Presentation on theme: " S ARAH O RMAN. 1 Discrimination based on PREGNANCY is discrimination based on SEX. Therefore, pregnancy cannot automatically bar a student from."— Presentation transcript:
Discrimination based on PREGNANCY is discrimination based on SEX. Therefore, pregnancy cannot automatically bar a student from ANY school activity or HONOR. See next slide for federal regulation.
“A recipient shall not discriminate against any student, or exclude any student from its education program or activity, including any class or extracurricular activity, on the basis of such student’s pregnancy, childbirth, false pregnancy, termination of pregnancy or recovery therefrom, unless the student requests voluntarily to participate in a separate portion of the program or activity of the recipient.” 34 CFR 106.40(b)(1).
You can require a doctor’s certificate of fitness only if “such a certification is required of all students for other physical or emotional conditions requiring the attention of a physician.” If you offer any separate programs for pregnant students participation must be VOLUNTARY and services must be COMPARABLE. 34 CFR 106.40(b)(2-3).
A student “at risk of dropping out of school” includes any student under 21 who “is pregnant or is a parent.” T.E.C. 29.081(d)(5). All students “at risk” are entitled to “accelerated instruction.” T.E.C. 29.081(b).
PRS: support services including CEHI (compensatory education home instruction) during pregnancy and postpartum period. PRS is optional. But if you choose to offer PRS, it must include CEHI. Weighted funding available (2.41). Detailed rules in SAAH (Student Attendance Accounting Handbook).
An unmarried and pregnant student can consent to “hospital, medical, or surgical treatment, other than abortion, related to the pregnancy.” Texas Family Code 32.003(a)(4). Minors can consent to counseling regarding suicide prevention, chemical addiction or dependency, or “sexual, physical or emotional abuse.” TFC 32.004(a).
Students will often confide in a teacher, coach or other school employee who is not a counselor. The school employee does not need parent consent to have that conversation. It is not “counseling” since the teacher is not a counselor. BUT….see next slides regarding confidentiality.
Students need to understand that information they convey to school personnel that is educationally relevant will very likely be shared with parents. “Confidentiality” concerns do not bar the sharing of information with parents.
“Parents are PARTNERS with educators, administrators, and school district board of trustees in their children’s education.” T.E.C. 26.001(a). Partners share information with each other.
A parent is entitled to “FULL INFORMATION regarding the school activities of a parent’s child” except in child abuse investigations. TEC 26.008(a). “An attempt by any school district employee to ENCOURAGE or coerce a child to WITHHOLD information from the child’s parent is grounds for discipline…” T.E.C. 26.008(b).
If there is a record in any form that indicates that the student is or may be pregnant, the parent is entitled to it upon request. Parents are entitled to “all written records of a school district concerning the parent’s child, including…..(5) counseling records; (6) psychological records; (8) health and immunization information.” T.E.C. 26.004.
This law requiring disclosure to the parent applies to LPCs also, except when the records are “sole possession” records under FERPA and the LPC determines that release of the records would be harmful to the student’s physical, mental or emotional health. Attorney General Opinion JC-0538 (2002).
We can’t withhold important information from the parents. Remember: if the student cites fear of physical, sexual or emotional abuse, the student can get counseling about that without parent consent. But you cannot “refer” the student to an outside counselor without written parent consent. T.E.C. 38.010.
“As a matter of common sense, not constitutional duty, school counselors should encourage communication with parents regarding difficult decisions such as the one involved here.” Arnold v. Board of Education of Escambia County, Alabama, (11 th Cir. 1989) The “difficult decision” alluded to involved the student’s pregnancy.
One school district adopted a policy requiring staff members to inform parents of a student’s pregnancy, if the student failed to do so. Federal district court ruled that this did not violate the privacy rights of the student. Port Washington Teachers Association v. Board of Education of the Port Washington Union Free School District (New York, 2006).
No court has recognized a “right of privacy” for minor students that would prevent disclosure to the parents of a condition that has serious implications for health, welfare and education.
First and most obvious thing to do is to advise the student to inform the parents, promptly. Consider offering to accompany the student to meeting with parents. General rule: Advise the student “if you don’t tell your parents, you leave me no choice: I will tell them.” And move quickly.
The information in this handout was created by Walsh, Anderson, Gallegos, Green and Treviño, P.C. It is intended to be used for general information only and is not to be considered specific legal advice. If specific legal advice is sought, consult an attorney.