to services, etc. I feel it is because of these fairly strict conditions, at least in part, that has contributed to her success. Mentor, do foster care, work with CPS, but don’t” dumb down” schools to achieve these goals.
Thirty school districts in California now have parent-friendly policies. Write to the district school board members and let them know of your concerns here in Nevada County. Their Web address is http://www.nuhsd.org (click on board of trustees then click on “our staff”).
Jean Finney Gregory is a resident of Grass Valley. She has worked with Caring About Kids in Auburn as a teenage mentor and also as a court-appointed advocate for youth in the CASA Program. She is now a foster mom, a part-time registered nurse for Kaiser in-home health and hospice and a parent of three teenagers.
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