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#1 of 32 Old 08-31-2010, 03:08 PM - Thread Starter
 
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How do you feel about the insertion of public health into schools?

I was looking through back issues of newsletters and much time seems to be devoted to public health.

In grade 7 there are a least 4 visits by public health

1. visits to discuss why menninggitis and Hepatitis are bad
2. Day to vaccinate against the above
3. Dental screening
4. visit to discuss why drugs, alcohol and cigarettes are bad

Here are my thoughts:

1. She might like visit number one - she has a scientific bent.
2. immunisations are so NOT going to happen
3. Dental screening. Sigh. She visits a dentist regularly. I do not see putting her through waiting in line so a stranger can look in her mouth.
4. Eh - may be interesting. I am sure I will disagree with some of it - but I can discuss the topics with her at home.

There is part of me that is uncomfortable with public health in the schools. I think immunisations and dental care are family decisions/responsibility - not the schools.

There is part of me that sees the value in some of the visits - particularly dental screening - for some of the school population. I do not see it as beneficial for my daughter. I am sure I can opt out - but it feels a little elitist to me. Dental screening is fine for some kids but not my DD? ugh.

I just had a light bulb - they better not check for lice!!! I do not want my DD's hair gone through.
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#2 of 32 Old 08-31-2010, 03:18 PM
 
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There is part of me that sees the value in some of the visits - particularly dental screening - for some of the school population. I do not see it as beneficial for my daughter. I am sure I can opt out - but it feels a little elitist to me. Dental screening is fine for some kids but not my DD? ugh.
It is not that school screenings are "fine for some kids" it's that you have the resources do these things privately and do not need those services from the school. You could actually think of it as not straining resources for a service that you do not need.

"It should be a rule in all prophylactic work that no harm should ever be unnecessarily inflicted on a healthy person (Sir Graham Wilson, The Hazards of Immunization, 1967)."
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#3 of 32 Old 08-31-2010, 03:36 PM
 
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I totally agree -- school is an easy way to get things to underserved kids that they desperately need. Not all families have the resources to make things like dental case a "family responsibility" -- if you don't have the luxury of a job with dental insurance, that stuff is expensive! Our school hosts vision screening, hearing checks, and dental exams. We opt out of the dental because we do have, and use, private coverage -- they're perfectly fine with it. The hearing and vision screens were actually great, because they fell at times when she didn't have well-child visits scheduled and what do you know? It turned out her vision in one eye was TERRIBLE, so we were able to get her to a specialist. Her regular pediatrician never caught the problem, and we had no idea she couldn't see well -- she had no idea what good vision would be LIKE, so she couldn't tell us.

I would have no problem with a lice check. It's not going to hurt my kid to have someone look at her scalp. I do lice-checks at home anyway (so far haven't found any), and we both kind of enjoy it -- there's some powerful primate grooming instinct being gratified there!

I feel that schools are a place to learn, and it's easier for healthy, well-fed children to learn, so subsidized school meals and health services have a logical role there. I also think it's a positive social good for children to be well-cared-for, and school is a sensible place to feed them and do health screens. I wish there was more support for children, not less!

I do believe that all of these services are voluntary and you can opt out.
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#4 of 32 Old 08-31-2010, 03:54 PM
 
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I agree health is beginning ot be a divide. I am a homeschooler that has an overseeing entity (we are basically public school at home). When I was filling out my learning plan the topics that are supposed to be covered in health included:
1)why milk is good for bones (in direct opposition to what I have learned, which says mammal's milk other than human past the age of natural weaning leads to weak bones)
2) the food pyramid (we live GFCFSF and only ingest non mammal meat sparingly, moving into veganism, so I am not going to tell my child that dead flesh is healthy, or that it is important to ingest grains since i believe grains are not meant for humans to ingest the way they do)
3) why vaccinations are good and important to prevent disease (NO they aren't!)
4) typical dental info (which I do not believe in either, glycerine in toothpaste destroys dental health, fluoride (in the way it is used here, i.e. the chemical structure and how it is produced) is a poison, etc....)

also included somewhere in the goals was the importance of teaching about competitive games which is not in my belief system I believe in teaching about cooperation and unity not separation...

So, you are not alone. These things are part of the reason I homeschool. I just did not put those goals into my learning plan. If I hear anything about it, I will explain my beliefs and not back down. As many vegans there are in the world, and it is still in the curriculum to teach that cow's milk and dead flesh is healthy? I think health is best left to parents, but I do understand some parents are not tuned in enough to do it themselves... hard subject to get to a decisive answer in. Like maybe they should just stick to the facts- teaching what bones are called what and how the body functions...

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#5 of 32 Old 08-31-2010, 06:22 PM
 
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In Saskatchewan they don't do dental screenings. There is a flouride rinse program, but that isn't run by public health.

They do come in & do immunizations but it isn't the school doing it. The school is only coordinating the time for them to come in. It is ALL Public Health. they get a list of registered students in the schools & double check their records. They send home a form & you sign whether you want them or not. It isn't a big deal if you sign no. The only part the school has in this on that day is an Educational Assistant may help bring kids back & forth from the class for their shots. This happens 2 times a year when they're in Grade 6.

They don't come in & discuss health issues either(like the meningitis, hep, etc). If they were it'd be part of a health class or as a whole to the entire school much like if the police, authors, sports players, etc come in & talk about what they do.

Now sometimes the teacher will think there is a problem & ask public health to come in & do a check(like with lice, as an EA there is no way I'm searching other kids heads). They've only had PH come in for lice checks in severe cases where there is a family or 2 who can't keep it under control & it's bad enough in the school they check every student.
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#6 of 32 Old 08-31-2010, 06:24 PM - Thread Starter
 
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It is not that school screenings are "fine for some kids" it's that you have the resources do these things privately and do not need those services from the school. You could actually think of it as not straining resources for a service that you do not need.
That is a good point - I will try to reframe it this way in my mind.
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#7 of 32 Old 08-31-2010, 06:35 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I would have no problem with a lice check. It's not going to hurt my kid to have someone look at her scalp. I do lice-checks at home anyway (so far haven't found any), and we both kind of enjoy it -- there's some powerful primate grooming instinct being gratified there!


Would you personally be Ok with people going through your hair (say at your job) looking for lice as part of a mass screening ? I can tell you I would not be! I think lice checks may be appropriate in early grades (and even then I have concerns about it - but that is another post). I do not think it is appropriate with 7th and 8th graders. We need to extend to them the same liberties/respect for their person that we extend to adults


kathy
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#8 of 32 Old 08-31-2010, 06:36 PM
 
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I don't want the school practicing medicine on my kids, period. I opt out of every screening possible, and if I can't, I do my best to gum up the data they gather by not allowing mine counted. We opt out of DARE.

Medically, we are pretty mainstream. We vax. But I have a perfectly good pediatrician, and my kids have a relationship with her. I do not want them to grow up thinking they need to be pawed over by anybody who feels like it.

In general, I think there is far too much crap foisted off on schools. I wish they could just focus on educating children in the disciplines, and stop being seen as the cure for every societal ill.
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#9 of 32 Old 08-31-2010, 06:58 PM
 
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Hmmm I don't know maybe the word Screening is a bit strong when comes to kids maybe the term Check Up or Medical would make parents feel a little better. When it comes to health and kids though I believe every child should have a check up. If you a parent is not comfortable with the chool doing it then they can go to their own doctor and the school can get the medical report of the child.

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#10 of 32 Old 08-31-2010, 07:14 PM
 
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Originally Posted by kathymuggle View Post
[COLOR="Blue"][COLOR="Black"][COLOR="Blue"]Would you personally be Ok with people going through your hair (say at your job) looking for lice as part of a mass screening ?
We've never lived where they routinely screened for lice. Is this a common thing?

I've only heard of it being done in response to an outbreak, which is completely appropriate IMHO.

Our school didn't screen, but instead sent home and note and had the automated phone system call all families when there was a problem .

but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#11 of 32 Old 08-31-2010, 07:15 PM
 
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when i was a kid, they did regular lice checks. not in NY, where i went from K-3, but when i moved to FL in time for 4th gr, thats when i learned that bugs actually lived in ppl's hair. LOL

now, lice checks are in violation of HIPPA, so they dont do them anymore. my ds2 got lice a few weeks after starting kindy. i wondered to the nurse if the bugs were spreading via the stack of nap mats, and asked her to send them all home to be washed, and also asked her to check the rest of the class. she told me the law prevented her from doing either of those things, as it would be a release of my sons protected medical info (ummm, didnt i just give her permission to do so?!) so i informed the principal that my ds was no longer allowed to lay down in the classroom. he hadnt napped since 24 mos, so it was better that way anyhow.

i have no objection to my kids being taught about health topics, like the importance of getting fresh air and exercise and thorough hand washing. i dont even care if they are preached to about vaccines and the SAD/food pyramid. (IMO, that just opens up conversation in our home.) but i draw the line at the practice of medicine or release of medical records to the school.

so...my kids have a religious exemption for the beginning of the year physical. i'm not opposed to well-checks, we just had one today in fact. i just refuse to give my kids' medical records to the school. i take them to the dr bc i want to, not bc i'm too stupid to do it unless someone tells me i have to, yk?

i also opt-them out of vision and hearing screenings. my older ds wears glasses, so he goes to the eye dr once a year. and my ds2 saw a pediatric specialist bc of a concern with his eyes. my concern was not founded, but we discovered another issue, which is misshapen optic nerve cups and high pressure. so he gets seen every 1-2 yrs. i am a responsible mother bc i love my kids and want to provide them with the best care possible. no one has to tell me to do it.

Bring back the old MDC
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#12 of 32 Old 08-31-2010, 07:34 PM
 
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Would you personally be Ok with people going through your hair (say at your job) looking for lice as part of a mass screening ? I can tell you I would not be! I think lice checks may be appropriate in early grades (and even then I have concerns about it - but that is another post). I do not think it is appropriate with 7th and 8th graders. We need to extend to them the same liberties/respect for their person that we extend to adults


kathy
Actually I have had jobs where I had to submit to a lice check. I was a camp counselor and there was a lice outbreak. Everyone's hair had to be checked and if you had it, in needed to be treated before you could return, camper and counselor alike. Of course this is when I worked for the city, so I was also required to submit to a drug test, which frankly I think is an even bigger violation of my privacy. On top of that when you work with children you also have to have a TB screening. And that involves a needle or an X-ray. So it's not like people never have to have medical screenings as a condition of employment. Actually now that I think of it my jobs (in early childhood education) have always required a complete physical. The problem with lice is, if not everyone is inspected during an outbreak, then its likely that some of those people will have it and continue to bring it back to those who don't. So I honestly would prefer that during a known outbreak everyone be screened. On the other hand if there isn't a known outbreak I think it is a waste of time.

I actually think that the school has the right to screen for infectious diseases in general, since it's so easy for them to spread in that environment. I also think that screenings for any other medical condition that might interfere with a child's ability to learn is probably beneficial to most children and the school. Of course I do think that parents should have the right to refuse those screenings.

The screenings that bother me are the ones for things like scoliosis (which involve a certain amount of undress and having the back touched in ways that seem inappropriate without the presence of a child's parent), and the BMI and body fat % screenings. Weight is too a sensitive topic to be dealt with in that public of a setting, and during adolescence everyone's body is changing at different rates. It's really difficult to say what is healthy and what isn't and focusing too much attention on it can make matters worse not better in some cases.

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#13 of 32 Old 08-31-2010, 07:43 PM
 
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she told me the law prevented her from doing either of those things, as it would be a release of my sons protected medical info
The nurse only has this half-right. Of course it's in violation of HIPPA to tell the school that Your Son has lice. It however is not a violation to say that it has been reported in the school and these are things that can be done to prevent it. I don't know how actual physical checks of other children's heads fit in with the law, but as long as she doesn't say who has lice, she is allowed to recommend people wash the mats and check their own kids, just in case.

In fact while schools in general must never name which child has a disease, there are many communicable diseases in which the school is required to inform other families of outbreaks. In CA, it is a requirement to inform people that they have been exposed to certain diseases and what the symptoms to look for are. Usually a notice is placed on the door of a school or classroom. No one is ever named, just a statement that there has been a case or cases of the illness.

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#14 of 32 Old 08-31-2010, 09:38 PM
 
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Our district offers certain vaccinations when there are major outbreaks like last year it was H1N1 and our district was being hit extra hard. Dental screenings are also offered. We just get a flier in the weekly packet letting us know which Saturday they are doing it and how to sign up if interested. It's not something that happens during school hours. We don't partake in them but I'm glad they offer this service for those who otherwise wouldn't have access. Vision and hearing is checked in 3rd grade. My own poor eye sight was caught during a school vision check. *I* didn't even know my sight was so bad because I'd adapted so well. You can opt out but it's so not a big deal to the kids... just a chance to not do work for a few minutes lol. They only do lice checks when a particular child has had a confirmed case and they want to be re-admitted to school.

Honestly, I don't stress about the other stuff. I talk to my kids. They know what we believe. If they hear something different at school, it's just another dinner conversation to be had.

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#15 of 32 Old 08-31-2010, 10:11 PM
 
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Would you personally be Ok with people going through your hair (say at your job) looking for lice as part of a mass screening ?
yup, but then I work in a school very closely with a child who has zero hygeine at home. I'm shocked he never had lice last year(or worms, rotavirus, etc). I also have very thick hair that is long & wouldn't trust my DH to actually be able to properly check(he's a slacker, would get half done & say it was fine). The minute I have lice my head is shaved.

When I was in Grade 9 they did lice checks on all kids because there was a family who could not get it under control & they wanted to make sure there wasn't a big outbreak at school and if there was to try and get it all under control. So yeah in Grade 7 if there was a really bad outbreak I wouldn't have a problem with it.

It'd be different if they were singling out specific children, but if they are doing EVERY student I don't see the big deal.
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#16 of 32 Old 08-31-2010, 11:10 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We've never lived where they routinely screened for lice. Is this a common thing?

I've only heard of it being done in response to an outbreak, which is completely appropriate IMHO.

Our school didn't screen, but instead sent home and note and had the automated phone system call all families when there was a problem .
I can only speak for the schools I know (public grade K-6 schools in Ontario). Volunteers screen for lice after every major holiday - Sept, Xmas, march Break. All kids are screened (unless they are absent ) and any child with nits is sent home with a letter "saying your child may have nits/lice" - please address the situation. After treatment has been done, child is screened again before being allowed back into school.

I have no idea if the lice watch extends to grade7/8 schools - I hope not!

DD's friend was here earlier - she saw this post and said at her old school (K-6) they called the volunteers the "lice squad"
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#17 of 32 Old 08-31-2010, 11:54 PM
 
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Would you personally be Ok with people going through your hair (say at your job) looking for lice as part of a mass screening ?
Yes. I would much rather endure a couple of minutes of messed up hair, than deal with constant lice outbreaks b/c everybody keeps reinfecting each other. I really do see mass lice checks as preferable to constantly worrying about lice being passed around the office.

DH's work place is having bed bug issues ATM.

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#18 of 32 Old 09-01-2010, 12:58 AM
 
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I can only speak for the schools I know (public grade K-6 schools in Ontario). Volunteers screen for lice after every major holiday - Sept, Xmas, march Break. All kids are screened (unless they are absent ) and any child with nits is sent home with a letter "saying your child may have nits/lice" - please address the situation. After treatment has been done, child is screened again before being allowed back into school.
Without there being a known outbreak then yeah this is a bit much. When they brought public health in last time(3 years ago) to check for lice in my kids school my dd had it. They figure she had just gotten them. It was on a Friday but they did say she could stay at school(there was an assembly, she sat in the chairs with me instead of with the rest of the kids). We left after that assembly. Monday she was back at school. They did recheck, but they were rechecking ALL the kids on the Wednesday. She had a couple of nits low on her hair(ones I'd missed I guess) and that was it. They don't re-screen before the kid is allowed back in the school.
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#19 of 32 Old 09-01-2010, 08:20 AM
 
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Well, for my kids, I take it as part of the mass education package - many things I don't like about it, but they are my compromises. If I get too many compromises, we will pull them. Everyone has a different limit though.

Because of these compromises, I take them as opportunities to teach critical thought.

1. visits to discuss why menninggitis and Hepatitis are bad
-This is probably because a lot of "at risk" kids have not been vaccinated, or have any idea what these diseases are. Legally you cannot target the "at risk" kids only because they generally will fall into certain demographics. By 7th grade, the kids can understand if the parents have missed the information (but can't analyze it - we don't vaccinate for these, so I'm just pointing out the situation).

2. Day to vaccinate against the above
One of the problems with vaccine programs for "at risk" kids is often they move around when younger, and records are absent or inconsistent. It seems like they are trying to catch all (again, not our choice, but I think it is the rationale).

3. Dental screening
Lots said on this before - not a priority for many due to cost, but really important for health. Catching kids in school is very efficient. I can't think of how they would blanket catch all the kids otherwise.

4. visit to discuss why drugs, alcohol and cigarettes are bad
If kids are not exposed to critical thinking on these issues early, they are more likely to succumb to them. That being said, I'm not wild about how they do it. That opportunity for critical thinking comes in again.

All this being said, I would expect more of it in the future It is too convenient to have a contained population.
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#20 of 32 Old 09-01-2010, 09:38 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Yes. I would much rather endure a couple of minutes of messed up hair, than deal with constant lice outbreaks b/c everybody keeps reinfecting each other. I really do see mass lice checks as preferable to constantly worrying about lice being passed around the office.

DH's work place is having bed bug issues ATM.
Here is the interesting thing....I don't think lice checks are very effective. The same people come in over and over again with lice. In many cases the parents do treatment and try to get rid of them, but a full blown infestations is hard to get rid of. In some cases it can be people they visit outside the school who carry lice, so they get it, treat it, then get it again....

Here is an article on why lice searches/ or kicking kids out of school over lice may not be appropriate:

http://www.ctv.ca/CTVNews/MedExpress...tments-100728/
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#21 of 32 Old 09-01-2010, 10:33 AM
 
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I can only speak for the schools I know (public grade K-6 schools in Ontario). Volunteers screen for lice after every major holiday - Sept, Xmas, march Break. All kids are screened (unless they are absent )
I'm surprised because I think of Canadians (except for Quebecois) as being more mellow and sane than Americans. Which seems kinda tacky on my part since I'm an American!

I read one time that the leading cause of death of young adults in Quebec is suicide, and now I'm starting to wonder if it's related to to all the head lice checks and forced reading of depressing books!!!!

but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#22 of 32 Old 09-01-2010, 10:51 AM
 
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It is not that school screenings are "fine for some kids" it's that you have the resources do these things privately and do not need those services from the school. You could actually think of it as not straining resources for a service that you do not need.
This. I live in a very mixed income school - which I love. I opt out of the public benefits that I don't need - free backpacks and school supplies at the rally, dental screenings, hearing screenings etc. I donate extra for field trips and whatever whenever I can. I volunteer to provide snack, donations, purchase extra school supplies - whatever.

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#23 of 32 Old 09-01-2010, 11:31 AM
 
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Would you personally be Ok with people going through your hair (say at your job) looking for lice as part of a mass screening ? I can tell you I would not be! I think lice checks may be appropriate in early grades (and even then I have concerns about it - but that is another post). I do not think it is appropriate with 7th and 8th graders. We need to extend to them the same liberties/respect for their person that we extend to adults


kathy
Since it's not very easy to check my own hair for lice, I would be perfectly fine with someone else doing it. I wouldn't be OK with being held down for it, but I would happily sit there so it could happen. Afterall, I can't check my own teeth, so I get a dentist to do it. I can't check my own cervix for abnormal cells, so I get a doctor to do that.
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#24 of 32 Old 09-01-2010, 03:03 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Since it's not very easy to check my own hair for lice, I would be perfectly fine with someone else doing it. I wouldn't be OK with being held down for it, but I would happily sit there so it could happen. Afterall, I can't check my own teeth, so I get a dentist to do it. I can't check my own cervix for abnormal cells, so I get a doctor to do that.
Yeah, but you choose your own doctors and dentist - you also choose when to see them, you have picked care providers who are (hopefully) in line with your beliefs. This is different from a stranger going through your hair at some mass screening they have decided needs to be done.


There is something about screenings that do not sit well with me - it is like - you are doing these screening because you do not trust parents to arrange proper medical services for their children.
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#25 of 32 Old 09-01-2010, 03:11 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by Linda on the move View Post
I'm surprised because I think of Canadians (except for Quebecois) as being more mellow and sane than Americans. Which seems kinda tacky on my part since I'm an American!

I read one time that the leading cause of death of young adults in Quebec is suicide, and now I'm starting to wonder if it's related to to all the head lice checks and forced reading of depressing books!!!!

Lol

I grew up in Quebec, and gosh, yes, the books were depressing!

They did not do lice screenings when I was a child in Quebec, but Ontario currently does.

I think (my opinion) Canada is a bit more socialist and concerned with everyones welfare than the States. In many ways this is a good thing. However, it does tend to infiltrate into other areas, areas one might not want it to infiltrate to.

In the final analysis I am a social libertarian - the social part of me likes these type of things if implemented carefully and properly; the libertarian is like - get the government out of my business! I am one confused woman, lol.
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I would be worried about the spread of disease over the dental checks and all. I agree with you on the vaccination issue too. I would be against this stuff. If they do a dental check and find cavities, are they going to fill them for free? Or just turn you in to CPS for it? In otherwords....why are they doing this? What will be the end result?
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#27 of 32 Old 09-01-2010, 09:15 PM
 
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Originally Posted by kathymuggle View Post
There is something about screenings that do not sit well with me - it is like - you are doing these screening because you do not trust parents to arrange proper medical services for their children.
I felt the same way before my kids attended public school and I met some of the children. Our school was VERY diverse. We had many wonderful families that took GREAT care of their kids. And we had families that just didn't. These screenings are for those kids.

There are a few families where the parents just don't care at all, but there were more situations where the family was just overwhelmed. Families in chaotic situations, phenomenal stress, with and no money. It's the kids at the very bottom of the ladder of life, and I now believe this stuff is worth it.

Opt out all you want, but this stuff is provided for the sake of the children who truly wouldn't get care otherwise.

BTW, I've lived in both Dorval and Hawkesbury.

but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#28 of 32 Old 09-01-2010, 09:33 PM - Thread Starter
 
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BTW, I've lived in both Dorval and Hawkesbury.
I know both extremely well. I lived in Lachute for much of my teen years, which is about 20 minutes from Hawkesbury on the Quebec side. I now live about an hour from Hawkesbury on the Ontario side. Small, small world we live in.

As per opting out of screenings- yes, I think I will. I prefer to choose my own care providers, and, as others have said, I will think of it as freeing up resources for those who do need them.
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#29 of 32 Old 09-01-2010, 09:45 PM - Thread Starter
 
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If they do a dental check and find cavities, are they going to fill them for free? Or just turn you in to CPS for it? In otherwords....why are they doing this? What will be the end result?
I would sincerely hope so - or hope they at least put them in touch with agencies that can help with dental costs. Otherwise there is no point.
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#30 of 32 Old 09-01-2010, 10:53 PM
 
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I think public health topics in public schools is just fine. I learned a lot of stuff about health and nutrition as a child that my mother still doesn't know. Don't do drugs and why not to do them is something I am fine with my dd learning. I am also fine with her learning about sex, abstinence, and contraception (though I have to do the contraception piece at home). The hearing screening my brother got made a huge difference in his education because they discovered he had significant hearing loss in one ear and he needed to be placed differently so he could hear what the teacher was saying. They also connect parents with resources in our area so the screenings aren't totally worthless in that aspect either. I am not totally happy with what they teach in school, the viewpoint they teach from sometimes, or the pace. I think it is a good experience though and overall it is worth letting my dd hear different things that I expand on and discuss with my dd when she is at home.

I believe you can opt out of the screenings, in our district these things are offered but not mandatory. All students participating have to have a permission slip and teachers find things for the students not participating to do. The health topics that are required by the state or district standards probably can't be opted out of. If the visits are for the purpose of meeting the standards there is probably not going to be an opt out option. Teachers are required, by law and as the result of some Supreme Court cases, to teach the curricullum they are hired to teach. If you object to something in the standards or are going to try to opt out of those things you may have to go through the principal or the district, put it in writing and release them from any future liability if it the lack of this information should affect her later in life, and you may have to go to the school and occupy her during the times when the teaching on that subject is taking place.
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