Press one of the expand buttons to see the full text of an article. Later press collapse to revert to the original form. The buttons below expand or collapse all articles.



Edging Out Parents

December 23, 2014 permalink

Two articles, neither a child protection case, show how the bureaucracy is gradually edging parents out of the lives of their children. The first from Scotland reports that when teachers discover students engaging in sexual activity, their state-appointed guardian will be notified, but not the parents. In the second from Virginia, a family reports that when their son Brian Christ developed a drug problem at university, the school followed the law and did not notify the parents. The boy died.



'State guardians' instead of parents informed about under age sex

The Scottish Government issues guidance to schools stating teachers should tell the SNP's planned network of 'named persons' instead of parents about concerns they have about children's welfare.

Teachers whose under age pupils admit having sex should consider informing the SNP’s planned network of “state guardians” instead of parents, under controversial new guidance issued to Scotland’s schools.

The Scottish Government document advises teachers they should contact the youngster’s “named person” if a pupil tells them about sexual behaviour that raises a “child protection concern”.

Any other information that raises the possibility the pupil’s welfare is at risk must also be passed to the named person, according to the advice, which makes no mention of telling mothers or fathers.

The guidance was issued to prepare for the introduction of the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act, which assigns every child under 18 a state guardian regardless of their background.

It also takes into account the legalisation of gay marriage by arguing that sex education should be taught using “gender neutral” language.

Teachers must include homosexual relationships in the curriculum and older children may be allowed to overrule their parents’ religious or moral objections, it states.

However, the sections on the state guardian plans prompted the largest backlash last night, with campaigners and Conservatives arguing they demonstrated the extent to which parents were being marginalised.

Under the Act, which was passed by MSPs in February and is due to come into force in 2016, the NHS will appoint a health worker to act as a "named person" for every child until the age of five.

The responsibility will then pass to councils until the child reaches 18, with teachers expected to be asked to take on the role.

The measure is designed to ensure potential cases of sexual abuse or developmental difficulties are spotted and acted upon at an early stage.

However, it is being challenged in the courts by the No To Named Persons (NO2NP) campaign group on the grounds it breaches data protection laws and the European Convention on Human Rights.

Liz Smith, Scottish Tory young people spokesman, said: “Parents will be extremely concerned to see formal government guidance which prioritises the role of a named person over their own.”

A spokesman for N02NP said: “How can a professional with potentially hundreds of kids to keep an eye on be given priority over the people that care about children the most – their own parents? Parents aren’t mentioned at all in the entire section on confidentiality in this guidance.”

The guidance on relationships, sexual health and parenthood (RSHP) advises teachers to consider “very carefully” their course of action if a child discloses that under age sex has taken place.

“If there is judged to be a risk to the child’s well-being, staff should inform the child’s Named Person,” it says.

It also states: “Where a teacher receives information which affects or is likely to affect the well-being of a child or young person, relevant information must be shared as appropriate with the child’s Named Person.”

The teacher is advised to take into account the child’s views on whether the information should remain confidential and explain the reasons for sharing it with the state guardian if the youngster disagrees.

Councils should consider the objections of any teacher who opposes the sex education programme but it should continue regardless, the document also states.

Teachers and schools are forbidden from promoting or endorsing heterosexual relationships over homosexual ones and they must “acknowledge” the legalisation of gay marriage.

They must also balance the role of the Internet in forming healthy new relationships with the potential for online grooming and child sexual exploitation.

Parents should be regularly consulted about the content of sex education lessons and those who object have the right to withdraw their child if "alternative positive educational provision" can be provided.

But secondary pupils should have the right to overrule their parents if they are deemed to have the necessary “maturity, understanding and experience.”

The Scottish Government has also advised that the RSHP programme should run throughout the curriculum and said it will be impossible for children to be withdrawn from all lessons where sex and relationships will potentially be discussed.

A Scottish Government spokesman said the “vast majority” of children will continue to get the support they need from their families.

But he added: “If concerns about a pupil are raised with the teacher who is their named person they will respect the young person’s wishes for confidentially if possible, while encouraging them to seek whatever support is appropriate, including from their families.”

Source: Telegraph (UK)

We paid a heavy price for our son’s privacy

TONY CHRIST: The loss of Brian is something his mother and I will take to the grave.

Brian Christ
Brian Christ
Photo: submitted image

Ten years ago — on Dec. 15, 2004 — we lost our only son, Brian, to a drug overdose.

Brian had high SAT scores in high school. He was an Eagle Scout, a black belt in karate and a nice kid. His mother and I went down to get his electrical engineering degree from the University of Virginia posthumously.

The head of the department told me almost tearfully, “Mr. Christ, we are not allowed to call the parents” in response to my question as to why we weren’t notified when he wasn’t going to class. Federal laws on privacy ensure that parents will not be told when their children are in trouble after their 18th birthday.

The guidance professors used to provide as a matter of course have been eviscerated from colleges and universities. Government privacy requirements attached to funding for higher education for the last 20 years have driven a wedge into what historically had been the domain of the family.

Everyone at school knew Brian was not attending class and was partying with different groups daily except the two people who would have been there 24/7 to do what was needed: mom and dad.

When Brian came home for Thanksgiving his senior year, I was concerned and took him to my doctor, a respected physician who had taught at Yale. After Brian died, the doctor apologized, telling me federal HIPAA restrictions on privacy had prevented him from telling me he had found drugs in Brian’s system at the time Brian was alive.

This was precisely the reason I had brought him for a physical. College records we uncovered years after Brian died documented secretive drug abuse from his freshman year through his senior year, but federal law had kept us from knowing.

It gets worse.

First, what is loco parentis and why would the government want to eliminate it from our social fabric? “In loco parentis” is Latin for “in the place of the parent.” Socially, it meant society would provide parenting for children and young adults when needed, if parents were not present.

It was not a law; it was a social norm. It was just done. Teachers taught and were granted the authority of in loco parentis. It was accepted in all methods of K–12 and higher education, public and private.

America’s educational system was peerless in the world for decades, but now we lead the world in out-of-classroom expense, while placing a paltry 25th among 32 Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development countries in mathematics on the Program for International Student Assessment test.

Today, classroom teachers have lost their traditional authority, are managed by program directors who don’t teach and are driven by well-intended federal programs such as Common Core that do nothing to change the decline, even while dramatically increasing costs.

Independent of personality or method, classroom teachers determined and then acted with full authority of the parent. Could the evisceration of adult authority by the federal government explain much of the decline in our public education, as well as the decline in marriage and the dramatic increases in single-parent families?

Fifty years ago, 5 percent of white families, 16 percent of blacks and 7 percent overall were single-parent. Today, after 50 years of government intervention and numerous entitlement programs that weakened the family, the numbers are horrific: 28 percent of whites, 54 percent of Hispanics, 74 percent of blacks and 41 percent of children overall live in single-parent families, confirming the perverse effects of government programs and the resulting destruction of many families.

Clearly, some kids emerge from the education process and do not suffer our experience. As a person who has been licensed in insurance, I realize the importance of privacy in medical records.

But the loss of Brian is something his mother and I will take to the grave.

The weakening and destruction of the American family, as evidenced by increased single-parent families and decline in public-education achievement, along with dramatic increases in family costs and the loss of in loco parentis, have disrupted the nurturing nest which supported our unalienable birthrights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

These changes place the future of our kids in peril and should be of major concern to all parents.

Tony Christ lives in Ocean City and Falls Church, Va.

Source: Delmarva Daily Times