School trustees sent a controversial policy to change what San Diego Unified staff tells parents of pregnant teens — and how — back to the drawing board Tuesday night, after members of Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union cited legal and practical concerns.
The current policy requires school staffers to notify parents if a student is pregnant or planning an abortion, and clashes with a 2004 state attorney general’s opinion that bans schools from requiring parental notification before students leave campus for confidential reproductive healthcare.
“The policies you have before you are very close to completed work,” said Vince Hall, vice president of public affairs for Planned Parenthood of San Diego and Imperial counties. “But there’s a very serious defect.”
Hall and other critics complained that the proposed policy still allowed school staff to contact parents if doing so would “avert a clear and present danger to the health, safety or welfare of the minor student.” That would violate privacy protections for pregnant women, they said, and could discourage teens from seeking medical care or counseling from a school nurse.
Assemblyman Joel Anderson, R-El Cajon, opposed the proposal for the opposite reason: Parents should always be notified if a student is pregnant, he said in a press conference Tuesday, just before the school board met.
Legal counsel consulted by the school district agreed to rewrite the policy, taking the groups’ concerns into account, after board members echoed their comments.
“We wanted input,” said school counsel Ted Buckley. “The goal here is to get it right.”
A revised policy is slated to go up for a vote in January.