by Lindalyn Kakadelis
Executive Director, North Carolina Coalition for Charter Schools
In April I wrote about an invasive Health Assessment Form required for students entering kindergarten. Well, the General Assembly finally SAW the form developed by DHHS and DPI, and made MAJOR changes.
House Bill 13 started off by simply requiring the form to be used by any student entering North Carolina public schools, not just kindergarten students. After six editions, the bill now states exactly WHAT information the form can collect from parents and doctors. The health assessment transmittal form shall include ONLY the items listed in Section 3, page 2. This information is reasonable and much less intrusive.
The “Parent Consent” giving schools direct contact with doctors, leaving parents out of the loop, was completely removed.
The bill is also clear on what happens to the information on the form:
The form will be maintained on file in the school once it has been submitted. A student’s official school record shall only reflect whether or not a health assessment transmittal form has been received. The health assessment transmittal form shall be open to inspection only by authorized North Carolina public school administrators, teachers, and other school personnel who require such access to perform their assigned duties. These personnel shall maintain the confidentiality of the form. Information contained on the health assessment transmittal form is confidential and is not a public record within the meaning of G.S. 132-1. The local board of education shall provide, upon request, de-identified health assessment information from the forms to authorized employees of the Department of Health and Human Services who require such information to perform their assigned duties.
HB 13 has passed through both the House and Senate, and now simply waits a signature by the Governor. Thank you to our General Assembly for seeing the problem and making sure DHHS and DPI do not overreach their authority in gathering private information that is not necessary.