New York, NY – In spite of policies and funding to provide public school students with access to dental, vision, substance abuse, reproductive health vaccines, and contraception in their public schools actual performance goes unmeasured with some services provided onsite, others offsite, and others not at all.
“The city has policies in place to provide every health service they need and expect parents to be satisfied knowing they exist. I am concerned that the city is giving parents a false sense of security, when the truth is that we don’t know which public school students have access to which services,” said Council Member Ben Kallos. “We should know exactly which health services are available to which public schools so that we can ensure all 1.1 million public school students have access to the health services they need.”
SAPIS counselors provide essential social-emotional strategies and services to help youth remain learning-ready and are needed now more than ever due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the virtualization of students’ lives, stated Shaun D. Francois, I President of Local 372 and DC37. SAPIS are the best equipped to shoulder this responsibility.
“The SAPIS program is an established, certified service that is sponsored by OASAS to provide Evidence-Based Program (EBP) presentations, group and individual counseling, and positive alternatives to NYC public school students. SAPIS counselors are essential workers, they service K-12 in all 32 school districts in New York City, including special education. This includes classroom presentations; mental health services; leadership classes; peer mediation training; at-risk, crisis, individual and group counseling; drug and gang intervention; mediation; and more. SAPIS counselors are trained to support schools during crisis, and are proactive in providing students and their families with the tools to navigate the myriad of social, personal, and peer pressures that can derail healthy academic, social and individual development,” said Shaun D. Francois – President of Local 372 and DC37
Under legislation proposed by Council Member Ben Kallos for each healthcare area the Department of Education would have to report on the service offered, the location of services as onsite or offsite, cost of services to students, and the number of participants receiving services at each public school. The Department of Education would also have to set annual strategies to increase access, special initiatives, pilot schools, comparison of pilot schools to standard schools and compare year to year performance.
Reproductive Health: Contraception
The Department of Education (DOE) has a Condom Availability Program mandating that all public high schools provide Health Resource Rooms with free condoms, information and confidential referrals are available to all students. In partnership with DOE the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene provides 145 School Based Health Centers serving 345 schools387 schools in all five boroughs. At SBHCs serving more than 94 high schools, reproductive health services are provided which may include: counseling and access to contraception, pregnancy tests, PAP smears, referrals for abnormal PAPs, screening and treatment for STI, and referrals. The legislation would require reporting on whether a public school provides contraception, the types of contraception offered such as condoms, birth control, or IUD, whether contraception requires a prescription, costs to students associated with contraception, and the number of participants onsite and offsite.
Reproductive Health: HPV Vaccine
There were about 43 million HPV infections in 2018, many among people in their late teens and early 20s. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends the HPD vaccine for girls and boys at age 11 or 12 years to allow time to develop an immune response before becoming sexually active. The HPV vaccine is offered by pediatricians, public clinics, city immunization clinic and at School-Based Health Centers (SBHCs), according to testimony of Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. The legislation would require reporting on whether a public school provides HPV vaccines on site, how many children received the HPV vaccine and at what cost as well as how many were referred off-site.
More than one-in-three high school students in New York State reported drinking alcohol, one-in-five drinking more than five drinks in a row, according to United States Department of Health and Human Services. Two-in-five high school students nationwide reported using marijuana in the same study. The Department of Education’s Office of Safety and Youth Development through Substance Abuse Prevention and Intervention Specialists (SAPIS) provides prevention and intervention services from Kindergarten to Twelfth Grade including class room lessons, individual and group counseling, crisis intervention, conflict resolution, assessment and referrals for mental health and substance abuse services. The legislation would require reporting on whether a school has substance abuse services for students, what services are offered, at what cost and where.
More than 1 of 3 third grade children in NYC have untreated tooth decay, according to OSH. The New York State Education Department’s Office of the Professions manages a 2007 mandate under law, amended in 2013, for Public Schools to request an optional “Dental Health Certificate.” Many public schools host dental clinic operated by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and other providers. The legislation would require reporting on which public schools have on site clinics, what services are provided, how many children received services, any costs along with offsite referrals.
About 25% of students in the United States need glasses by the time they reach high school along with 3% suffering from amblyopia, putting them at risk of blindness in one eye if not treated before age seven according to OSH. The Department of Education (DOE) has established a Vision Screening Policy of screening all children by DOE or Department of Mental Health and Mental Hygiene in Pre-kindergarten, Kindergarten, First, Third and Fifth grades, as well as all new entrants, children referred or enrolled in special education, students referred by teachers with difficulties, and children at other than normal risk. The DOE has posted a “Vision Resource List.” Parents of children who do not pass one or more parts of the vision screening must go to an eye doctor to complete an “Eye Report and Recommendations” form within 30 days. The legislation would require reporting on which public schools have on site vision services, what vision services are provided at what cost as well as offsite referrals.
By Council Member Kallos
A LOCAL LAW
To amend the administrative code of the city of New York, in relation to reporting by the department of education on services provided in public schools related to dental, vision and sexual health and to substance abuse counseling
Be it enacted by the Council as follows:
Section 1. Chapter 8 of title 21-a of the administrative code of the city of New York is
amended by adding a new section 21-969 to read as follows:
§ 21-969 Annual report on health services provided. a. No later than November 1, 2021,
and annually thereafter on November 1, the department shall submit to the council and post on
is website a report on the following for each school in the city:
1. Whether the school provides dental services on site, a list of such services, the number
of students who received such services during the preceding school year, what portion of the total student body that number constitutes, whether such school charges students for dental
services and the amount of any such charge, and the number of students referred off site to
receive a dental service;
2. Whether the school provides vision services on site, a list of such services, the number
of students who received such services during the preceding school year, what portion of the
total student body that number constitutes, whether such school charges students for vision
services and the amount of any such charge, and the number of students referred off site to
receive a vision service;
3. Whether the school provides vaccinations for the human papillomavirus on site, the number of students who received such vaccinations during the preceding school year, what portion of the total student body that number constitutes, whether such school charges students
for such vaccinations and the amount of any such charge, and the number of students referred off
site to receive such vaccinations;
4. Whether the school provides contraception to students and, if so, the types of
contraception provided, the minimum number of students who were provided contraception
directly during the preceding school year, what portion of the total student body that number
constitutes, whether the school requires a prescription before providing contraception, whether
such school charges students for contraception and the amount of any such charge, and the
number of students referred off site to receive contraception; and
5. Whether the school provides substance abuse counseling to students and, if so, the
nature of the counseling provided (for example, without limitation, individual counseling, group
counseling or family counseling), the number of students who received such services during the
preceding school year, what portion of the total student body that number constitutes, the types
of substances for which students received substance abuse counseling, whether such school charges students for such counseling and the amount of any such charge, and the number of
students referred off site to receive substance abuse counseling.
b. The department shall also include in such report:
1. The steps the department has taken to increase access to the services listed in
subdivision a of this section for all students in the city district;
2. Information about any special initiatives the department has proposed or undertaken to
increase student use of the services listed in subdivision a of this section, where offered;
3. A list of schools that have been designated to benefit from such special initiatives;
4. A comparison of outcomes for schools that provide services listed in subdivision a of
this section with outcomes for schools that do not provide such services, both by individual
school and by community school district; and
5. A year-to-year comparison of all data reported pursuant to this section.
c. No information that is otherwise required to be reported pursuant to this section shall be reported in a manner that would violate any applicable provision of federal, state or local law
7 or the New York city health code relating to the privacy of student information or that would
interfere with law enforcement investigations or otherwise conflict with the interest of law
enforcement. If a category contains between 1 and 9 students, or allows another category to be
narrowed to be between 1 and 9 students, the number shall be replaced with a symbol.
§ 2. This local law takes effect immediately.
LS #2342/Int. 1620-2017