by Lindalyn Kakadelis
Executive Director, North Carolina Coalition for Charter Schools
Last week, my daughter enrolled her daughter in a traditional NC public school system’s kindergarten. We both were a little taken back at the invasive Health Assessment Form required. When I was on the Charlotte Mecklenburg School Board back in the late 1990’s, a parent was required to submit a birth certificate, proof of residence, and immunizations. Now parents must submit the child’s medical evaluation RESULTS to the system. Even more concerning is the “Parental Consent” statement:
“Parental Consent: I agree to allow my child’s health care provider and school personnel to discuss information on this form and allow the Department of Health and Human Services to collect and analyze information from this form to better understand health needs of children in NC. Signature: _________________ Date:_________”
My daughter refused to sign the statement, which gives any school personnel and the child’s health care provider permission to discuss intimate medical information the form includes (see all two pages of the form!). The discussion can happen without the parent being present.
After 20 minutes of “passing the call” to several offices, my daughter was told she did NOT have to sign the statement in order for her child to be enrolled. These questions remain: Why is the statement on the form? Why doesn’t the form state the consent as “optional” if parents don’t have to sign? How many parents realize they are signing away their child’s confidential medical information, and their parental rights?
The NC General Statute 130A-440 requires a health assessment, and General Statute 130A-441 gives the Department of Health and Human Services and Department of Public Instruction the authority to create the form to be used. However, the form goes far beyond what the law requires. The form should require evidence that a medical health assessment was completed on the child, not reporting of specific, confidential medical data.
However, this does explain how DPI expects to gain information from the child’s pediatrician as it develops each “child’s profile.” At the February’s State Board of Education meeting, members were given a presentation on the new Kindergarten – Third Grade Assessment. On slide #11, the presentation clearly states the assessment will include data from “teachers, parents, and pediatricians.”
Oh, by the way, HB13 proposes to require EVERY child entering a North Carolina Government School to have the form completed for their “official record.” Wonder if, or when, General Assembly members will request to SEE the form required?