epidural
Flickr photo by Bramus!
I had to read the kindergarten registration papers three times before I was sure I was reading them right.

Right below name of student, date of birth, and other contact information was a list of "medical history" questions.

Only those aren't her medical history. They're mine.

Before I can register my daughter in a public kindergarten, they want to know: Did you take pain medication during labor?

Paging Mrs. Kravitz, stick your nose back behind that curtain.

It doesn't stop there:

  1. Were there any problems during pregnancy with this child (ex. high blood pressure, hepatitis, kidney problems, diabetes, etc.)?
  2. Any problems with labor and/or delivery?
  3. Long or short labor?

In short, they want me to write my birth story out ... for what? So they can pull it out in third grade and announce in the teachers' break room, no wonder that Sager kid can't conjugate. Her mother ... wait for it ... she took an epidural nine hours into induced labor! Lawd knows if this kid will ever be able to handle geometry.

All of this would seem somehow less intrusive if I wasn't told I would also have to include a physical from her pediatrician -- which is supposed to clearly state if there are any problems that the school would need to know about.

It's true, the school needs to be aware of the chance for developmental delays as one of my friends -- whose daughter attends the school where I'm registering my own child and who had no problem with the questions -- pointed out.

But the paperwork also asks if my child has ever been seen by a C.P. center, speech clinic, psychiatrist/psychologist -- all questions that are appropriate and negate the need for me to submit my birth story for a trial by strangers with no medical expertise whatsoever.

Likewise, it asks on the physical for her pediatrician to fill out whether there are any suspected or know disabilities and whether there are "special medical accommodations" that the school will need to make.

So I ask again, why are they asking about my medical choices? Whether I had gestational diabetes? Whether I have hepatitis, which is by classification a sexually transmitted disease and which she obviously does not have -- based on the vaccination record which I also have to include.

I realize how fortunate I am not to have to apply for special services for my child. But even if my child were, say, autistic or suffered from cerebral palsy, what does the length of my labor and/or decision to go vaginal or c-section have to do with it?

From an informal survey of other moms I know outside of my district (OK, I asked The Stir staff and friends on Facebook), I found only one other school district doing this, one private school. A review of kindergarten registration surveys for schools available on the Internet came up with nothing.

I'd say they have outdated paperwork, but our school district is also the youngest on the block -- it didn't exist when I graduated from high school 15 minutes away.

At the moment, I've consulted a medical expert on the HIPAA rules and have opted not to fill out the section based on a disclaimer at the bottom that says "only teachers and staff that [sic] would be in a supervisory capacity over your child would be authorized to access this information."

The fact that this would leave the district's health office at all is enough to convince me I will not be sharing any of these details. As they stand, it seems they are not governed by HIPAA and therefore not responsible for protecting my privacy.

Sure, I'm being difficult. But it only takes one mom standing up for our rights to privacy to change things for the rest of the moms out there.

Would you answer these questions?