San Diego Unified schools may discard a 20-year-old rule Tuesday that requires school staffers to notify parents if their child was pregnant or planning an abortion.

The old policy contradicts a 2004 ruling by California’s attorney general that prohibits schools from requiring parental notification before students leave campus for confidential reproductive healthcare. The rule sparked controversy when reported on the policy, and its contraction to the state rule, in April. One school counselor complained that it pitted his professional judgment against district policy.

District staffers have proposed two alternative policies for the school board’s consideration Tuesday, both of which generally bar school counselors and nurses from notifying parents about a student’s pregnancy or abortion plans. But the plans allow staff to circumvent the confidentiality rule if telling a parent or guardian would “avert a clear and present danger to the health, safety or welfare of the minor student.” The two policies differ over whether the school principal would be involved in the counselor or nurse’s decision.

Another proposal would grant permission to students in grades 7 through 12 to leave school for confidential medical care, provided that the student gets approval from the school counselor or nurse.

Trustees will vote on the proposed changes Tuesday at a board meeting.


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