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What a Teen Girl Allegedly Obtained During School Hours Without Her Parents' Permission Has Them Suing

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"The rights of parents do not end when their daughter walks through the schoolhouse door."

New York parents allege that a school allowed her daughter to be transported during school hours to a health clinic where she was prescribed birth control. (Photo credit: Shutterstock)

The parents of a New York high school student filed a lawsuit this week against an upstate school district and others, alleging that students were taken off campus to a local health center for physical exams where some received birth control prescriptions without parental consent.

New York parents allege that a school allowed her daughter to be transported during school hours to a health clinic where she was prescribed birth control. (Photo credit: Shutterstock) New York parents allege that a school allowed her daughter to be transported during school hours to a health clinic where she was prescribed birth control. (Photo credit: Shutterstock)

Anthony and Eva Jackson allege that in 2011, a Peekskill City School District school counselor "agreed, conspired and/or arranged" student trips during school hours to the Hudson River Community Health Clinic where the counselor's wife worked. The Jacksons allege their own daughter was "examined and prescribed birth control pills before being transported back to school ... all without plaintiffs' knowledge, consent or opportunity to opt out," Courthouse News reported of the lawsuit filed in Westchester County Supreme Court.

After telling the district's superintendent James Willis what happened and seeing no action afterward, the Jacksons took this to mean he was "affirmatively condoning" the visits to the clinic.

The school district, its board of education and counselor James Tosto and his wife Dawn Tosto were named in the lawsuit. Courthouse News noted that Willis retired in the middle of his term last year, citing a desire to spend time with family, and James Tosto is slated to retire at the end of this school year.

Peekskill City School District's spokeswoman told TheBlaze in an email that it had not been served any papers pertaining to a lawsuit and could not comment at this point. The Hudson River Community Health Clinic did not immediately return TheBlaze's request for comment.

The Jacksons believe these unauthorized trips to a health clinic violated U.S. and New York constitutions, as well as public health laws. New York's Public Health Law states that any person 18 years old or older, the parent of a child or someone who has married "may give effective consent for medical, dental, health and hospital services for himself or herself, and the consent of no other person shall be necessary."

Given that their daughter was a minor at the time, the parents and their legal counsel believe this provision was violated when consent from the parent was not given for health services.

"The rights of parents do not end when their daughter walks through the schoolhouse door," attorney Mary Marzolla told the Journal News, a newspaper serving New York's lower Hudson River valley. "New York and federal laws provide protection to the Jackson family from those who violate these important civil rights."

The newspaper went on to point out though that another local program that runs a health program for schools -- Open Door Family Medical Centers -- said it is not allowed by state law to discuss details regarding a student's sexual health with parents. Students who want contraceptives though have to go off-campus to obtain them from Open Door Family Medical Centers. It will soon be opening an on-site school office at one high school that will offer reproductive planning services, but CEO Lindsay Farrell told the Journal News parents will have the opportunity to opt their children out of these services.

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Front page image via Shutterstock.

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