Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Ultimate Conflict of Interest

In public schools, the faculty workspace is a place to plan, grade, and gossip about students.  Teachers share stories about which kids are on drugs, which are pregnant, which are in jail, which ones scare us...  And sometimes one can hear someone say something like, "Really, some people should be made to get a license to spawn." Obviously, the teachers making that last statement think they should be allowed to choose who can and cannot have children.  And the National Education Association supports that position:

"The National Education Association supports family planning, including the right to reproductive freedom. The Association urges the government to give high priority to making available all methods of family planning to women and men unable to take advantage of private facilities. The Association also urges the implementation of community-operated, school-based family planning clinics that will provide intensive counseling by trained personnel." ( states this is part of a 462 page handbook used by the NEA.  Full disclosure:  The NEA website does not register any hits on this language.  It may have been removed from the NEA handbook.)

So there are teachers, 'caring for our children,' while advocating to ensure that there are fewer children in the future.  The recent federal health care legislation has provided more funds for in-school health clinics.  These clinics are allowed to provide a broad range of physical and mental health services.  In the Omaha Public Schools, the enrollment and consent form for use of the health clinics reads in part:

"The Health Center will also provide immunizations, dental services, behavioral health services and make appropriate referrals to other providers. The Health Center will attempt to coordinate care with your child’s primary care provider."

The use of the word 'attempt' is  profound.  If the care provider gets a busy signal, does that qualify as an attempt?  What if the parent is in a meeting, doesn't have a cell phone, or a primary care provider?  Some parents will avoid responding to any kind of contact from the teacher or the school.  This is a fact. There are bad parents.

This simple form gives complete parental health care rights to the school and those who work there. We are all aware of the excuse that abortion is necessary for the purpose of saving the mother's mental health.  We all know that our government and its agencies pay for and promote abortion.  It would be illogical to assume that school-based health clinics would not at least recommend abortion services  to children who have been turned over to their care.  There are documented cases of this happening already. (From about a year ago...)

Further, The school nurses are given a great deal of  leeway in providing students with health services even without a waiver or an in-school clinic:

"Omaha Public School nurses are registered nurses and are professionally educated.  Our mission is to promote the physical and emotional status of students to maximize the educational process.
Optimal learning requires good health.  The school nurse is the best person to provide this service.  Please contact the school nurse whenever you have questions or concerns related to your child's health or safety...

School health services are a significant component in a continuum of care from the family to the community care system. This continuum is necessary to maintain students’ health thereby promoting optimal participation in their educational process."

A pregnancy sure could inhibit "optimal participation" in the classroom. And no, there are no direct links to Planned Parenthood  from any of these websites.  But it would be naive to think that such a referral would not take place.   

I applaud the work of people like Lila Rose, who hits the front lines to expose the lack of health care taking place in "Women's Clinics" and Planned Parenthood facilities.  But by the time our children are there, the damage has been done.  

We also need to focus on who is teaching our children.  We also need to focus on what they are being taught in schools.  We also need to focus on who is providing health care to those students who have uninvolved parents.

I am appalled that a school system would state that a school nurse is the "best person"  to provide physical and emotional health care to students.  Surely, that is the job of parents.  The school nurse should be a default position.

Finally, the existing health clinics in Omaha are in the most impoverished schools.  These schools serve our most recent immigrants, most of the African-American population, the highest English as a Second Language populations, and the highest special needs populations.  The parents of children in these schools are most likely to need free health services, and least likely to understand the implications of abdicating their rights.  That is probably the point.  As Margaret Sanger, founder of Planned Parenthood, once said:

Our failure to segregate morons who are increasing and multiplying
... demonstrates our foolhardy and extravagant sentimentalism ...
(The Pivot of Civilization , 1922. Chapter on "The Cruelty of Charity," pages 116, 122, and 189. Swarthmore College Library edition.)

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