WHITE PLAINS, NY, June 3, 2014 (LifeSiteNews.com) — Two parents are suing their daughter's school district for what they claim was at least one unauthorized school trip to Hudson River Community Health Clinic, where students were given examinations and birth control pills “all without plaintiffs' knowledge, consent or opportunity to opt out,” the lawsuit says.
The lawsuit alleges that the daughter of Anthony and Eva Jackson was taken to the health clinic, along with other students in Peekskill City School District, by school counselor James Tosto. Tosto, who is retiring from the district this month, is married to one of the clinic’s employees.
The Jacksons spoke with then-Superintendent James Willis, who “did nothing, thereby implicitly but affirmatively condoning them,” according to the lawsuit.
The district, the school board, Willis — who left the school district's employ in 2013 — and the Tostos are named in the lawsuit. The Jacksons say their daughter began taking birth control pills, which is when they learned about the trips, and that Tosto’s wife Dawn provided transportation to the clinic without permission.
Bryan Fischer, director of issue analysis at the American Family Association, told LifeSiteNews, “When students are taken offsite without parental permission, that’s tantamount to kidnapping.”
“The right of parents to direct the kind of health services their minor children receive is sacred and a school has no moral or legal right to usurp the role of parents in decisions of this magnitude,” said Fischer. He also said that “it’s grossly irresponsible of school officials to supply vulnerable young minors with prescription medication that will have the practical effect of encouraging sexual experimentation. Students easily can wind up pregnant and diseased, since the pill is not 100% effective and provides absolutely no protection against sexually transmitted infections.”
The Jacksons have filed their lawsuit with Westchester County Supreme Court, and say their due process rights under the New York and U.S. constitutions were violated. The trips also broke state public health law provisions related to parental consent, they say.
A district spokesperson told LifeSiteNews that Peekskill has not been served with papers, and had no comment at this time. A media contact person with Hudson River Community Health Clinic did not return a call to clarify the 2011 trip and Dawn Tosto's employment situation with them. LifeSiteNews was able to verify that Tosto was an employee at the clinic as of 2010.
The district's actions are “simply inexcusable,” according to Fischer. “These parents should prevail in court.”