The Roseville Joint Union School District board last night voted to overturn a policy that, under state law, allowed seventh- through 12th-grade students to leave school for confidential medical appointments without parental consent, the Sacramento Bee reports. The board voted 3-1 to create a new policy to only excuse student absences with parental consent, despite advice from school district attorneys who said the new rule would violate state law (Rosen, Sacramento Bee, 8/6). Most school districts in California interpret the state law concerning the appointments as a mandate that schools release students for medical appointments related to reproductive health, mental health and substance abuse without notifying their parents. Before last night's decision, district policy permitted dismissal of students for medical appointments without consulting parents in cases where students' health was at risk because they would not seek help otherwise or in cases where students feared their parents would harm them if they knew about the appointment (California Healthline, 8/5). Trustee Kelly Lafferty said that revoking the confidential medical appointment policy would not affect students' ability to seek medical attention without parental consent because they could receive such care outside school hours. Trustee Jim Joiner, the only dissenter in the decision, said the law was "overly liberal" and suggested the board narrow the application of the law so it could still protect students whose parents are abusive or neglectful.
The school district's insurance company, Sierra Self-Insurance Services, did not indicate whether it would continue to insure the district following the change in policy. However, the insurer previously stated that prohibiting students from leaving school for confidential medical appointments could "seriously jeopardize" the district's coverage because the insurer could not provide coverage "when a board intentionally violates education or government codes," the Bee reports (Sacramento Bee, 8/6).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.