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Woodstock School District 200 health clinic nixed over parental consent issue

Officials want to explore options to provide mental health services, vaccinations, physicals

WOODSTOCK – After hearing nearly 20 residents speak, some in favor but most opposed to the school-based health clinic design that was under consideration, the Woodstock School District 200 Board unanimously voted down the item and decided to explore a more limited scope of services.

The concerns and questions that arose about the District 200 Health and Wellness Clinic earlier in January centered on the district's inability to require parental consent for pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease testing under state law. The clinic was first scheduled to open in August after the board approved a memorandum of agreement in July pending final legal review.

"I have a line to draw ... if we're not having some kind of parental involvement, that's problematic to me," board member Carl Gilmore said during Tuesday's board meeting, adding, "Especially when it comes to reproductive health care and providing medication."

A majority of residents expressed similar concerns about young children – Illinois law allows children age 12 and older to consent to the services in question without parents – accessing sexual health services from a school district.

Ultimately, board members unanimously voted to reject the agreement, but expressed interest in continuing to investigate the options for mental health services, as well as physicals and vaccinations.

Superintendent Mike Moan and board President Camille Goodwin said Community Health Partnership of Illinois, the partner in the memorandum of agreement, could be willing to work with the district on a project with a more limited range of services.

Stressing the importance of mental health care, Suzanne Hoban, whose kids went through District 200 high schools, told the story of her daughter who struggled with mental health issues that stretched as far as suicidal thoughts.

"She was able to talk to other amazing adults at that high school who helped her, guided her and encouraged her to talk to us," Hoban said, later adding, "In a perfect world, [she] would've come to us first ... but don't let perfect stand in the way of good."

After hearing stories from residents, including one District 200 student, board members agreed a community committee should be formed on the topic as the options are further explored.

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