Monday, February 13, 2012

State Authorities Press for Access to the Private Medical Records of Minors: Is HIPPAA Violated?

This mother shares her experience with the shifting attitudes of school authorities related to school attendance since the passage of the 2010 school attendance law. The story demonstrates the very dangerous effects on parental authority and the integrity of families when the state constructs policies and procedures that do not honor the natural God-given rights of parents to care for and judge what is best for their children. This mother would prefer to remain anonymous because of fear of retaliation against her by school and state authorities. 

I am a retired widow with a B.S., B.A., B.S.E. and 16 years experience in teaching in the public schools with an "A+" evaluation for effective teaching, and my sons mother. Despite this my judgment to care for my own child has been under scrutiny because of Nebraska's truancy law. My son needs medical care supervised by his own doctors of my and his choosing without government interference or scrutiny. When I hospitalized him several times in 2009 to 2010 and took him out of school for doctor appointments, I was called into a meeting at his school and received letters from the school district and a phone call from the school social worker requiring me to defend my actions.

I was threatened with the possibility of having his medical care removed from my ability as his parent to make medical choices for him based on my knowledge as his mother of his needs according to his doctors. I was told that I had better mend my ways or I would find myself in the county attorney's office and possibly in court. I was rudely told I needed to support my son's education and to stop trying to interfere with it. I do not need to be threatened with losing my parental rights and removal of my child from my home because I am following the direction that his doctors have recommended. Parents, of course, want educated children. To accuse any parent with medical needs children of not wanting educated children is ridiculous but that is what is happening due to this flawed law.

We do not need school personnel and the court system looking over private medical records and deciding if doctors and parental choices are the correct choices for students because these choices were/are taking students out of school more than 10- 20 days in a semester/year. I believe the current truancy Nebraska law that is requiring any parent to defend their family by turning over medical records for the purpose of governmental evaluation or face the disruption of their family is an invasion of privacy and is a direct violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act. My son has a right to privacy. I will not state his diagnosis here because I believe in the right to privacy of medical records. His medical records did and do support his need to be absent from school at that time. I should not be threatened with having to pay legal fees/take action to defend him. All the school should have needed is/was a medical note they received from his doctor(s) verifying he was absent for medical care and that should be the end of it

Parents of medical needs children are not having their needs fully met in public schools in Nebraska. Parent are being told they do not know what their kids need, are not knowledgeable enough to make decisions or lack the education to understand the needs of their student so the government needs to take over. In a State with one of the worst child foster care records in the entire United States, the threat of government interference is I removed him from public government scrutiny by taking him out of public school and placing him in private school.

I responded to these threats, that the doctor's opinion and my opinion of my son's needs were possibly incorrect and possibly needed the supervision of the government and school officials under the direction of the county attorney, by my choice to remove him from this high school who threatened and bullied us. His medical needs and educational needs are now met in a private school setting without the government interfering with our family choices. His previous high school now can show his "truancy" improved because he is no longer counted because he is no longer there. So what are the statistics on truancy actually showing?. How many kids are being removed from the public school system at additional expense to their family so their families can protect them and their medical record privacy from their own government. How many families do not have the resources to make the choice I felt forced to make? Is this the America we want?

He is lucky to have enough family/medical support so he can attend private classes. He is expecting to graduate from high school with approximately a "B" average but the threats by the government to his family should have never happened.


  1. This brings to my mind echoes of Judge Crnkovich's meeting with parents last May. "Who are you to decide if your child is sick? Maybe we need to get a doctor on your diversion team to see if he's getting the right kind of care. We just want to help."

    It's creepy. It's wrong. It's not fitting for what has usually been considered a family-friendly state.

  2. Brenda VosikFebruary 13, 2012

    It's very similar to the comment made by the infamous and dishonest Hall County Attorney: "I don't think the parent is necessarily the best judge of what is a justifiable absence."