Skip to main content

Father whose son died due to coerced psychiatric drugging in school, testifies in support of Michigan House Bill 4025

“My son’s death should urge lawmakers to support informed consent and the right to refuse the coerced psychiatric drugging of children in our public schools.”

On March 21, 2000, Matthew Smith, 14, died from a heart attack while skateboarding. The coroner determined his death was caused by the long-term use of the stimulant forcibly prescribed to him through the school.

“It all started for Matthew in the first grade, when the school social worker kept calling us in for meetings, complaining that Matthew was ‘fidgeting’ and ‘easily distracted,’ said Lawrence Smith. “She told my wife and I that if we wouldn’t consider drugging our son, after the school had diagnosed him with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), that we could be charged for neglecting his educational and emotional needs.” After also being told that the stimulant was safe and effective, the Smiths acceded to the pressure.

On March 25th 2003, Mr. Smith testified before the Michigan State Legislature in support of House Bill 4025, which would prohibit school personnel from making a psychological diagnosis of a child and would also prohibit school personnel from recommending psychotropic drugs for any child.

Smith states, “The violation of parents’ rights occurs when they are not informed about the unscientific nature of so-called disorders such as ADHD or the risks of the drugs prescribed to treat their children. Not one more family should have to undergo the tragedy that mine has suffered, due to schools coercing parents to drug their child.”

“If we hadn’t been pressured by the school system, Matthew would still be alive today,” says Mr. Smith. “I cannot go back and change things for us at this point. However, I can speak out against the injustice to my family and families across the nation who are being coerced into drugging their children, in the hopes that legislators will enact safeguards for parents rights.”

Reports of parents being threatened with medical neglect or child expulsion, have prompted several states to enact state laws prohibiting school personnel from recommending drugs and reinforcing a parents right to refuse drug treatment. Connecticut, Illinois, Minnesota and Virginia have passed such laws over the past two years. Since 2003, 15 more states have introduced similar laws, including Hawaii, Texas, Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, New Hampshire, New York, Michigan, Vermont and West Virginia.

A federal bill, “The Child Medication and Safety Act,” has also been introduced in Congress.

Lawrence Smith can be contacted at