MENTAL HEALTH, EDUCATION AND SOCIAL CONTROL
NewsWithViews | June 30, 2005
By Dennis L. Cuddy, Ph.D.
Concerning the New Freedom Commission on Mental Health's (NFCMH) recommendation that all American youth receive mental health screenings, after thoughtful prayer to God for guidance, we must take action to oppose the enforcement of any such screenings. First, we should question the federal Department of Education's current expenditure of $5 million on "Mental Health Integration in Schools" and U.S. Senator Edward Kennedy's "Foundations for Learning" mental health program at a cost of $1 million. Secondly, we should oppose the Congressional H.R. 2123 "School Readiness Act of 2005" (also known as the Head Start Reauthorization Bill) introduced May 5, 2005 with its (Rep. Tom) Osborne Amendment (passed May 18 in committee) because among other things, four times it inserts language covering "mental and behavioral health services."
Thirdly, we should support U.S. Rep. John Kline's "Child Medication Safety Act" (H.R. 1790) introduced in Congress on April 21, 2005 with 16 co-sponsors to prohibit schools from coercing parents into having their children placed on psychotropic drugs in order to attend school. Knight-Ridder nationally syndicated psychologist John Rosemond in "Normal becomes 'disabled'" (NEWS AND OBSERVER, May 14, 2002) commented: "I say educators and mental health professionals are analyzing kids to death. They are also diagnosing and labeling children to death, and medicating children to death. This will, in fact, eventually be the Death of Childhood in America. In time, every child strays significantly from some norm. Slowly but surely, the medical and psychological industries are turning every such instance of strain into a diagnosis, thus creating a huge client pool in perpetuity. The truly sad thing is that most American parents are cooperating in this travesty."
Fourthly, we should object to mandatory mental health screening of our children by citing the Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment (PPRA), also called the Hatch Amendment (Public Law 95-561, Section 1250, passed November 1, 1978), which states that "No student shall be required, as part of any applicable program, to submit to psychiatric examination, testing, or treatment, or psychological examination, testing, or treatment, in which the primary purpose is to reveal information concerning: ...mental and psychological problems potentially embarrassing to the student or his family...." In an April 12, 2005 letter from the Family Policy Compliance Office of the U. S. Department of Education, it indicated that the PPRA applies to surveys even when they are not funded by the U.S. Department of Education. It further stated: "PPRA applies to local educational agencies (school districts) that are the recipients of any funds from the Department of Education. So, in essence, a public school giving a survey funded by HHS or by the Lions Club would have to comply with PPRA."
And more recently than the PPRA, we can cite the Tiahrt Amendment (H.R. 3189, 105th Congress, 1998), which amended Section 444 of the General Education Provisions Act (20 U.S.C. 1232g) and stated: "No funds shall be made available under any applicable program to an educational agency or institution that, as part of an applicable program and without the prior, written, informed consent of the parent of a student, requires the student---(1) to undergo medical, psychological, or psychiatric examination, testing, treatment, or immunization (except in the case of a medical emergency); or (2) to reveal any information about the student's personal or family life (except to the extent necessary to comply with the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (42 U.S.C. 5102)."
The Tiahrt Amendment was attached to the "No Child Left Behind Act of 2001" (Public Law 107-110, signed January 8, 2002), which also amended Section 445(b) of the General Education Provisions Act regarding student privacy to disallow asking students about "mental or psychological problems of the student or the student's family,...or the religious practices, affiliations, or beliefs of the student or student's parent...(without) prior written parental consent." And according to the May 2003 edition of HEALTH AND HEALTH CARE IN SCHOOLS, these prohibitions apply "even when the surveys are not Education Department-funded."
One cautionary note, however, is in order regarding the PPRA and Tiahrt Amendment. While both are good and useful, Rep. Ron Paul's H.R. 181 "The Parental Consent Act of 2005" (which now has 44 co-sponsors) is still needed because there are "Exceptions" under PPRA and the Tiahrt Amendment. Under the Tiahrt Amendment, for example, "testing material" does not include a nonclassroom diagnostic test or a test subject to a copyright agreement. Unfortunately, this is a hole through which mental health screeners could drive an invasive "diagnostic" truck!
Rep. Paul's legislation is also needed because children are already being screened without parental consent. According to Rhonda Robinson's report on June 10, 2005 in THE ILLINOIS LEADER, the Rutherford Institute has filed a tort claim against Penn High School and administrators in Mishawaka, Indiana, who conducted the TeenScreen survey on Michael and Teresa Rhoades' 15-year-old daughter without their permission. Robinson related that " personnel of the Madison Center for Children, a division of the community mental health center in St. Joseph County, Indiana, administered the TeenScreen mental health examination. The Rhoades became aware of the screening only when their daughter came home and asked what was the definition of obsessive-compulsive disorder and social anxiety disorder. She explained that was the diagnosis she had been given at school after the survey." Furthermore, Capitol Resource Institute in a press release June 16, 2005 indicated that "by a four-to-one vote, the Nevada County (California) Joint Union High School District (NJUHSD) voted Wednesday (June 15) to uphold a district policy to restrict parents' knowledge concerning their children's absence from campus. Claiming that children as young as age 12 should be emancipated from their parents when it comes to certain medical and psychological services,...rights activists proposed that the district maintain a policy of not notifying parents when students leave campus for these appointments....Dan Miller, NJUHSD board chairman, prefaced his vote against parents by stating that school teachers are 'surrogate parents'."
Rep. Paul attempted to get a shorthand version of his legislation attached to a Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations bill (H.R. 3010), but on June 24, 2005 his amendment was defeated 304 to 97 in the U.S. House of Representatives. All his amendment said was that "none of the funds made available in this Act may be used to create or implement any new universal mental health screening program." In his June 27, 2005 newsletter "Federal Funding for Mental Health Screening of Kids," Rep. Paul wrote: "On Friday (June 24) Congress defeated an amendment I introduced that would have prevented the federal government from moving forward with an Orwellian program to mandate mental health screening of kids in schools." H.R. 3010 passed with $26 million for "state incentive transformation grants" to fund the New Freedom Commission on Mental Health (NFCMH) recommendations. While the NFCMH recommendations do not say the screening is "mandatory," they also do not say it is "voluntary." Rather, they say the screening should be "universal," and Rep. Paul asks: "How can you have something universal if you are not going to be testing everybody?" My own question to those who opposed Rep. Paul's amendment is "Even if you believe his amendment was unnecessary because the legislation does not 'mandate' screening everyone, what would it have hurt to vote for his amendment just in case some bureaucrat wanted to write regulations interpreting universal mental health screening as requiring everyone's participation?"
Concerning TeenScreen mentioned above, in May 2004, the Illinois legislature passed a resolution approving the implementation of TeenScreen in public schools. TeenScreen is supposed to be a suicide-prevention program, but several years after its introduction into Tulsa, Oklahoma schools, the suicide rate rose dramatically.
TeenScreen has been recommended by the New Freedom Commission on Mental Health (NFCMH), which also recommended the Texas Medical Algorithm Project (TMAP) drug treatment program. According to Evelyn Pringle's "TeenScreen Sets Up Shop In Illinois" (INDEPENDENT MEDIA TV, June 19, 2005), TMAP "specifically requires doctors to prescribe the newer generation of psychiatric drugs to children, including the antidepressants known as Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) that can lead children to commit suicide or other violent acts." SSRIs impair serotonin metabolism, and Pringle relates that "in one study reviewed by the FDA panel, in a pool of 931 depressed patients taking SSRIs listed on the TMAP, versus 811 depressed patients taking a placebo, there were 52 suicidal acts by people on the SSRIs versus 18 on placebo."
IMAP (the Illinois version of TMAP) is in at least 23 Illinois counties, and its drug list is the same as TMAP's. According to the plan for Illinois, in addition to children, all pregnant women are to be screened for depression up to one year following their babies' birth. Pringle indicates that "the treatment for depression mandated by the IMAP drug list will be the SSRI antidepressants even though new studies indicate that SSRIs taken by pregnant women can have serious adverse affects on the unborn fetus."
The Illinois Children's Mental Health Act of 2003 was passed largely due to a report by the Illinois Children's Mental Health Task Force, which was in part funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation mentioned earlier in this series. The Task Force's final report was released in April 2003, and according to Evelyn Pringle, it called for "a comprehensive, coordinated children's mental health system comprised of prevention, early intervention, and treatment for children ages 0-18 years and for a statewide data-reporting system to track information on each person, and social-emotional development screens with all mandated school exams (K, 4th, and 9th)."
The Illinois Children's Mental Health Act created the Illinois Children's Mental Health Partnership, which is supposed to develop a final plan by June 30, 2005. Although the current draft of the Partnership's plan contains the words, "voluntary" and "parental consent," it's an opt-out provision and there is no mention of parental notification. This raises the obvious question: "How are parents supposed to opt their children out of a mental health screening they have not been informed will take place?"
There is a tremendous amount of money driving this effort, as the Illinois plan stresses that treatment should be funded by Medicaid. And Illinois is not alone in this regard, as in Evelyn Pringle's article mentioned above, one reads: "On January 15, 2005, the MIAMI HERALD reported that nearly 1,900 children under the care of Florida's child welfare system are taking antidepressant drugs, despite a strong federal warning that such medications are linked to an increased risk of suicidal thinking. Similar findings held true in Tennessee for kids covered by the State insurance program. A study conducted in 2004 by Dr. William Cooper, an associate professor of pediatrics at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, determined that the use of antipsychotic drugs among low-income children in Tennessee had nearly doubled between 1996 and 2001. Cooper's report, published in the August 3, 2004 issue of the ARCHIVES OF PEDIATRIC ADOLESCENT MEDICINE, found that young people who are not psychotic are being prescribed antipsychotic drugs for which there was no data on safety or effectiveness."
A brief note of encouragement is in order here. Thanks to the efforts of Texas Eagle Forum and others, an amendment (implementing aspects of the NFCMH recommendations) to H.B.2572 (mental health/mental retardation reform legislation) was withdrawn from the Texas legislature in late May 2005 before adjournment. In addition, Georgia State Senator Nancy Schaefer has authored a resolution, SR 128, opposing the mental health screening of children. At a May 22, 2005 Atlanta, Georgia rally against mental health screening, Senator Schaefer said, "Children belong to parents....Children and families are under dangerous assault today!" She is correct. Former Arizona State Superintendent of Education Carolyn Warner has declared that "those who educate are more to be honored than those who bear the children. The latter gave them only life, the former teach them the art of living." Senator Schaefer further remarked: "Parents are coerced to put their children on psychotropic medications and children are dying from it....Behavior programs such as outcome-based education, values clarification, mastery learning, psychological and psychiatric questionnaires, and self-esteem are nothing more than a psychologically controlled environment to induce certain beliefs or politically correct thinking....Stand up, speak out, and get involved. If you don't, you empower the enemy....The time is now. If we miss this opportunity, we will lose a generation."
I have mentioned above the "No Child Left Behind Act of 2001" (NCLB), and it is useful here to see how this is part of the dialectical process. NCLB applies primarily to education before the high school level, but with the graduation rate of American students 17th among developed nations, President Bush has announced that he wants NCLB applied to high schools as well. Responding to this call, Michael Cohen (president of ACHIEVE) released a report of The American Diploma Project, a partnership of the Education Trust, Thomas B. Fordham Foundation, and ACHIEVE. The report is called "Creating a High School Diploma that Counts."
What has all this got to do with the dialectical process which the power elite employs? Cohen was a liberal holdover from the Carter administration who wrote "Goals 2000" for President Clinton, and ACHIEVE was designed to promote American students meeting national and international education standards. ACHIEVE's first president was Robert Schwartz (formerly director of the education grant-making program of the Pew Charitable Trusts) who is on the board of the Education Trust, established by the American Association of Higher Education and funded by liberal groups such as the Pew Charitable Trusts, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Annie E. Casey Foundation, Carnegie Corporation of New York, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Cohen worked just down the hall from me at the U.S. Department of Education, where my boss was Chester Finn (appointed by Secretary of Education William J. Bennett under President Reagan), who now heads the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation (a member of the U.S. National Commission for UNESCO) and who wants a national curriculum.
Internationalizing education has long been part of the power elite's plan to prepare people for world government. On the occasion of the bicentennial of the Declaration of Independence, a Declaration of Interdependence was written by Henry Steele Commager stating: "We must join with others to bring forth a new world order." The document also decried "narrow notions of national sovereignty" and called for strengthening the United Nations and broadening the jurisdiction of the World Court. Helen Wise, chairman of the National Education Association's (NEA) Bicentennial Committee, was on the advisory committee to draft the document, and those involved "worked to ensure that its precepts would be included in the curricula and texts of our schools."
Also on the advisory committee were Rhodes Scholars Harlan Cleveland and Richard Gardner. Gardner had written about "eroding national sovereignty piece by piece" in the Council on Foreign Relations' FOREIGN AFFAIRS (April 1974). Cleveland headed the Aspen Institute for Humanistic Studies' Program in International Affairs, and the Institute organized a National Commission on Coping with Interdependence which, in partnership with the Rockefeller and Kettering Foundations (and acting on a suggestion by the State Department), assessed Americans' willingness to change their thinking and ways to accept global interdependence. This seemed to follow the philosophy expressed by Lord Bertrand Russell in his 1959 address to "The Future of Man" symposium sponsored by Joseph E. Seagram & Sons, Inc., on the dedication of its New York City headquarters. Russell admonished that "you've got to get international feeling into the world if the human race is to survive....The only way that I can see in which a scientific society can become stable and survive for long periods is the establishment of one single World Authority possessing all the serious weapons of war."
Facilitating Americans' acceptance of "global interdependence" have been recent actions by a majority of the members of the U.S. Supreme Court. For example, when the supposedly conservative Justice Sandra Day O'Connor dedicated Georgetown University's new international law center on October 26, 2004, she pronounced that international law "is vital if judges are to faithfully discharge their duties. We operate today under a very large array of international agreements, treaties, organizations." Also in 2004, for the first time in history, the Supreme Court allowed a foreign entity (the Commission of the European Communities) to present oral arguments as a "friend of the Court."
Most recently, the allegedly conservative Justice O'Connor provided the deciding margin in the Supreme Court's June 27, 2005 five to four attack upon the Jewish and Christian religions by outlawing Kentucky's courthouses' display of the Ten Commandments. Justice Antonin Scalia opposed the ruling, referring to "the dictatorship of a shifting Supreme Court majority."
Writing for the majority, Justice David Souter expressed the need for "government neutrality between religion and religion, and between religion and nonreligion." But this is sheer hypocrisy, because while they ban the Ten Commandments, they have not banned the pagan goddess Themis (blindfolded with scales in hand) from courthouses across the land. This double standard by the Supreme Court actually could be considered anti-Semitism, because God gave the Ten Commandments to Moses, a leader of the Jewish people. This discrimination by the Supreme Court must cease, and so should any other displays of pagan deities on public property, often there at public expense.