Monday , January 03, 2005
SAN FRANCISCO —Does a teenager’s right to privacy trump a parent’s right to know when it comes to abortion? In California, the answer is “yes.”
California schools are forbidden from telling parents when their kids leave class to seek “confidential medical treatment” — including drug counseling and even abortion, according to the state attorney general’s office.
While schools must notify parents of the "Student Confidentiality Policy" (search) at the start of each academic year, the reality is that eighth-graders could end a pregnancy, get an AIDS test or seek treatment for addiction during the school day without their knowledge or consent.
The rule is a shift from previous protocol that encouraged privacy for kids in California public schools but didn’t mandate it. Now, it’s a state law.
State Attorney Gen. Bill Lockyer (search), a Democrat, said the legislation was meant for the small number of children coping with rape or incest who probably wouldn’t be able to talk to a parent but need some way to seek help.
But a growing number of California school districts are ignoring the law and keeping kids on campus unless their parents are first notified. Though the state has threatened to take them to court, some angry moms and dads have vowed to pressure schools to drop the rule.
Click in the box near the top of the story to watch a report by FOX News' Claudia Cowan.