I’m confused, California. I just want to make sure I’m perfectly clear on what’s happening here...
I have a son in the sixth grade, attending a public school in our great state of California. Next year, if we’ve paid off the right people, he will go on to the seventh grade. Our public school district, operating in and under the authority of our great state of California just sent me, his parent, a notice about his immunization requirements for school. What?
The letter starts like this:
Whooping cough, also known as pertussis, continues to threaten students in California. To help stop its spread, all incoming 7th graders are required by law to have proof of a whooping cough booster (TDaP) vaccine, or file an exemption, in order to attend classes this year. Students will not be allowed to attend classes without an immunization or medical exemption signed by a physician.
Then you guys ask me, his parent, to please submit an immunization record for him. You see, this is the part that confuses me. He’s twelve, for goodness sake. You know he’s twelve because you know his birthdate, and you’re in charge of teaching him algebra, so I assume you guys can also do birthday math. So why are you sending this letter to me?
Don’t you remember the letter that your HIPAA folks sent me a few months ago when he turned twelve? Do your HIPAA people and your school district people not talk to each other over there?
How in the world am I supposed to tell you anything about his immunization record? Your HIPAA department just informed me that I don’t have access to his medical records anymore now that he’s all grown up, being twelve and all.
By the way, how old are your HIPAA people over there? I have to assume they’re all over one hundred and fifty years old. Is that why you chose the ripe old age of twelve? Because the people writing these laws are all from the good old days when everyone left the farm at twelve to get a job and needed to prove to their new employers that all their liniments, tonics, and salves against consumption and winter fever were up to date?
Anyway, if you want to know about his immunizations, you’ll obviously need to talk to him. Which leads me to the next thing I’m curious about. Are you just tired of having anyone over the age of twelve attend school?
Students will not be allowed to attend classes without an immunization or medical exemption signed by a physician.
So, in case you’re slow on the uptake, let me recap this for you. You told the twelve-year-olds that their parents aren’t in charge of their medical decisions anymore. Then you told them that they have to do a medical thing or they can’t go to class. So, what you did there was tell twelve-year-olds that they are now in charge of deciding whether to go to school or not.
I would assume you school district folks have met twelve-year-olds before. You must see the problem here. Or do all your old-timey HIPAA people just want them to go get jobs? I can’t figure you guys out.
Speaking of that, there’s one more thing in this letter that I can’t figure out. I don’t mean to get all logical on you or anything, but you started the letter by saying that whooping cough continues to threaten students in California. Then you said to help stop its spread, students are required to have proof of a vaccine, or file an exemption?
So, just so I’m clear, one of the ways you plan to stop the spread of whooping cough is by collecting vaccine exemption letters? Was there even a meeting on this, or does Phil in the back cubicle just write down whatever the hell comes into his head and then sends it out to the parents?
Again, not to get all logical on you, but the only way that makes any sense is if the non-vaccinated kids are required to carry their exemption letters with them at all times to hold in front of their faces when they cough. Since my twelve-year-old regularly forgets to carry anything that isn’t physically attached to him, I don’t see that plan working.
Anyway, good luck getting my son’s vaccination records from him. He doesn’t know the name of his doctor, the name of his doctor’s medical practice, the name of our insurance provider, his insurance plan number, the telephone number to any of the aforementioned offices, the fact that he even has a vaccination record, or the name of his school district.
Basically he knows the name of his school and the exact time of each recess.
But I think everything will work out fine, you know, because he’s twelve now.
See you soon,
Copyright © 2017 Marc Schmatjen
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