Monday, March 16, 2009

ACLU Moving Kids Closer To Being "Wards Of The State"

ACLU Urges California District to Let Kids Leave School for Medical Treatment Without Parental Consent

The ACLU is threatening to sue a California school district after it changed a policy to require teenagers get parental consent to leave campus for confidential medical services.

The Vista Unified School District board voted unanimously Thursday to change its existing policy that allowed students to be excused for confidential appointments — including abortions — without notifying parents, according to the North County Times.

The ACLU of San Diego County and the National Center for Youth Law claim the new policy violates state law, KPBS reported.

According to lawyers, California allows young people to leave school without parental consent to deal with sexual, mental, substance abuse or reproductive health issues, the station reported.

But school trustees say that depends on how the law is interpreted.

Several parents addressed the board saying under no circumstances would they want their children leaving school without their knowledge, especially to seek medical procedures that could include an abortion, the Times reported.

Others expressed concern over students who face parental abuse.

"Often the kids would rather die than tell their parents," local pediatrician John Rott said. "I think the effect on our most vulnerable children will be a negative one."

ACLU's David Blair Loy told KPBS that Vista is opening itself up to lawsuits and the civil rights group will consider one if the district keeps the policy.

“Any public entity, school district, city government that is actively breaking the law or enacts a policy that violates the law is open to litigation to strike down the policy,” Blair said.

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