Soapbox: School health center a distraction and should close
Monte Akers is a former member of the Hillsboro School Board.
The Century High School Health Center (School Based Health Center) is a partnership between the federal government, Virginia Garcia Memorial Health Center and the Hillsboro School District.
The federal government gave the school district $500,000 to buy the building; Virginia Garcia operates the health center and the district provides the land for the building and operating costs of maintaining the building. In 2011 when the Hillsboro School Board approved the health center (I voted yes), it was advertised as making health services available to students and their parents [who], for whatever reason, were not receiving these services. Taking health services to the students and their parents [was] a laudable goal.
With the passage of federal HIPPA laws and Oregon State laws, the health center can now advise your daughters, as young as 15, to have an abortion and in the near future prescribe and distribute contraceptives to your daughters without your consent or notification.
The health center lobbied the School Board last year to allow it to prescribe and distribute contraceptives. The board suggested that the health center be allowed to do this but only with parent notification. Virginia Garcia refused to do this, citing legal restrictions. This community discussion took up the majority of three monthly board meetings.
After the board decision the manager of the health center (a Virginia Garcia employee) went public and accused the four opposing board members of sexism — hardly reasonable when she was well aware that it was a matter of [one's] rights as parents. With a new board in place the issue has resurfaced and will be available for public comment on Jan. 23 and voted on Feb. 27.
These are good people on the current board with good intentions, but they would be the first to cry foul if their under-age daughter was referred for an abortion without their knowledge. But for some reason they would like to make this decision for you. As parents it again is time for you to weigh in for your family.
The health center has become a overwhelming distraction to the district, whose job it is to educate your children and will continue to be a distraction no matter which way the vote goes. The job of educating kids is tough enough for the employees of the district without this hanging over their heads and taking up their time.
It is time for the district to end the health center and get back to educating your kids. There is plenty of work to be done without embroiling the district in social issues.
The health center continues to divide the community and needs to be ended.
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