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D20 community concerned over proposed medical policy change

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Posted at 5:46 PM, Feb 22, 2022

COLORADO SPRINGS — Some Academy School District 20 parents and teachers are raising concerns over a proposed change to the medical policy.

The updated policy would prohibit staff from providing medical treatment, opinions, or advice without parental or guardian consent unless the student is in an emergency.

"This is a bad news blues policy for teachers, parents, kids, and from a legal perspective for the district," said Lara Matisek, Academy School District 20 parent.

Matisek doesn't understand the need for policy change. She trusts the administration to make medical decisions for her daughter.

"Every single person in that school, I trust to save her life in case of an emergency and protect her in the case of an emergency, and they are probably a lot more knowledgeable than I am. I don't want to be called if she bumps her knee on the playground or gets a paper cut and needs a band-aid or says that her head hurts. I want them to be able to reasonably, like they always have, treat my daughter and make sure she gets the medical treatment that she needs," said Matisek.

She believes the policy language is vague, and misleading to the community.

"The board members are public record, parents and educators can go back and listen to some of the comments, specifically from Mr. Salt and Mr.LaValley. We believe they just aren't saying the quiet part out loud, they want to absolutely ban any discussion relating to LGBTQ+ students and vaccines," said Matisek.

"I feel like this policy is a gag order on teachers and a knee-jerk reaction to masks and vaccines by a limited group of parents," said Cari Fox, President of the Academy Education Association.

Fox also doesn't see the need for a change to the policy.

"At our last board meeting, Tonya Thompson the district attorney spoke out that she had advised the board that they don't need to add this policy. That's on public record, and I asked the district to ask the CASB to have their lawyers to look at this policy and if it was necessary," said Fox.

Board members say the policy change stems from conversations with parents who wanted to make sure they had the final say when it came to medical decisions for their kids.

"Parents are the authority over their students and should 100 percent of the time be consulted for all medical decisions," said Heather Perdue, Academy School District 20 parent.

Perdue is one of many parents who spoke at the last board meeting in support of the measure.

"I am shocked there have been major political leaders in our nation advising minors to go behind their parents' back and make big major decisions without their parents' knowledge. This is an absolute disgrace to families and their role in society," said Perdue.

"This additional line to the policy will protect the autonomy of each District 20 family. I also understand if they want to give that up, they can sign a form if they're worried about things like not being available at the time of a medical emergency. I'm sure you guys will work through that. The only entity able to take away parental rights is the legal system, and only then for extraneous situations. Many of us appreciate that the school board is making that clear for all staff and students. I understand that some educators are upset with this policy, but why? Why would respecting parental authority upset anyone," said Stacy Adair.

Matisek argues parental rights have not been taken away in the public school system, and never will be.

"That is a completely manufactured and made-up issue. As a parent, you can walk into your child's school at any time and see what they're being taught, curriculum, folders, and reading lists. Teachers have always invited us to be more involved as parents, they beg for parent volunteers. No one has ever stopped a parent from being involved," said Matisek.

The school board planned to vote on the medical policy change last Thursday, but it was tabled to allow for further discussion. No new date has been set.