National Vice President
Hartford, Connecticut Legislative Education Committee failed to act on a parental informed consent bill that would ensure that parents receive full informed consent prior to any psychiatric testing being done on their children in public schools. This bill HB #5328 was written to safeguard parental rights and would have ensured that each parent be provided with certain regulations and amendments, informing them of their basic right to “opt out” of psychiatric testing for their children through state public schools. Connecticut was a frontrunner in protecting parental rights, by being the first state to pass a law to prohibit schools from recommending psychotropic drugs to parents for their children. This first state law prompted several other states to take similar action in response to a parental outcry, in which reports by parents of schools coercing them to place their children on psychotropic drugs (e.g. Ritalin) to remain in school became all too common. The states’ response and chain reaction, in turn, led to similar Federal legislation, “The Prohibition on Mandatory Medication Amendment,” signed into law by the President December 3, 2004.
This informed consent bill comes on the heels of many disturbing occurrences, which have brought the issue of labeling and “medicating” children national attention. Just last year the FDA launched two sets of hearings into the safety and efficacy of antidepressants in children. In response to these hearings a massive Federal Congressional hearing was convened on this same matter, as well as, to review the FDA’s lack of accountability and financial conflicts of interest. More recent events show Health Canada suspending its marketing of Adderall XR, a psychotropic drug and stimulant used in the “treatment” of ADHD, due to related deaths.
In the wake of so much turmoil and grave concerns, an informed consent bill, looks like a safety net where there is none. The bottom line is that parents cannot make educated decisions without being provided with all the facts. Today, schools continue to profile children for mental disorders like ADHD by using subjective checklists, rating scales, or assessments, not even endorsed or approved by local, state or federal government. Parents are not being told this. These same subjective psychiatric assessments for ADHD were removed from the state of Neuvo Leon in Mexico last year by the Secretary of Education herself, due to their subjective and unscientific nature.
The culmination of events questioning the safety and efficacy of behavior modifying drugs on children, and the subjective assessments used in psychiatric diagnoses, should not be discounted. Everyone needs to be asking why the state’s education committee blatantly has turned a blind eye to parental rights, and has disregarded widespread concerns without providing for a hearing on this matter.
More pointedly, we should be asking why America , or her states, is not ensuring parental rights and protecting children’s health and safety.
For more information on ADHD, informed consent, and mental health within education please visit our site at www.ablechild.org.