State Senator Steve Knight, R-Antelope Valley, recently introduced legislation that he believes would provide security to parents when they drop their children off at school each morning.
Existing state law allows children as young as 12 to leave school to seek confidential medical services without consent or even knowledge of a parent or guardian. Not only does this put young children at risk when traveling to and from appointments, but it assumes a child between the ages of 12-15 are able to make thoughtful and informed decisions regarding major procedures without input of a trusted adult or mentor.
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“Current law has allowed school districts to dismiss children during the school day without any supervision to make doctor appointments. This lack of accountability is frightening,” Knight said.
Senate Bill 312 prevents children under the age of 16 from leaving school without parental notification to seek any confidential medical service. By increasing the age at which students are allowed to leave campus to 16, California is taking a significant step towards ensuring the safety of our children, according to Knight.
“If a 12-year-old comes up to a mandatory reporter (teacher or school administrator) and says, ‘I need to go get medical treatment’ and you do not inquire, I think that’s an issue,” he said. “If that 12-year-old was engaged in something that is illegal, might be a sex act, I think there should be some sort of investigation.”
Currently, school districts are forced to remain silent when a child is excused from campus unsupervised to undergo complex medical procedures (such as treating sexually transmitted diseases or even abortion) while their parent believes they are at school.
“This legislation takes significant steps forward in assuring parents of their children’s safely during school hours,” Knight said. “Ensuring the safety of students must be the schools top priority.”
Parents have long-argued for measures such as SB 312 to ensure the safety and supervision of their children. This measure is currently in the Senate Committee on Rules awaiting referral to a committee for policy considerations.
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