Below is my testimony to the Senate Education Committee that you can use to inform your own testimony. Hopefully it helps clarify the key issues with the bill.
Madam Chair and members of the committee, my name is Melissa Blasek and I’m the executive director of RebuildNH, from Merrimack, NH, and I am here today to oppose SB343. I believe that the intentions behind this bill are to add guard rails to these school based health care clinics that we are currently seeing in public schools across the state.
Currently, these clinics are being funded by federal grants, but it’s not a matter of if, but when these grants run out, leaving the taxpayers on the hook. I’m struggling to see how the bill, as written, adds any guard rails to these clinics. If we truly wanted more transparency and accountability, the bill should require that these clinics be funded by warrant articles.
Section II(f) is the only part of the bill that I feel is above and beyond the current law as it requires the parent to be present for medical treatment. I do support this addition to the parental consent law, however I don’t think the rest of the bill is helpful. SB573 deals with parental consent, and while I have a couple of issues with it, I think that if we are attempting to strengthen parental consent laws, SB573 is a better vehicle than SB343.
Unfortunately, too many public schools in New Hampshire are currently failing. When we expand the mission of schools past their primary obligations of teaching reading, writing, and arithmetic, we are not focusing adequate time, energy, or resources on the fundamental mission. Schools are for educating, not for healthcare.