Can teachers view students' vax status? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 12 Old 11-13-2013, 04:53 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I work in a middle school and one of the teachers recently asked me if my children and I are up to date on our pertussis vaccinations because apparently one of her classes has 3 active cases of pertussis (only one of which has been properly diagnosed.) My DH and I are delay/selective and have a 4 month old and a nearly-4 yr old. Our older DD wasn't in childcare and still nurses, so we delayed all vaccinations until recently. We just got her first dose of pertussis this month. The baby is going to have to be in child care 15 hours a week, so we are considering which vaccines to give her. She has received 2 doses of Hib and PVC and one DTaP. I'm still not entirely comfortable with vaccinating her, but the fact that she'll be starting childcare soon has sort of forced our hand, or at least that's how we feel.

 

Anyhow, I informed her that my daughters have both gotten theirs and that I think I had a Tdap less than 10 years ago. I didn't mention that we are delay/selective parents. She then went off on a tirade about how irresponsible the parents of the infected parents are, how they're probably "anti-vaxxers" who are idiots and putting us all at risk. I told her that I really wish the vaccine were more effective, because recent outbreaks largely occur among the fully vaccinated. She didn't really seem to hear me and just said that the parents are idiots who stupidly cause these outbreaks, and that she was sure that the outbreak started because of an unvaccinated child. At one point I mentioned that we had actually delayed vaccinating our first daughter because she was never in daycare and was exclusively breastfed for a year. I have no idea why I offered up that info, but she just responded by saying that she is pro-daycare and then went back to calling the non-vaxxing parents "idiots" and proclaiming how stupid they all were.

 

Then, as I was about to leave, she repeated that she was SURE the pertussis cases were caused by unvaccinated students and said that she was going to prove it by looking the kids' files up in the school database to see if they had exemptions on file. I was curious to see if that sort of information really could be accessed by any old teacher, so I stuck around to see what she'd find, but apparently the database was down at that moment.

 

So, could she possibly be correct? Can teachers see which one of their students have filed a vaccine waiver? I'd hate to think that some obviously very biased teacher could access that sort of information about their students. It seems like that must violate some sort of law, no? HIPPA or something?


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#2 of 12 Old 11-13-2013, 05:27 PM
 
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I can't cut and paste, but I looked it up, and California's vax registry is available to school personnel. Most, if not all, states are like this. People like your co-worker are a KEY reason why I'm opposed to these registries and why I opted out.

As a social worker, I've undergone lots of ethics training, and I can assure you that accessing peoples PHI for personal gain is grossly unethical. If someone I knew were seeking services, for example, it would be wrong of me to snoop into the personal file just because I'm curious. I would have legal access, but that wouldn't make it right. So I'd just let her know that it's unethical and consider bringing the principal in on it.
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#3 of 12 Old 11-13-2013, 06:07 PM
 
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I'd consider reporting her. At the time, I would have asked her, "Yeah? What purpose would it serve to look up their private health info? Are you going to disseminate it around the school? No? Are you going to confront their parents? No? What's the merit in digging through personal files then?"

 

What's more, I can't believe a teacher would be so brazen as to state she was going to look up private info for personal curiosity with a witness to it standing right there. Unreal. At my kids' school, I don't think teachers have access to the private health info. It's admin staff only and the school nurse. Any correspondence that comes to us from the admin via the classroom is in sealed envelopes. The yearly, "update your child's information" that I get, which does note their medical info and has "CO on file" also comes to us in a sealed envelope. Teachers are on a need to know basis. They generally are well apprised of the day-to-day stuff going on (so and so has a cold, so and so's getting over an ear infection and needs to see the nurse to get meds, whatever) but stuff like vaccine status is not considered something that they need to be apprised of as far as I know. At least, none of my kids' teachers have ever mentioned it to me and if they did, I'd be asking them, "Um, isn't this something I should be discussing with the school admin and not a teacher?"

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#4 of 12 Old 11-13-2013, 06:08 PM
 
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Yes, in Ontario, Canada. The school must have an exemption or records of vaccinations on file, and those are all kept in a student's school record which is a physical folder kept in the office that any staff member of the school could access, should they choose to do so.

Turquesa, what do you mean you opted out?
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#5 of 12 Old 11-13-2013, 06:21 PM
 
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I'f report the teacher. Just because they have physical access to the file in which the excemption is contained does not give them the right to access such information just because they're curious - it's unethical and likely in violation of privacy legislation. As a teacher, she should know this.

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#6 of 12 Old 11-13-2013, 08:21 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thispathisme View Post

Yes, in Ontario, Canada. The school must have an exemption or records of vaccinations on file, and those are all kept in a student's school record which is a physical folder kept in the office that any staff member of the school could access, should they choose to do so.

Turquesa, what do you mean you opted out?

All 50 U.S. states have electronic vaccine registries that track who has had what shots. This information is accessible by all health care providers, government employees, and school personnel. To me, that's much to big of a pool of people knowing about my personal health and my children's. My state allows you to opt yourself and your kids out of it, so I did just that.

Your post brings up a good point about the accessibility of paper copies.

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#7 of 12 Old 11-13-2013, 08:26 PM
 
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This glitchy forum won't let me get back in to edit type-os. Hopefully my post is still coherent.

In God we trust; all others must show data. selectivevax.gifsurf.gifteapot2.GIFintactivist.gif
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#8 of 12 Old 11-14-2013, 06:57 AM
 
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I'm appalled by that teacher. Not only is she nuts, rude and intrusive, she didn't even listen to your sound remarks about pertussis. The vaccine is flawed and many outbreaks occurred among vaccinated individuals. In our old state it was even parapertussis that was going around so the vaccine does nothing, I even remember our FP telling me that there was a study that showed DTaP vaccinated individuals were more prone to para for some reason. I never looked it up so don't take my word for it.

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#9 of 12 Old 11-14-2013, 10:17 AM
 
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I think you should file a formal report against the teacher. I know that's difficult, because she will know you were the one who reported her (unless she goes on these rants with everybody). But what she tried to do was completely unethical. If she does look up the info, I think it will cause a lot more problems overall than her being mad at you for reporting her.

 

Another issue is that she should not be able to look up the info. Only the school nurse and the office employee(s) responsible for maintaining the records should have access to them.

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#10 of 12 Old 11-14-2013, 10:46 AM
 
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I am in Texas too, and it violates FIRPA laws (HIPAA for schools) for health info to be available to anyone who does not need access.  Our district is electronic, so the teachers can see any diagnoses listed in an IEP or in the school general record (i.e. they know a child is diabetic, has adhd, etc) for the students in THEIR class.  It does not show vax status, or individual meds/clinic visits.  In Texas, only school nurses would be able to access the database, but a lot of school districts do not get their nurses access, since they prefer for the child to see a medical professional.

 

I would definitely report it to admin.  Just approach it on the side of, if this is true (the parents did not vax), and the staff member tells people, it could result in law suits from both sides.


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#11 of 12 Old 11-15-2013, 04:45 AM
 
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OP - I am not a SD vaccer but I do not see this are really being related to vaccines anyway - this is medical and it's private!

 

PLEASE put your complaint in writing (to the immediate superior at the school but ALSO to your district superintendent and or chancellor) and make your name is on it - request that you receive a follow up to know how this is being handled! Breech of private information is not some little thing! 

 

as others have said, this teacher is wrong, out of line and please stand up to her should she say anything to you - you have no right to know if she is HIV+ , up to date on her vaccines, or anything about her private medical information and throw it right back at her if she confronts you for reporting her - you have every right to report her and if she dare confront you - report that too - it's harassment and you are in the right not her

 

this is very wrong - good luck


 

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#12 of 12 Old 04-06-2014, 03:12 PM
 
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As a teacher in both public and private school, I had full access to students' files and I could see who was vaccinated, up-to-date, and who was not. I was usually looking for something else in the files when I went in them. I would certainly not tell anyone anything about the files, ever.

 

Just to let you know, I had full access to students' files when I was a teachers' aide also.  So it is not just teachers. It is probably the whole staff.


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