A counselor takes a student to a doctor who prescribes Prozac. "Once the student has seen the doctor, the responsibility for that decision is the doctor's. Counselors don't administer medication."Actually, this is the one I'm closest to sympathetic to. Prozac does carry medical risks, particularly early on and in teenagers, and I'd like someone to be monitoring their health - and ideally that would be a main caregiver. But the counsellors aren't objecting to that - they're simply saying that it's the doctor's responsibility to assess the risk and take precautions. Seems eminently reasonable to me. And if a teenager needs a medication (and yes, I do have concerns about how antidepressants are prescribed - but I also know they can be a lifesaver) isn't it better they get it?
A student has suicidal thoughts. "Our job is to make a risk assessment. If our assessment is the kid really is at risk then there's no choice – the parent must be told. When kids are genuinely at risk, there's no fight in them, and they actually want someone to take responsibility for their safety."They make a risk assessment? Can't have that. That would make too much sense.
Look, they've said that they will inform parents if there is a risk (I would hope/assume other procedures would come into place in certain circumstances, eg abuse). Sometimes people have vague, fleeting suicidal thoughts when things are going badly that they have no plans to act on. Of course expressions of these need to be taken seriously until it's determined what the risk level is, but isn't it best for teens to be able to express them and have help dealing with them?
A student considers a sex change. "If there is no indication of serious imminent harm, then there's no choice; we can't tell."Oh yes, here's the ultimate scare story! Note the really vague term 'sex-change' which most people are going to associate with surgery. Let's get this clear. Little Bobby is not going to go to school one day and come back as Roberta, minus a penis. Surgery happens at the end of a long, long process, and is rarely publicly funded. There probably isn't even any medication involved at this stage (and if there is, see Prozac argument above). What we are talking about is teens discussing their gender identity in a supportive environment. I think that's fucking fantastic - I can't imagine that anyone would have felt able to to that at my high school.
And, yknow, gender identity can be very fluid for teenagers. Some people will know that they're not cisgendered from a very young age - but others will only start to explore the idea at puberty or later. And of those that do, some will be trans* and take medical steps, others will not but identify differently to how they were assigned at birth. And some will be cisgendered but have been exploring - say - an uncomfortableness with gender roles they were expected to take. Imagine being outed to your parents at such an early stage in your exploration, when you're really not sure what to tell them.
We didn't have counselors in my high school, so this is quite a new concept to me, but if they're providing a safe space for teenagers to talk about these issues, conducting risk assessments to keep them safe but not breaking their privacy unnecessarily, then this is a fantastic and needed service. Shame on you, SST, for your scare-mongering. I can guarantee that if you manage to destroy the confidentiality, kids are going to die because of it.
I also recommend Boganette's post on Judith Collins' call for a law change.