for perhaps the first time in history – and it’s not exactly what you might expect. The Beloit Memorial High School was going to install a “wellness clinic” on school property where kids could get confidential health care, but when some parents pointed out that it would include treatment and education on sexually transmitted infections, pregnancy testing and mental health services, a heated debate ensued.
Should Schools Provide Medical Care?
There are several schools across the country that have teen clinics in full operation, including those that give students birth control, conduct STI screening and do pregnancy testing. Teens in these schools can get confidential medical treatment without parents knowing about it. Treatment is completely free to enrolled students, and the only way parents know about the treatment their child has received is if the child tells them.
Beloit parents are clearly divided on the issue. Many claim that taxpayers, who would ultimately fund the clinic, should have the choice of opting out if they have religious objections to supporting such a clinic.
Others, including local pastor Kevin Pullam, disagree; they believe that the clinic is necessary in order for kids to get healthcare for other medical concerns, such as the flu or colds.
There’s further controversy about whether it’s better for parents to opt-out or to opt-in, and an attorney from the Beloit Health System, which would operate the clinic, said that they couldn’t deny services if students requested them.
What Do You Think?
Which side of this controversial issue are you on? Is it better for kids to have access to confidential medical care when it comes to reproductive health, STIs and flus, or should parents be informed when their children seek any type of treatment without them?