In loco parentis means "in the place of the parents," where another entity assumes the generally recognized duties and responsibilities of the parents for a child. A brief definition:
(in LOH-koh puh-REN-tis) To assume the duties and responsibilities of a parent: “Because Jack’s parents were out of town, his sister acted in loco parentis and punished him for staying out so late.” From Latin, meaning “in the place of a parent.”
‡ At one time, colleges and universities acted in loco parentis for their students, but this is no longer true.
Parents and school officials are preparing to battle tonight in a debate about the sexual health of children at one Maine school district.
Administrators at a Portland middle school are considering a bold proposal that would allow students to access a broader range of contraceptives from the school's health center.
King Middle School's health center already provides condoms as part of its reproductive health program, implemented after five of the 135 students who visited the center last year reported being sexually active.
Prescriptions for birth control pills and patches would be included in the new measure, which has become a lightning rod for controversy in the area.
For me this is not an argument about "how do you protect an 11 year old who makes bad choices," or "well, their doing it anyway, getting pregnant would be worse," or "well, we already give condoms," or "aren't you worried about the message this sends."
No, this is an argument about the limits of state authority. I'm sorry, Portland School District, but you have no right to make profound healthcare decisions for minor children with prescription hormonal medications in loco parentis. I just heard a woman from the district argue on Fox News that the parents have the right to stop this by not signing the form to allow access to the health center, but once signed all the "services" would be available to the youth. So you'd deny children access for a sore throat or a cut unless you also can act in loco parentis on birth control and sexual matters? All or nothing at all, is that it? Why not two forms, one for routine emergency care and one to allow counseling and care on sexual matters? Afraid that too few would sign the second form.
Yes, there are irresponsible parents. Apparently there are also irresponsible school districts, who assume that all parents are less responsible than they. Michael Graham:
I have a daughter in a public middle school. I know how hard it is to get a school-sanctioned Tylenol on campus. I’ve fought the “no cupcakes, they might have peanuts!” fight. Some schools are getting rid of the snack machines out of fear of giving our children access to high-fructose corn syrup.
But these same liberal educators are going to let the school nurse my 11-year-old full of progesterone so she can “get her groove on” without fear of pregnancy?
Please. Just give her the cupcake.
My daughters are not middle school age - yet. But if anyone interferes with my parental responsiblities and prerogatives in this way, well, just like for the protagonist in "I Had Trouble In Getting To Solla Sollew," my troubles are going to have trouble with me.