It’s interesting to reflect on which issues schools consider worthy of a note home to parents and which they don’t. In March, I wrote about a Pennsylvania school that sent a permission slip home alerting caregivers that their children would be modeling plate tectonics using (heavens!) Oreos. Contrast that with the actions of the “governors” at a school in Hull, England, who allowed city workers to administer a contraceptive implant to a 12-year-old girl without notifying her parents.
In fact, an entire year passed before Bernadette Jessop learned that her daughter, Layla Rylands, had received the hormone-releasing implant. Upon discovering what had transpired, Jessop was incredulous. She told the Mirror:
I felt sick. The school asked not long ago for consent for her to watch a film about sex. I didn’t give it until I knew what it contained, yet I don’t get the chance to consent to the implant?
According to the article, the school Layla attends — Ashwell Academy — is for students with “complex needs.” Sexual health workers from the city council visited the school in 2014 to teach students about contraception. While there, the workers took it upon themselves to implant the matchstick-sized rod under the skin of any girl who seemed “competent” to decide on the procedure. Apparently, Layla was the lone candidate.
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“How can you deem a child with problems competent?” Jessop asked.
Implantation of the device can cause irregular bleeding along with other serious side effects, including nausea and jaundice.
Eunice Evans, who chairs the school’s governors, said that the measure was taken to ensure the welfare of the students. She told the Hull Daily Mail, a local newspaper:
The academy has a duty of care towards its students, some of whom are extremely vulnerable, and their health and wellbeing is of the highest concern to us.
While we cannot comment on individual cases, the academy would wish to assure parents that any request from a student to meet with the school nurse team is dealt with in line with procedures adopted by all schools.
As with any other professional healthcare consultation, the subject for discussion is confidential between the student and school nurse, therefore, we trust the health professionals to act in accordance within their own protocols and guidelines.
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