Credit: Kate Valdez / Boyle Heights Beat

Last month, Mendez High School in Boyle Heights, Los Angeles, unveiled a new 6,500-square-foot clinic on campus.

A bill to double the number of medical clinics on school campuses is being approved by Gov. Gavin Newsom. There are objections from anti-abortion groups, who argue that clinics make it easier for students to have abortions.

Parliament Bill 1940$100 million for schools to build or expand an estimated 200 health clinics that provide free medical, dental services, mental health counseling, reproductive health care, and other services to students and possibly surrounding communities to ensure

Gabrielle Tilley, senior policy manager for the Los Angeles Trust for Children’s Health, one of the organizations supporting the bill, said: “We have the money and a new awareness of the enormous inequalities in our state. It seems like the perfect opportunity to make this happen.”

Since the current state budget does not include funds for AB 1940, the state will have to fund the bill in next year’s budget. Defenders are hopeful because it could bolster Newsom’s other priorities. community school, Children and Youth Behavioral Health Initiative And efforts to streamline Medi-Cal benefits — all of which are well-funded in this year’s budget.

Advocates have promoted school-based health centers for decades. A similar law passed in 2006, but without funding, provided school districts with alternative ways to pay for the infrastructure and services needed to create full-service health centers on K-12 campuses. had to find. Of the estimated 200 clinics that already exist, some are run by school districts and some are run by outside agencies such as Los Angeles’ Planned Parenthood and St. John’s Community Health.

Research shows that on-campus clinics can have wide-ranging benefits for students as well as their families. The number of school days for students who visited the campus clinic increased from 5 to 7 days per year, even though it had decreased before the first visit. study Number of health centers based in 23 schools in Los Angeles. High attendance results in higher graduation rates and better academic performance.

Students who visited school clinics had lower discipline rates and were less likely to drop out of school, according to the California School-Based Health Alliance. Fewer patients went to the room and had preventable serious conditions.

According to a report produced by the Los Angeles Trust for Children’s Health, the most common reasons students visit campus clinics are vaccines, weight management, sexually transmitted disease testing and treatment, birth control, and mental health counseling. , helps treat substance abuse and chronic diseases such as asthma and diabetes.

Proponents say there is widespread support for the idea of ​​free basic health care for children in schools. I am against the clinic. california law Allow minors to seek treatment from sexual and reproductive health, substance abuse, and mental health services without permission or notice from their parents.

They fear that clinics will dispense pregnancy-terminating drugs or provide surgical abortions to pregnant girls without their parents’ knowledge or permission and without payment at public expense. It is to introduce to the clinic of

“Public schools should not be places where children can have abortions,” said Susan Swift, vice president of legal affairs for the Right to Life League, which aims to ban abortion. “This is yet another attempt to separate parents and children, and they are using the State Department of Education. …This is a big deal.

Alternatively, Swift’s group hopes the school will notify parents immediately if a student becomes pregnant, refer the student to prenatal care, and provide information on adoption and parenting.

In light of the recent Roe v. Wade Supreme Court overthrow, Swift hopes legislators will reconsider efforts to provide reproductive health services on campus.

Services at school health clinics vary by school, region, and the external agency providing care, but in general, school-based health clinics do not offer abortions on campus.Health Alliance. If a pregnant student comes to a school-based health center, staff may offer counseling and support and refer them to other resources, but each clinic is free to operate.

Meanwhile, Mendes High School in Boyle Heights, Los Angeles, last month unveiled a new 6,500-square-foot clinic on campus. The largest such health center in LAUSD, the clinic has 12 rooms for medical, dental, eye and mental health visits. The center has his two entrances, one for students and one for the general public, and is expected to serve primarily as a hub for the low-income Latino community.

It is also expected that by providing internships to students who wish to advance to the medical field, it will be useful for their education and career development.

“The opening of the Sylvia Mendez Wellness Center marks a historic milestone for the Boyle Heights community.” release from the district. “After years of organizing and advocating by students, families, school leaders and community members, wellness centers will become a reality that serves as a much-needed health resource for our communities. .”

The district also opened a new wellness center that serves two high schools in the San Fernando Valley. The $11.31 million Balboa Student and Family Wellness Center will provide medical and mental health services not only to students but also to members of their families and communities.

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