Vista Parental Notification Policy Cannot Be Justified

Policy Puts Students’ Health and Safety at Risk

Last night, Vista Unified School District trustees voted to require school offiicals to notify parents before excusing students seeking confidential medical appointments.

The following statement can be attributed to David Blair-Loy, legal director of the ACLU of San Diego & Imperial Counties:

With this action the Vista School Board has not only defied the laws of the state of California, but they have needlessly put vulnerable teenagers in serious danger. School nurses and counselors and the California Supreme Court have all agreed that teens have a right to access certain medical services without their parents’ permission because their safety is our highest priority.

Students of the Vista Unified School District who may be struggling with a drug or alcohol addiction, contemplating suicide, victimized by rape or incest, or are having unprotected intercourse have now been put at risk.

This illegal and inflexible policy naively assumes that all families are healthy and all parents are helpful. But in the real world some teens have legitimate fear of abuse or expulsion from the home, which often leads them to ignore serious mental or physical health issues.

Everyone agrees that a parent’s involvement in their children’s health care is usually for the good, but Vista Unified has decided to force vulnerable teens from dangerous homes to avoid abusive parents by avoiding medical care. That is a policy which simply cannot be justified.

Read our letter to the Vista School Board advising against this course of action.