An email from a REAL parent:
At my child’s school last week a PE teacher sent home a form asking for the personal medical information of my child, his siblings, his parents and grandparents, including (if deceased) the date and cause of death for everything from alcoholism and drug addiction to cancer and diabetes to heart disease and rheumatoid arthritis, etc.
I immediately contacted my local hospital for confirmation that this is in direct violation of the HIPAA laws that protect our medical privacy rights, in other words it’s ILLEGAL. Then I set an appointment first thing the next morning with the principal and forwarded the same information to the superintendent. The principal informed me that the Common Core State Standard that was being studied was “that the student be able to identify the symptoms and causes of diabetes.” He agreed that the school had no right to this information, that it was irrelevant to the standard, and that it was illegal. Another teacher had sent a similar form home regarding personal family finances for their economics standards. Although this is not illegal as such, it is immoral and unethical. The principal was unaware that these forms had been sent home and promptly had both of these forms stopped. He thanked me for bringing it to his attention.
I did give them an option for these discussions at home, if the teachers feel it is necessary for the students studies. In the case of family medical history it is important for each of us to know as much as possible to be able to make better informed decisions regarding our healthcare. This, however, does not mean that the school can have this information. They should simply ask the child to discuss these things at home with their parents, that they are not to disclose any of this information with others, but that they should have their parents sign their assignment notebook that they have discussed it for homework. Nothing should go in writing to the teachers regarding this or any other personal information.
Please spread the word. You are NOT REQUIRED to fill out a form just because a teacher assigned it as homework. The reason for these forms coming home more now than in the past, is that there are no materials to support the Common Core yet. The teachers are searching the internet for support materials, see the term Diabetes in this example and say great, print, and done. They don’t even stop to consider the possibility that it might be illegal or not completely relevant to the standard. They are desperate to not have to create these things from scratch.
See the follow-up story: http://blnnews.com/2013/04/05/common-core-and-hipaa/