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op-ed: Howard County School Board in Maryland Is Breaking The Law

By KJ Mullins     Feb 7, 2008 in World
One of Maryland's education systems is breaking the law when it comes to pregnant teenagers attending high school. Howard County school officials are notifying parents when students reveal they are pregnant.
“There’s no question this will have a chilling effect on kids coming forward,” said County Health Officer Peter Beilenson. “It’s going to slow down health care.”
In Maryland students have the right to make medical decisions independently of their parents. The minor consent law that applies to those who are younger than 18 says that teens do not have to inform their parents to receive health services. This includes pregnancy testing, contraceptives and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases.
“We wanted to make it clear: If the student does not tell the parents, the school system will advise the parents,” Aquino said. “Parents have a right to that information.”
Mark Blom, the system’s general counsel, said school health offices should not be regarded as clinical settings, where the state’s minor consent law would apply.
The school board is taking the law into it's own hands and taking away the rights of those that they educate. In certain circumstances they are playing a potentially deadly game which is way there is a act that allows youth to seek medical services without their parents permission.
As a parent I would love to have every bit of information that concerns my children's health but I also understand that there could come a time when some of their health needs are none of my business. Not only that by having to have permission for those needs they may not seek treatment. The lesser of the two evils is to make sure that treatment is there for minors even if parents are not aware of it.
I am a fairly liberal parent, others may not be as much. We have all heard of kids being kicked out of their homes for various reasons that ultimately have to do with sex. This is just one reason why there are laws in effect to protect kids.
Children are a parent's concern, as is their health matters. But, and this is a big but, there is a time when a child has to act as a grown up if they are making adult decisions such as having sexual relations. In these cases they should be allowed to continue those adult behaviors with health care.
Just my opinion.
More about Maryland, Minor health care, School Board
 
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