Jerry Moore (Admin)
Post Number: 11309
Votes: 0 (Vote!)
|Posted on Friday, October 28, 2005 - 12:26 pm:
Computer: your kid has
Get on the Bus Blog
Imagine your teenager comes home from school looking
depressed. You ask what’s wrong. She says, “Oh, it’s just my social
anxiety disorder.” What?
Yes, she tells you, she has social
anxiety disorder. And also obsessive compulsive disorder.
What are you talking about, you ask? Who is telling you
They told me at school!
And no, it wasn’t a
psychologist, social worker or even the school nurse that told her.
It was: a computer! They call it TeenScreen.
Just after I complained about computerized scoring of tests, now one Indiana
school is taking things even further with the computer. They’re
letting the computer diagnose you kid’s alleged mental problems!
A civil liberties group called The Rutherford
Institute that is suing the South Bend, Ind., school district on
behalf of 15-year-old Chelsa Rhodes, described what occurred:
“Students were divided into groups of 10-15, herded
into classrooms and placed in front of computers. After completing
the examination and being escorted into a private hallway by an
employee of Madison Center, Chelsea was informed that based on her
responses that she liked to clean and didn’t like to party very
much, she suffered from at least two mental health problems,
obsessive compulsive disorder and social anxiety disorder.
Chelsea was also told that if her condition worsened, her
mother should take her to the Madison Center for treatment.
According to Chelsea, a majority of the students who were
subjected to the TeenScreen exam were also told that they were
suffering from some sort of mental or social
I am amazed first of all that anyone
would think a computer could diagnose mental disorders, and that a
school district would buy into this, and that it would subject kids
to such a test without parental consent or without having the
results explained to the kids by some kind of professional.
TeenScreen bills itself as a suicide prevention system. But
I found one blogger who alleges TeenScreen is backed
by drug companies who would love to see more kids taking meds.
How do you think you would react if this happened at your
Jerry Moore (Admin)
Post Number: 10863
Votes: 0 (Vote!)
|Posted on Sunday, September 18, 2005 - 9:20 pm:
Fierce opposition arises to mental
health screening in schools
By Karen MacPherson, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
September 18, 2005
WASHINGTON -- Back in 2003, a federal commission created by
President Bush recommended improving and expanding mental health
programs in schools to provide help as early as possible to students
with learning problems or those who might turn violent or
The commission highlighted one means of early
diagnosis, the Columbia University "TeenScreen"
program, that allows students -- with parental permission -- to get
a mental health "check-up" via a computer-based questionnaire before
graduating from high school.
The commission's 86-page report
included this suggestion among a long list of recommendations to
improve the U.S. mental health system. The report attracted little
attention outside mental health circles.
But over the past
two years, a cottage industry of fiery opposition has grown up
around the proposal to expand mental health programs in the schools
and has become a popular rallying cry for conservatives who see it
as unwarranted government intervention in family life.
Opponents of school-based mental health programs point to
parents who say their children have been misdiagnosed with problems
such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and forced
to take medication under pressure from school officials.
these parents, the commission suggestion to "improve and expand''
school mental health programs is the first, inexorable step toward
mandatory school mental health screening for all students, and
mandatory medication for many, despite repeated assurances by
commission members, school officials and congressional experts that
this won't happen.
Led by groups like http://www.ablechild.org/ and EdAction, these
parents want to prohibit schools from having anything to do with the
mental health of their students, saying it is the job of parents to
ensure their children's well-being.
As a first step, the
groups are pushing Congress to pass legislation, sponsored by Rep.
Ron Paul, R-Tex., and supported by House Majority Leader Tom DeLay,
R-Texas, to prohibit any federal funding for mental health screening
of students without the written consent of their parents.
"If [this legislation] is passed, it will prevent wasteful
and potentially devastating federal funding while safeguarding the
informed consent rights of all parents in what is a most serious
matter -- their children's health and safety," said Patricia
Weathers, president and co-founder of Ablechild.org.
educators and medical professionals on the other side of the debate
agree parental consent should be required for screenings. But
they also think it's worth studying the idea of promoting voluntary
screenings to get help for children who need it as early as
"There is this curious coalition of people who are
concerned about stuff that we didn't recommend, and are making a big
noise about it,'' said Michael Hogan, director of the Ohio Mental
Health Department and chairman of what was then called the New
"The core thing that the commission was
concerned about is the fact that a lot of these mental health
problems are pretty clearly problems of childhood and adolescent
onset.... Added to this is the fact that most children never get to
see a mental health specialist.
"The fundamental logic of
what the commission said is that we should take steps to facilitate
access to care where children are.''
The debate over school
screenings is just part of a larger discussion over the role schools
should play in ensuring children's mental heath. Many educators
point to a clear connection between mental health and academic
How much of a "role" should educators
have? Michael at Joanne Jacobs notes, "These days it's breakfast,
nutrition, after-school supervision, health and medical services,
relationship counseling, sex counseling, condoms and the pill,
on-site social workers . . . ." Shouldn't school be more "about
getting an education, not being turned into the perfect societal
"There are a whole slew of intra-personal
variables that contribute to a kid's ability to learn and are
heavily related to their academic success,'' said Stacy Skalski,
public policy director for the National Association of School Psychologists.
"There are also inter-personal variables. Kids don't come
into the world knowing how to relate to others. They need to learn
Bruce Hunter, a veteran policy official with the
American Association of School Administrators, said it's clear "the
education business is tough enough without getting into the mental
"But if a kid is going to beat the hell out
of other kids regularly, and is disrupting the classroom, that's a
child that needs some mental health assistance. One of the things
that our members have expressed is a rising concern about students'
mental health, and the ability to get them help when they have a
problem,'' Hunter said.
A complicating factor is that the
debate over school mental health problems has become enmeshed in the
vehement opposition of some people to medicating children for
depression, hyperactivity and other problems. These opponents point
to the nasty potential side effects of some commonly prescribed
drugs, including suicide, and argue that they simply aren't safe for
Hogan and others supporters of school mental
health programs agree that more long-term testing should be done on
antidepressants and other emotion-altering drugs prescribed for
children and teens.
"We [commission members] recommended
that the scientists and regulatory officials get on top of the
safety issue,'' Hogan said.
Weathers, of Ablechild.org, is
among those who believe more attention should be paid to children's
nutrition and behavior management, instead of "being so quick to
prescribe a drug." Her group supports legislation, sponsored by Rep.
John Kline, that would prohibit schools from requiring parents to
have their children medicated to attend classes.
bill would expand protections in the Individuals with Disabilities
Act, which prohibited schools from requiring special education
students to take certain medications, to all students. The bill also
would cover more types of medication than in the disability law.
Weathers said she was pressured into medicating her then
first-grade son after a school psychologist diagnosed him with
attention deficit disorder. The medication eventually made him
psychotic, but when she stopped giving it to him the school reported
her to state children protective officials for child abuse, she
A lawsuit brought by Weathers against school officials
is pending; her son, meanwhile, is now 15 and "doing fine," she
"We have 1,000 stories like this,'' Weathers said.
"Our group is not saying that children don't have attention or
behavior problems. Some kids do. But why should we force parents to
drug their children so they can attend school?"
Jerry Moore (Admin)
Post Number: 9977
Votes: 0 (Vote!)
|Posted on Friday, June 17, 2005 - 2:42 pm:
Lawsuit: School nurse forced girl to
take pregnancy test
Teen's dad says her privacy,
constitutional rights were violated.
By Steven Kreytak / AUSTIN (TX) AMERICAN-STATESMAN STAFF
A 15-year-old girl and her father have filed a
federal lawsuit claiming that a San Marcos High School nurse forced
the girl to take a pregnancy test.
Nurse Dyanna Eastwood
called the girl to her office Jan. 11 and told her that a student at
another school had claimed he impregnated her, according to the
lawsuit, which claims the girl's privacy and constitutional rights
The girl denied that she was pregnant and
said she never had sex with the boy, but Eastwood insisted that the
girl take the test, according to the lawsuit, which was filed
Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Austin. The girl's lawyer said
she was not pregnant.
The lawsuit, which seeks unspecified
damages, claims Eastwood violated the girl's Fourth Amendment right
against unreasonable search and seizure.
* * *
girl and her father are not being identified by the Austin
American-Statesman because of her age and the sensitive nature of
"This whole thing is intrinsically wrong," said
John Hindera, the family's Austin lawyer. "She's a 15-year-old girl
that's suddenly being confronted with having sex and being
Hindera said that Eastwood did not threaten any
consequences if the girl declined to take the test, but that the
girl felt she had no choice because the nurse is an authority
When the girl's father asked Principal Chad Kelly
about the pregnancy test, the father was handed a piece of paper
indicating that "the nurse performed the pregnancy test pursuant to
the school district's interpretation of section 32.003 of the Texas
Family Code," the lawsuit states.
Part of that section
states that a child may consent to medical treatment by a licensed
physician if the child "is unmarried and pregnant and consents to
hospital, medical or surgical treatment, other than abortion,
related to the pregnancy."
Hindera said even if the girl
agreed to take the test, that consent isn't valid under Texas law
because of her age.
It is unclear whether it is a practice
in the San Marcos school district for nurses to keep pregnancy tests
for student use. A district spokeswoman declined to say because of
the pending lawsuit.
The Austin and Round Rock school
districts do not keep or administer pregnancy tests and only deal
with issues of student pregnancies if the student requests help,
spokeswomen at those districts said.
"We don't get involved
in those private matters," Nicole Kaufman said of Austin's practice.
"Students being pregnant doesn't affect any form of educational
service that we provide them."
Anna Schissel, a lawyer for
the reproductive rights project at the New York Civil Liberties
Union, said forcing tests on anyone presents medical ethics
questions as well as potential constitutional violations.
"You can't force medical care on an unwilling patient," said
Schissel, who represented a group of teenage girls who sued New York
City schools in 2003.
The girls had been accused of cutting
classes to attend a party where they had sex and were barred from
classes until they showed officials the results of pregnancy tests.
The case settled out of court.
Jerry Moore (Admin)
Post Number: 9878
Votes: 0 (Vote!)
|Posted on Tuesday, June 07, 2005 - 9:30 pm:
Mental health tests for kids spark
Opponents fear labeling of students
Bonnie Miller Rubin, Chicago Tribune staff reporter. Tribune staff
reporter Meg McSherry Breslin contributed to this report
Suzanne Cahalan knew there was a problem when her
4-year-old daughter started stealing from friends and relatives. But
it took eight years before the Wheaton mother of four finally found
out that the girl suffered from bipolar disorder.
delays in diagnosis make a powerful case that youngsters should be
monitored closely for mental health problems, according to
children's advocates who are drafting a plan to increase awareness
in Illinois schools about depression, anxiety and other disorders,
as well as the need to screen children when warning signs occur.
"Our daughter lost some crucial growing-up time," said
Cahalan, an attorney. "If we had known earlier, we could have sought
appropriate treatment to alleviate some of her symptoms. We could
have saved not only her, but our entire family from some very
Critics say that such initiatives are what
is truly terrifying. Conservative and anti-government Web sites have
been buzzing for months about how such plans will lead to children
being forcibly tested, unfairly labeled--and even drugged. Most of
all, opponents say that watching out for mental disorders is the
responsibility of parents, not institutions.
"The purpose of
school is to educate," said Fran Eaton, a lobbyist who represents
the Illinois Family Institute, Concerned Women of America and other
conservative groups in Springfield. "At a time when the U.S. is
lagging behind other nations in math and science, is this what we
should be doing? Do we really want the state involved in determining
emotional and social development?"
The idea of being more
proactive gained momentum after President Bush's New Freedom
Commission on Mental Health found in 2003 that only 20 percent of
troubled children receive treatment, and it called for schools to
play a bigger role. Congress allocated $20 million for states to
develop a range of programs, emphasizing prevention, early
identification and intervention.
"This is not a hunt to find
mental illness. It's about trying to support children so they can be
healthy," said Barbara Shaw, chairwoman of the Illinois Children's
Mental Health Partnership, the task force developing the plan to
improve access to treatment for youth from preschool through
adolescence. A new draft of the plan is due on the governor's desk
by month's end.
"Children have been kicked out of day care
centers, failed in schools and generally suffered needlessly," Shaw
said. "Through better screening, parents will have more information
to help them help their children."
As long as the screening is voluntary
and paid for by parents' health insurance, if they have it. We don't
need another "free" service to include in school budgets.
Assessment tools are already used by primary care
physicians, in early childhood programs and a variety of school
settings. Questionnaires that evaluate mood and behavior--such as
the TeenScreen Program developed at Columbia University--are used to
identify those at high risk for depression and other mood disorders.
A sample question asks: "In the past month, how much of a
problem have you had with feeling unhappy or sad?" Responses range
from "1, no problem" to "5, very bad problem."
primary grades, one popular questionnaire is Ages and Stages, which
is filled out by parents. In all cases, trained personnel, such as
school psychologists, do the scoring. If concerns are identified,
parents are encouraged to get further information. Any follow-up is
at the discretion of the parent, officials said, just as it is when
a child is identified as needing eyeglasses.
Why not make screening at the
discretion of parents, too?
"Here we have something
that can really help kids," said Dr. Louis Kraus, head of child and
adolescent psychiatry at Rush University Medical Center. "If schools
are just to educate, then why do we require a physical exam or that
vaccines are up-to-date? It makes sense to use schools . . . because
that's where the kids are."
The pathway to Hell is paved with good
The Chicago Public
Schools system has hired a consultant from the University of North
Carolina to help more preschool teachers figure out when a child's
problems are serious enough to require help such as special
education services. School leaders hope to get budget approval for
mental-health screeners and teacher training for about 25 schools
beginning in the fall.
As with cancer or diabetes, mental
illness is most responsive to therapy when caught early, said Dr.
Carl Bell, a child psychiatrist and president of the Chicago
Community Mental Health Council. When left untreated, mental illness
places children at higher risk for dropping out of school, substance
abuse, criminal activity and suicide.
This is why home visits from nurses are
more cost-effective than preschool.
School officials already patrol for everything from
tuberculosis to head lice, and mental illness should be no
different, he said. "All they're doing is jacking it up a notch,"
said Bell, calling this one of the most urgent public health issues
of the day.
Ah! But there's a huge difference.
Physical exams, vaccinations and diseases of the body all deal with
objective issues. But what constitutes mental illness is a great
deal more subjective and influenced by social, cultural and
political forces. When public schools become mass consumers of
mental health services, what constitutes mental illness will be
substantially determined by system needs. Do students talk back? Do
they tease others? Do they laugh at teachers? Do they stare out the
window during instruction? Do they prefer rugged individualism to
the nanny state? If so, there must be a mental illness lurking in
And let's not pretend this isn't big
business for the counseling industry. There's lots of full-time
employment locked into this idea, with lots of political power to be
gained. And it's all based on a false premise--that counselors are
as effective as vaccinations. They aren't. Not by a long shot. On
average, people are perhaps only slightly better off with lots of
mental health counselors than they are without any of them. That's
because sometimes counselors make things better, most times things
get better on their own with or without counselors, and sometimes
counselors make things worse.
"We're at the point
where it's going to become unethical not to do these things--just
as, in 2005, it is not ethical to deny a child a polio or a smallpox
That's right. Which means that the
discretion of parents to follow-up on what counselors say is a
temporary right granted for political purposes to aid in the
transition to mandated mental health counseling for all students.
Parents have already gotten into legal battles over taking their
children off Ritalin.
Mental health counseling must always
be at the discretion of the client, absent a clear and immediate
danger of the client to him/herself or to others.
again, I must point out that mental health services are
nothing like polio and smallpox shots. These are highly
effective preventatives for objective conditions that everyone wants
to avoid. Mental health services are marginally effective for
subjective conditions that may be both beneficial and harmful to a
person. The public should not be hoodwinked into analogies based on
physical diseases and cures.
and anti-psychiatry groups--nationally as well as in
Illinois--believe the diagnosis of mental illness is subjective, at
best. And they contend that such ambitious plans come with a
built-in profit motive.
"The stakeholders in this campaign
have a financial interest in inflating the roster of children and
adults who get labeled mentally ill," said Vera Hassner Sharav,
president of the Alliance for Human Research Protection, a patient
advocacy group. More screened kids means more money for
psychiatrists and the pharmaceutical industry, she said.
Kraus scoffed at that notion. "Most of us are so overwhelmed
[by demand] that the concept that we're pushing for this to line our
pockets is a joke."
I detect a couple of mental health
issues in that response. Do you see them?
conservative newsletter, the Illinois Leader, helped fuel the
controversy by reporting that testing would be mandatory and done
without parental consent. Officials say this is not true.
Nevertheless, when the Illinois partnership--made up of
representatives from more than 30 health, education and child
advocacy groups--delivers a new draft, it will spell out more
explicitly that any screening would be voluntary and by parental
The furor started to bubble up last fall, when
the partnership held public forums at five locations around the
state, including Chicago. One common fear is that all students would
be screened, not just those exhibiting troubling behavior.
Eaton, the lobbyist, said private citizens shared their
experiences with her, recalling how they were different from other
students and did not fit the mold. In today's climate, "they were
confident that they would be stigmatized as mentally ill. It was
very painful to listen to."
It happened to my daughter. If you're out of the
norm, you're a target--just like with bullying.
"Testing for kids in foster care or corrections--we have no
objections with that," she said. "It's the idea that every child is
seen as having a potential need for mental health care is where we
have a problem."
Tweaking the language of the proposed plan
doesn't placate State Sen. Chris Lauzen (R-Aurora), who calls it an
overreach of government.
"When I listened to constituents on
this issue, I heard real fear in their voices . . . that their kids
would be labeled; that other classmates might not want to play with
them," Lauzen said.
Proponents say one way to erase the
stigma is to bring mental health into the mainstream. They also
argue that it is unpredictable behavior, not the results of an
assessment, that separates children from their peers.
eight-year lag experienced by Cahalan's daughter from onset of
symptoms to diagnosis and treatment is fairly typical, experts say.
At age 12, the girl finally received the medications that tamed her
mood swings. She will study nursing at a local college this fall.
What's the ethics of drugging people to
change their moods? Shall we all start taking drugs to limit the
swings of our moods?
Still, Cahalan laments the
squandered years. "If my kid had asthma or leukemia, I'd want her
labeled at an early age," she said. "I feel like she lost her
childhood . . . and we can't ever get that back."
She didn't lose her childhood. She had
a different kind of childhood--one that may ultimately be more
beneficial to her than the one Cahalan laments losing. People seem
to think that life is supposed to be easy; that no one should have
to be bothered with putting up with people outside the norm. It's a
dangerous idea for individual liberty and choice.
way, once mandatory mental health screening for students becomes the
norm after the transition period, how long do you think it will be
before mental health screening is mandated for the parents of
students? The evolution of decreasing liberty in this country is a
more scientifically sound theory than the evolution of plants and
animals--and it happens much faster.
Jerry Moore (Admin)
Post Number: 9765
Votes: 0 (Vote!)
|Posted on Friday, May 27, 2005 - 12:09 am:
Pharma Lobbies to Drug Kids in Schools -
Sepp Hasslberger / New Media Explorer
May 11, 2005
Pharma interests have united with mental health
organizations to push through legislation that would require mandatory testing and forced administration of
drugs to kids in schools - without their parents' consent.
Rep. Ron Paul, MD has introduced a bill that would prevent such an
If you live in the United States, please read
on to see what you can do to protect your children.
school shootings? Many of them were apparently committed under the
influence of the very psychiatric drugs the new mental health
testing program is pushing to use widely. Violence and suicides are some of the "side effects" of these
FOR HUMAN RESEARCH PROTECTION (AHRP)
Full Disclosure, and Accountability
The big guns of
America's mental health establishment -- including the American
Psychiatric and Psychological Associations and the National Alliance
for the Mentally Ill -- are making united front in support of mass
mental health screening of American children -- as recommended in
the New Freedom Commission report. Get
The stakeholders in this campaign (see below)
have a financial interest in inflating the roster of children and
adults who get labeled "mentally ill" -- employment for their
members, increased budgets from pharmaceutical donations and
government grants, and power. This unholy coalition of special
interest groups is lobbying Congress in opposition to Congressman
Ron Paul's efforts to stop this Orwellian initiative by denying
federal funding for it.
Cong. Ron Paul's bill, HR 181: "The
Parental Consent Act of 2005" strikes a vital blow for parents who
oppose government interference with their parental authority, and
strengthens the fundamental right of parents to direct and control
the upbringing and education of their children. This bill already has 33 co-sponsors.
Congress is beginning to act to reverse the dangerous and
tryannical trend of schools requiring the drugging of children in
order to receive an education. In the reauthorization of the
Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), the federal
special education law, schools can no longer require that special
education students be forcibly drugged with powerful controlled
substances like Ritalin and Adderall in order to be in school or
A separate bill that would would have
afforded that same protection to all students passed the US House
425-1, but was blocked in the Senate by Senator Edward Kennedy
(D-MA), who appeared to be acting at the behest of the
An expanded version of that bill was
introduced by Rep. John Kline (R-MN) on April 21st of this year.
This legislation would prohibit coercion by schools to require that
ANY student be on ANY psychotropic drug. This bill would cover not
only controlled substances like Ritalin, but also antidepressants
like Prozac that are associated with suicide, violence, and severe
withdrawal, as well as antipsychotic medications that cause diabetes
in youngsters. This legislation already has 18 co-sponsors and is a
priority of the NAACP for this session of Congress.
to say, the huge amount of lobbying resources available to the
organizations lobbying against parental right to say no -- have the
backing of the pharmaceutical industry.
President Bush's New Freedom Commission's recommendations for mass
mental health screening of Americans have come from numerous
quarters: parents, physicians, academics, journalists, civil and
human rights groups.
Critics have pointed out:
stigmatizing nature of screening efforts
- the dubious
scientific bases of population screening for disorders with
uncertain, in-the-beholder's-eye conditions
-the lack of
attention to potential harm from screening
involvement of the pharmaceutical industry in the promotion of
-the use of screening as a barely-disguised maneuver
to increase the number of people taking psychotropic medications
such as antidepressants, despite their demonstrated ineffectiveness
with children and their huge off-label prescription by physicians.
The story of Aliah, a 13- year-old girl, perfectly
illustrates the outcome of mental health screening of children.
After psychologists from the University of Texas visited her
school to conduct a mental health screening for sixth- and
seventh-grade girls, Aliah's life took a dramatic turn.
the next year, Aliah spent a total of nine months in a state
hospital and residential treatment facilities. In hospital, she was
placed in restraints more than 26 times and medicated -- against her
will and without her parents' consent -- with at least 12 different
psychiatric drugs, many of
story was published in Mother Jones which has graciously provided
free access to the entire article, "Medicating Aliah," to AHRP and AHRP Infomail
(Use access code: MJZL6Y).
AHRP asks the
organizations who support mental health screening of American
children and adults to disclose exactly how much financial support
they receive from the pharmaceutical industry.
Organizations for Ron Paul's Parental Rights bill, HR 181, do not
take money from drug companies:
American Association of Physicians and Surgeons
Concerned Women for America
International Center for the Study of Psychiatry and
National Association for the Advancement of Colored
People (NAACP) [pdf]
the Liberty Committee
Campaign Partners favorable to screening American
children for mental disorders:
. American Academy of
Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
. American Psychiatric
. American Psychological Association
. CHADD -
Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder
. Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA)
Federation of Families for Children's Mental Health (FFCMH)
Judge David L. Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law
Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI)
. National Association of
County Behavioral Health Directors (NACBHD)
Association of State Mental Health Program Directors (NASMHPD)
National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare (NCCBH)
National Empowerment Center (NEC)
. National Mental Health
. National Mental Health Consumers' Self-Help
. Suicide Prevention Action Network USA (SPANUSA)
. United States Psychiatric Rehabilitation Association (USPRA)
Jerry Moore (Admin)
Post Number: 7471
Votes: 0 (Vote!)
|Posted on Wednesday, November 24, 2004 - 4:27 pm:
Attempt to stop mandatory mental
Congressman pushed language requiring
November 24, 2004
An attempt by Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, to add language to the
omnibus spending bill in Congress to require parental consent for
any mental-health screening done to children with federal money has
Nothing could be more repugnant or
disrespectful than to force children who are forced to attend
government schools to undergo mental health evaluations and/or
counseling without parental input and guidance. It is an affront to
basic human dignity in my opinion.
The language was
proposed to blunt the effect of a program proposed by the New
Freedom Commission on Mental Health, which President Bush
established in 2002. The New Freedom Initiative recommends
screening not only for children but eventually for every
* * *
The language he hoped to have
added to the omnibus bill, which passed on Saturday, was:
"None of the funds made available for State Incentive Grants
for Transformation should be used for any programs of mandatory or
universal mental-health screening that performs mental-health
screening on anyone under 18 years of age without the express,
written permission of the parents or legal guardians of each
* * *
"We believe the drug
companies and the psychiatric establishment convinced Sens. Arlen
Specter and Bill Frist to block it," said Kent Snyder, executive
director of the Paul-founded Liberty Committee. "We are extremely
disappointed that the conference committee ultimately rejected Dr.
Paul's language and that it was not added to the omnibus spending
Critics of the mental-health screening plan say it is
a thinly veiled attempt by drug companies to provide a wider market
for high-priced antidepressants and antipsychotic medication, and
puts government in areas of Americans' lives where it does not
Snyder says Paul won't give up on thwarting the
screening and will take up the issue again in January when the new
Jerry Moore (Admin)
Post Number: 6440
Votes: 0 (Vote!)
|Posted on Tuesday, July 27, 2004 - 10:13 pm:
IL launches compulsory mental health
screening for children and pregnant women
By The Illinois
Leader Chicago Bureau
See, importantly, Alert on more federal mental
CHICAGO -- This week,
a series of public forums on a program requiring all pregnant
women and children through age 18 years to be tested for mental
health needs is being held this week in five different locations
Mandatory mental health
evaluation? I can hardly believe this is happening in America.
Shrinks and social workers are not qualified to tell people how to
live their lives, especially based on flimsy tests with
interpretations based on stereotypes.
One group of
parents learned about the state's plans to proceed with this program
and on Monday issued an alarm asking for parents and citizens
concerned about the new program to voice their opinions at the
* * *
"What if they find a student has a
math disorder, a reading disorder. Would that be a mental health
disorder, one that would cause the parents to put their children
with a drug for a condition they may or may not have?" Trainor
The mental health program will develop a mental
health system for "all children ages 0-18 years," provide for
screening to "ensure appropriate and culturally relevant
assessment of young children's social and emotional development
with the use of standardized tools."
This is not about ensuring an
appropriate "assessment," it's about ensuring the "appropriate and
culturally relevant" rearing of children in accordance with the
beliefs and values of those who have degrees in mental health. Who
could possibly believe that "assessment" is the only goal?
* * *
Apparently, children's mental health will be
assessed along with their academic standards in the new proposed
testing. The Illinois State Board of Education has been given the
responsibility to develop the appropriate tests, according to last
* * * *
This law should have been dubbed "The
Full Employment Of Psychiatrists, Psychologists And Social Workers
Act of 2003."
Post Number: 305
Votes: 0 (Vote!)
|Posted on Tuesday, April 27, 2004 - 1:23 pm:
From some poster named: "Rock"
"Dear Mr. Moore: I
teach in an inner-city school. I cannot count the number of times
our social worker has had to speak to a student about suspected
child abuse. I have had FOUND (ie.}}} substantiated by DSS) cases of
abuse in my students. If all the facts are portrayed accurately, the
"couseling" provided to your daughter seems unwarranted. Please
remember not all children live in loving homes like yours. School
counselors have undoubtedly saved lives by not asking parent
permission prior to an interview in suspected abuse cases."
Just a few questions here Rocky-boy:
a. How would
you know whether or not the charges were substantiated?
did you obtain the result of a confidential process?
2. Who are
you to judge the nature of anyone's home?? -Seems kind of a
subjective judgment to me.
The problem with such a
dangerously subjective standard of reporting ...a judgment of
"suspicion," is that some people evidently not altogether unlike
like "Rocky" there, actively look for abuse and suspect it way too
often.How else can the fact of huge overreporting be explained? They
believe that they have done something noble if they find one case of
substantiated abuse no matter how many innocent people they turn in.
Never mind the anguish and incredible difficulty that ensues in the
lives of the innocent when the DSS Nazis show up and start
Now from a far better source on the topic: http://www.aei.org/news/newsID.17965/news_detail.asp
"Child abuse is, of course, a real problem. But is it
nineteen times more prevalent today than thirty years ago? That is
what the statistics offer. In 1963: 150,000 reported cases. In 1992:
Now, simply considering the historical
trajectory of the treatment of children since the nineteenth
century, when child labor--even child slavery--was common, it is
hard to believe that the tendency to improved treatment of children
has been so radically reversed in one generation.
hasn't. What happened then? The first thing that happened was an epidemic of overreporting. Douglas Besharov
points out that whereas in 1975, about one-third of child abuse
cases were dismissed for lack of evidence, today about two-thirds
are dismissed. New York authorities may have
considered it a great social advance that between 1979 and 1983, for
example, reported cases of child abuse increased by almost fifty
percent. But over the same period, the number of substantiated cases
actually declined. In other words, the 22,000 increase of reported
cases yielded an increase of real cases of less than zero.
Note the contrast. For ordinary crime, to which we have
become desensitized, we have defined deviancy down. One measure of
this desensitization is underreporting: Two out of every three
ordinary crimes is never even reported. Child abuse is precisely the
opposite. For child abuse, to which we have become exquisitely
oversensitized, deviancy has been correspondingly defined up. One of
the measures of oversensitization is overreporting: Whereas two out
of every three ordinary crimes is never reported, two out of three
reported cases of child abuse never occurred.
epidemic of child abuse is a compound of many factors. Clearly,
overreporting is one. Changing societal standards regarding corporal
punishment is another. Using current standards and definitions of
child abuse, I dare say that most of my father's generation would be
classified as abused.
But beyond the numbers and definitions
there is a new ideology of child abuse. Under
its influence, the helping professions, committed to the belief in
endemic abuse, have encouraged a massive search to find cases, and
where they cannot be found, to invent them."
the foregoing is to say, not to put too fine a point on it: For all you All you meddling, perverted, DSS types who
see abuse everywhere, LISTEN UP: there are a lot of lawyers these
days who specialize in finding you quacks and in suing you
personally for abuse of families, parents and parental rights. Crawl
back into the dark holes of your feverish imaginations where you
Jerry Moore (Admin)
Post Number: 3925
Votes: 0 (Vote!)
|Posted on Wednesday, October 08, 2003 - 10:43 pm:
Davis Signs Away Parental Rights Just
Just before the election,
Governor Gray Davis signed a bill into law (SB71), which will allow
public schools and teachers to question children at any age about
their parents and family, or about personal sexual issues, without
parental consent. Before SB71, public schools were required by state
law to obtain prior written parental consent before any student
could be given or posed any questions regarding sex, family life,
morality or religion. The new California law will now only require
written notice, which may be placed in a stack of other materials at
the beginning of the school year.
Fortunately for parents in
California, a federal statute sponsored by President Bush, the No
Child Left Behind bill, will still put the requirement of prior
written consent on all public schools that receive federal money.
“Governor Davis and his liberal colleagues in the
legislature have gutted much of the state law protecting the rights
of parents," said Brad Dacus, President of the Pacific Justice
Institute. "Nonetheless, we at the Pacific Justice Institute will be
aggressively using every federal statute available to ensure their
defense. Further, public school districts should consider this
notice that we intend to file suit on behalf of any parent that
reports a verifiable violation of their rights.”
information on ongoing parental rights cases being handled by the
Pacific Justice Institute, check out our new website at http://www.pacificjustice.org/.
Jerry Moore (Admin)
Post Number: 3528
Votes: 0 (Vote!)
|Posted on Friday, August 01, 2003 - 4:29 pm:
Court Hands Down Landmark Parental
San Francisco, CA - In a
groundbreaking en banc decision, the Ninth Circuit set new
precedence for the protection of parents and children from social
workers who abuse their discretion. The en banc decision reversed a
three-judge panel decision, and strips social workers of the
absolute immunity enjoyed by prosecutors. Because of this case,
Miller v. Gammie, social workers will now only have limited,
qualified immunity for their actions, similar to police officers.
Pacific Justice Institute Affiliate Attorney Donnie Cox assisted
with the case.
"This case is about social workers no longer
being given the same immunity as prosecutors. For the last fifteen
years, they had unfettered discretion to do what they wanted," said
Attorney Cox. "They will now be held accountable when they
maliciously violate the rights of parents or their children."
"This is a landmark case for increasing the accountability
of social workers," said Pacific Justice Institute President Brad
Dacus. "After all these years, a social worker will now need to
think twice before abusing the rights of parents."
The Pacific Justice Institute is a
non-profit 501(c)(3) legal defense organization specializing in the
defense of religious freedom, parental rights, and other civil
P.O. Box 4366, Citrus Heights, CA 95611
(916) 857-6900 Fax (916) 857-6902 http://www.pacificjustice.org/
Jerry Moore (Admin)
Post Number: 3408
Votes: 0 (Vote!)
|Posted on Saturday, June 14, 2003 - 12:04 am:
Thank you for taking the time to share this
extremely important story. I am aware that many situations like
May I note that neither following professional
ethics codes nor honoring a request not to have any "school
counselor interview [a student] for any reason without prior
parental notification and authorization . . ." would prevent
students from obtaining access to school counseling services unless
the parents choose another provider.
The first step for
teachers who become aware of the kind of mental health issues you
mentioned is to consult with the parents unless there is a factual
and reasonable basis specific to the situation to believe the
consultation would endanger the student. The course of action should
not be unilaterally decided by the school since parents are the ones
ultimately responsible for the student's well-being. Schools can be
vigilant without over-stepping the role and responsibilities of
Moreover, it is possible to write a limitation on
counseling services that permits student-initiated counseling but
not school-initiated counseling. My wife and I did not choose this
option for our daughter, although others may wish to leave the door
open a little wider than we did.
I sincerely hope that your
life is going well and thank you for providing all the information
Votes: 0 (Vote!)
|Posted on Friday, June 13, 2003 - 9:29 pm:
I understand your
frustration at the school's reaction to your daughter's writings in
English class. I'm not the world's greatest writer, but I have
something important to say. I hope that sharing my story will help
you understand why the school responded and why other parents should
not be so quick to refuse school counseling services.
I am a
Scotia-Glenville graduate. As a high school student, I was, like
your daughter, a "conscientious, hard-working, reliable,
go-to-church, drug-free, alcohol-free, obedient, top-honor-roll
student." I was also clinically depressed and terrified to tell my
I felt sad all the time. I was tired all the time.
I couldn't fall asleep at night and could barely drag myself out of
bed in the morning. I had trouble finding the joy in anything. I was
desperate for close friendships but was terrified to really let
people in. At home I lashed out at anyone who tried to come near me.
I secretly cried for hours. I wanted to die. I was in agony.
But I couldn't tell my parents. I couldn't disappoint them.
Looking back, there was no reason for me to feel that way. My
parents have always loved me unconditionally and have given me
nothing but support. They would have helped me. But at the time, I
was afraid. I couldn't ask for help.
Despite all evidence to
the contrary, I believed there couldn't be something wrong with me.
I didn't want the depressed girl inside me to be me. I feared
discovery, and so I continued to do what I thought I should do. I
delved into clubs and activities, and did well in school - very
well, actually. I ended up in the top 10% or so and ended up going
to a nice liberal arts college on a scholarship. At the time I felt
lucky to be smart - not so much because of any sort of sense of
acomplishment, but because the 90's came without me having to find
the energy to earn them.
Over the years I was in high
school, I did find a niche, as every kid does. But I always felt
alone despite my close group of friends. Somehow they tolerated my
spacing out during get-togthers, the evenings spent sobbing on
someone's bathroom floor, and the falling asleep at the movies. I
really scared them on the school trip out of town when I cried
hysterically for hours in a hotel bed and spent half an hour in a
hot shower contemplating someone's disposable razor. But for
whatever reason my friends kept my secret, too.
I'm amazed that I survived. I was suicidal on and off for the better
part of six years. At my worst, I would cut myself. "Just in case,"
I'd say. I had to be sure that if it got to be too much I'd be able
to go through with it. In the end, I had an incident at college
where I accidentally combined alcohol and over the counter
medication - it was an accident but it scared me. For whatever
reason, things turned around from there and I lived to tell the
The part of the tale that is important for you to
hear, Mr. Moore, is this: I DID TELL. I TOLD MY TEACHERS. I TOLD
THEM AND NOBODY DID ANYTHING. I wrote poems about all the ways I'd
kill myself. I wrote about shooting myself in front of school on a
February morning. I wrote about hanging myself from a tree or a
flagpole. I wrote about knives and car crashes and taking pills. I
shared these with a few close friends. And a choice few, the less
graphic ones, the suicides loosely veiled, I submitted for English
class. I HANDED IN DEATH POEMS AND I GOT NO RESPONSE. NOT A SINGLE
ADULT IN THAT HIGH SCHOOL BUILDING EVER TALKED TO ME ABOUT IT.
I try not to think about how my life would have changed if
someone had intervened. And it's not just that I would have strived
for more and achieved more. It's that the relationships in my life
will be forever impacted by the depression I experienced during the
ages of around 14 to around 22. I learned to deal with people
through the lens of depression. And even though I'm not looking at
the world that way anymore, I sometimes am not sure how the
undepressed me should act.
What I want you to understand is
that the adults in schools look out for the well-being of children
and adolescents. Instead of criticizing Scotia's staff for
overreacting to your daughter's English poem, you should be thanking
them for making sure she was OK.
I am happy that your
daughter is fine. But you must know that not everyone is so lucky.
Some of the kids out there are just like me. And they need the
adults in their lives - not just their parents, but their teachers,
too - to guarantee their health and safety. For their sake, I hope
that counselors continue to ask.
For anyone who may
need support, 24-hour crisis services can be accessed from http://www.hopeline.com/ and 1-800-SUICIDE.
Youth Suicide Facts
- Suicide ranks as the
third leading cause of death for young people (ages 15-19 and
15-29); only accidents and homicides occur more frequently.
Each year, there are approximately 12 suicides for every 100,000
- Approximately 12 young people between the ages of
15-24 die every day by suicide.
- Within every 2 hours and 2.5
minutes, a person under the age of 25 completes suicide.
2000, 29,350 people completed suicide. 13.6% of all suicides were
committed by persons under the age of 25.
- Whereas suicides
account for 1.2% of all deaths in the U.S. annually, they comprise
12.8% of all deaths among 15-24 year olds.
- Suicide rates, for
15-24 year olds, are 300% higher than those of the 1950’s, and
remained largely stable at these higher levels between the late
1970’s and the mid 1990’s.
- Suicide rates for those 15-19 years
old increased 11% between 1980 and 1997. Suicide rates for those
between the ages of 10-14, however, increased 99% between 1980 and
1997. Both age groups have shown small declines in rates in the past
- Firearms remain the most commonly used suicide
method among youth, regardless of race or gender, nearly accounting
for almost three of five completed suicides.
- Research has
shown that the access to and the availability of firearms is a
significant factor in the increase of youth suicide.
- The male
to female ratio (in 2000) of completed suicides was 3.7: 1 among
10-14 year olds, and 5: 1 among 15-19 year olds, and 6.2: 1 among
20-24 year olds.
- Research has shown that most adolescent
suicides occur in the afternoon or early evening and in the teen’s
- Although rates vary somewhat by geographic location,
within a typical high school classroom, it is likely that three
students (one boy and two girls) have made a suicide attempt in the
- Nationwide, nearly one in five high school students
have stated on self-report surveys that they have seriously
considered attempting suicide during the preceding 12 months.
A prior suicide attempt is an important risk factor for an eventual
- The typical profile of an adolescent nonfatal
suicide attempter is a female who ingests pills; while the profile
of the typical completer suicide is a male who dies from a gunshot
- Not all adolescent attempters may admit their intent.
Therefore, any deliberate self-harming behaviors should be
considered serious and in need of further evaluation.
adolescent suicide attempts are precipitated by interpersonal
conflicts. The intent of the behavior appears to be to effect change
in the behaviors or attitudes of others.
- Repeat attempters
(those making more than one nonlethal attempt) use their behavior as
a means of coping with stress and tend to exhibit more chronic
symptomology, poorer coping histories, and a higher presence of
suicidal and substance abusive behaviors in their family histories.
Many teenagers may display one or more of the problems or
“signs” detailed below. The following list describes some potential
factors of risk for suicide among youth. If observed, a professional
evaluation is strongly recommended:
- Presence of a psychiatric
disorder (e.g., depression, drug or alcohol, behavior disorders,
conduct disorder [e.g., runs away or has been incarcerated]).
The expression/communication of thoughts of suicide, death, dying or
the afterlife (in a context of sadness, boredom, or negative
- Impulsive and aggressive behavior; frequent
expressions of rage.
- Previous exposure to other’s
- Recent severe stressor (e.g., difficulties in
dealing with sexual orientation; unplanned pregnancy or other
significant real or impending loss).
- Family loss of
instability; significant family conflict.
Jerry Moore (Admin)
Post Number: 3276
Votes: 0 (Vote!)
|Posted on Friday, May 23, 2003 - 11:29 pm:
Thanks for your message. I prosecuted all
the child physical/sexual abuse cases in my jurisdiction when I was
an assistant prosecuting attorney.
Whenever an educator has
reason to believe a child is being physically or sexually abused,
they have an obligation to report it to the appropriate
investigating service, often child protective services. That agency
then conducts an investigation, which may have counseling aspects,
but primarily is a fact-gathering interview.
initial investigating agency is child protective services or a
counselor in the school, I have no problem with them conducting an
initial interview on matters involving mandatory reporting without
first notifying the parents. Immediately after the interview with
the child, the parents should be notified, either to provide
information, request an interview, or be served with an arrest
The issue I'm concerned about is the initiation of
evaluative services in the absence of abuse. I am particularly
concerned about school counselors following the American School
Counselor Association's ethical standards. The standards are regrettably
weak on advance parental notification. Still, if school counselors
start their initial contact with students by explaining the purpose
and scope of the contact, the right of the student to choose a
different counselor or non-school counselor, and the right to refuse
counseling, or limit its scope, that will address most of my
concerns. Unfortunately, none of these preliminary steps were taken
before talking with my daughter.
Finally, the best I can do
is confirm that I have stated all the facts as I know them. However,
it has crossed my mind that perhaps the existence of this website
also played a role in the teacher's decision to send my daughter see
the school shrink. We'll never know.
Votes: 0 (Vote!)
|Posted on Friday, May 23, 2003 - 5:39 pm:
Dear Mr. Moore: I teach in an inner-city school. I cannot
count the number of times our social worker has had to speak to a
student about suspected child abuse. I have had FOUND (ie.}}}
substantiated by DSS) cases of abuse in my students. If all the
facts are portrayed accurately, the "couseling" provided to your
daughter seems unwarranted. Please remember not all children live in
loving homes like yours. School counselors have undoubtedly saved
lives by not asking parent permission prior to an interview in
suspected abuse cases.
Votes: 0 (Vote!)
|Posted on Monday, November 19, 2001 - 9:06 am:
S-G Agrees to honor no-counseling
The S-G school district has decided to
honor our request of no-counseling without prior parental
authorization, as expressed in this paragraph:
I hereby request that no school counselor interview my
daughter for any reason without prior parental notification and
authorization, except for scheduling, academics, career/college
advising, the classroom curricular component or sequences, or as
expressly required by law.
Since the district's
practice appears to permit initiating counseling without notifying
parents, I believe every parent should file a similar request.
As for the anonymous poster below, the comments reflect the
essential biases in institutional schools and clearly prove that no
single public school system can meet the needs of all students
Votes: 0 (Vote!)
|Posted on Sunday, November 18, 2001 - 9:18 pm:
Jerry you are as crazy as your purrrrrfect daughter
Votes: 0 (Vote!)
|Posted on Monday, October 22, 2001 - 5:29 pm:
Students' Right To Refuse
Appeal of Board of Education Policy (or lack
thereof) pertaining to referrals to school psychologists/social
October 22, 2001
Mr. Mike Marcelle
900 Preddice Parkway
Scotia, NY 12302
On March 20, 2001, my daughter was referred to school
psychologist Tammy Boyd based on her written response (see appendix)
to an English homework assignment given by Mrs. Cassidy requiring
her to write a poem revealing personal information with stanza one
being written from the perspective of another, and stanza two being
written from her own perspective. The poem “had to be real,” meaning
it had to be about a personal experience.
It goes without
saying that Mrs. Boyd found nothing wrong with our conscientious,
hard-working, reliable, go-to-church, drug-free, alcohol-free,
obedient, Tae Kwon Do black belt, top-honor-roll student.
Neither Mrs. Cassidy nor Mrs. Boyd, nor anyone else from the
school, contacted Ann or I before initiating a counseling interview
with our daughter. No meeting was held by anyone to discus whether
we should be contacted before the interview. Mrs. Boyd did not
inform our daughter of the purposes, goals, techniques, and rules of
procedure under which she was to be interviewed. She did not advise
her that she had the right to be seen by a counselor of her choice,
and that she could discontinue the session at anytime. All of these
lapses violate professional ethical codes.
Our daughter was
not suspected of violating any school rule. The cause of the
referral involved lawful, private choices, having nothing to do with
safety issues or mandatory/statutory reporting requirements. Mrs.
Boyd’s inquiry violated several paragraphs of the Student Bill of
Rights, including “the right to be treated with dignity and respect,
and the right to be free of endangerment, harassment, intimidation,
fear, and discrimination.” It deprived both her and us the right to
due process before making an inquiry into her mental condition.
Finally, it attached a totally inappropriate consequense to
exercising her “right to express [her] opinions and beliefs as long
as they do not interfere with school activities or the rights of
On March 26, I delivered a scathing condemnation of
this action to the Board of Education and demanded an investigation,
along with the adoption of written policies and practices to prevent
such psychological intrusions and inquiries into the lawful
activities and choices of students.
On April 30, Dr. Barton,
Director of Curriculum, called me. My notes from that call state:
Dr. Barton called and said the school should have
notified me before sending K---- to the school psychologist over
her homework assignment. She said she expected an answer from the
school attorney by Friday about issues like parental notification,
parental consent and a protocol for when students are referred to
I did not hear from Dr. Barton again
on this matter.
On August1, I emailed Mr. Marcelle to ask
for “a written copy of the district's practice, policy or protocol
for making teacher referrals of students to school psychologists
without prior parental notification . . .”
12 to 19, Mr. Marcelle provided the following information:
1. A teacher who may have a concern about a student
will consult with a guidance counselor, social worker, school
psychologist, or building
administrator to have the student
observed and/or interviewed to determine if the student needs the
additional support from a counselor or social
teacher and the person who will do the observation/interview
should discuss whether or not parents should be notified at this
point and who will make the initial contact.
2. If there
is a subsequent recommendation for counseling, the Teacher or
building administrator should facilitate the recommendation for
counseling by discussing the recommendation with the student and
by contacting the guidance office to arrange for the counseling.
3. The teacher, guidance counselor or building
administrator should contact the parent/legal guardian of the
student to discuss the referral and recommendation and his/her
assessment of the need for the referral.
4. The teacher,
guidance counselor or building administrator should provide the
parent/legal guardian with the telephone number of the guidance
office to secure any additional information concerning the
A parent/legal guardian objecting to the
referral of his/her student to counseling by a teacher, or
building administrator should be referred to the
principal and then to the Director of Curriculum and Instruction.
QUESTION 1: Do S-G's mental health counselors inform
students at or before intake for evaluations or other services of
the purpose of the session and the procedure that will be followed
as outlined by ethical standard A.2.a.?
The professional school counselor:
a. Informs the counselee of the purposes, goals,
techniques, and rules of procedure under which she/he may receive
counseling at or before the time when the counseling relationship
S-G does not employ mental health counselors.
We use social workers, guidance counselors and school
psychologists for students who may be experiencing problems that
may effect their academic performance. Any students in need of
mental health counseling are referred to outside
In response to your specific question the answer is "yes".
QUESTION 2: Do S-G's mental health counselors inform
students at or before intake for evaluations or other services
that they have the right to discontinue counseling services at any
A.5. Counselees retain the right to discontinue the
counseling relationship at any time.
We do not conduct
intakes for evaluations when a social worker, guidance counselor
or school psychologist talks to a student about a perceived or
real problem. We do inform students that they have the right to
discontinue counseling services.
QUESTION 3: Do S-G's
mental health counselors offer students the freedom to choose
whether to enter into a counseling relationship and to determine
which professional(s) will provide counseling?
understand that practices may be affected by the age and abilities
of the student. I am specifically concerned with the policies in
effect at the high school.
At the high school, social
workers, guidance counselors and school psychologists do offer
both choices to students.
These procedures are
inadequate to protect the rights of students and parents. Among
their many deficiencies, Mr. Marcelle does not list any factors that
will be used to determine whether parents will be notified before a
school-initiated psychological interview with a student who has not
asked for help. This leaves the decision of whether to notify
parents to the unfettered and potentially arbitrary discretion of
the decision maker.
Moreover, the procedure does not provide
for an opportunity for parents to object to non-mandated interviews
before contact is initiated. The practice does not require that
students be told pre-questioning about the scope and reason for the
interview, that they may decline the interview, and discontinue the
interview at anytime, and have the interview conducted by someone of
their choosing, even outside of school.
Finally, there is no
opportunity for parents to file an annual statement forbidding
psychological interviews with school counselors. Here is a sample of
such a policy from one middle school handbook:
Right to Refuse Counseling Services: Parents
have the right to refuse counseling services for their child. If
parents do not want their child to access counseling services,
they simply need to write a letter or stop by the school to sign a
form which indicates that preference. It is the parent's
responsibility to renew their wishes in regard to counseling
services when the child's home school changes. Refusing counseling
services will not exclude students from meeting with a counselor
for concerns about scheduling, academics, career/college advising
or the classroom curricular component.
practices are deficient, and as my daughter is still being given
homework assignments that ask for personal information which the
school may use against her at anytime without providing minimal due
process protection of her rights and our rights as parents, I hereby
request a board review of the procedures used for school-initiated
counseling referrals without prior parental notification under
circumstances that neither involve misconduct nor a violation of any
school rule, nor trigger any mandatory/statutory reporting
I am also attaching a form requesting that no
school counselor interview my daughter for any reason without prior
parental notification and authorization, except for scheduling,
academics, career/college advising, the classroom curricular
component or sequences, or as expressly required by law.
should also know that because of zero-tolerance policies and a
general climate that lacks commonsense reasoning, my daughter has
been given the following instructions, which I expect you to
Under no circumstances are you to talk with a
principal, social worker, psychologist or police officer about any
non-academic matter related to information about yourself or
another student. DON'T SAY ANYTHING! Tell them that you will only
talk with them about these matters after talking with your
parents. If they insist on pursuing the matter, tell them you will
gladly take an "F," or go to detention, or take a suspension, or
go to jail, but you will not talk until you talk with your
parents. Tell them you "Take the 5th."
Also, don't sign
anything. NOTHING. Tell them you have to talk to your parents
first. Schools have been known to have students sign waivers of
their rights to hearings.
Finally, I request
permission to review my daughter’s academic record to see that none
of the incidents related to March 20 appear on her record.
From my perspective, an agreement to honor my request to
refuse counseling will take care of this situation. If you are not
willing to honor this request, and the Board of Education fails to
adopt policies and procedures that I believe will reasonably assure
students and parents of their rights, then this matter will be
appealed to the Commissioner of Education. In my opinion, the
failure to have a Board policy on such an important matter is, by
that fact alone, an abuse of discretion.
Thank you for your
girl walks into school--
Clothed in a yellow and black spandex
Not just a unitard, but a spiked collar and a wig, too!
Is she insane?
Why in the world would anyone come to school
as a CAT?!
She is crazy!
Gosh, she even acts like she’s a
Must just want a lot of attention . . .
Crazy . . .
I’m a CATS fanatic!
I make costumes for
the joy of it.
There’s nothing like feeling feline!
isn’t to attract attention like a magnet attracts metal . . .
But it is nice to have my hard work admired and noticed.
am a cat in spirit--
And CATS will forever dance in my heart.
Sure I may seen crazy to other, but I don’t mind.
I am who I
I’m a terpsichorean girl who’s a CATS fanatic and loves
In other words, I’m a fanatical feline--
ADDENDUM, December 2, 2002: As expected
by her parents who know her best, she naturally grew out of this
phase on her own.
Mr. Mike Marcelle
900 Preddice Parkway
Re: Request to Refuse Counseling Services
I hereby request that no school counselor
interview my daughter for any reason without prior parental
notification and authorization, except for scheduling, academics,
career/college advising, the classroom curricular component or
sequences, or as expressly required by law. Any counseling needs can
be met through our health care provider.