School Board Votes Unanimously to Let Students Leave School for Confidential Medical Appointments, Bringing District Into Compliance with State Law
Students in the San Diego public schools will no longer need their parents permission when leaving school for confidential medical appointments.
The March 30 decision by the school board brings the district into compliance with state law, which allows students to leave school for specific appointments deemed "confidential" under the law. They include appointments related to mental health and reproductive health care, such as counseling, birth control, pregnancy, and abortion.
Child advocacy organizations like NCYL see this as a significant development in support of improved access to health care for adolescents. NCYL has been working in school districts throughout the state to protect adolescents' access to care, with mixed success.
Rebecca Gudeman, a senior attorney at NCYL who heads up the Center's Teen Health Rights Initiative, says San Diego's policy is a particularly good model for other districts because it provides guidance to school employees on how to implement the policy. She said it recognizes the critical role parents' play in their children's care, explaining how to encourage students to seek their parents' counsel, and how to prevent students from abusing the policy.
"It is a huge step forward in protecting children's access to care," Gudeman said.