To: Mr. Arne Duncan, Secretary of Education, President Donald Trump, The United States House of Representatives, and The United States Senate

Mandate that Institutions of Higher Education Make Parents and Students Aware of HIPAA and FERPA ...

Students become legal adults at age 18. Unfortunately, this is a time when mental illness can begin. The rate of accidental injuries also increases. Many parents are unaware that medical and mental health professionals cannot call parents in the event of a mental health or physical health crisis, especially when their students are away at college, often with tragic consequences. Please mandate that all institutions of higher learning make parents aware of these privacy rules, in writing and verbally, at every orientation so that parents and their adult students can decide the most prudent choice to make in the event of an emergency, whether it be by having the student sign a Release of Information form for their parents or another designee to receive information or to designate parents or others as health proxies.

Why is this important?

My son took his own life at his college in 2009 just two weeks after making a suicide attempt on that same campus. The written material given to us by his institution said they would call parents in an emergency. They did not. We want to save lives and prevent other parents from experiencing the pain and anguish of losing a child. We believe making parents aware that they will not automatically be called in an emergency can lead to an open discussion with their adult children before they go off to college regarding the best course of action to take in the case of an emergency.