Friday, June 10, 2005

More on Mental Health Act

Susan sent me this article today. Indiana family sues high school over non-consensual adolescent mental health screening. We then talked on the phone about how much this article had to do with homeschooling. Some would argue that it does not. I still think it is a good, and important read. It's always good to understand how the law and the politics work in the State of Illinois. I also think it foolish to assume that Illinois will remain as homeschool friendly as it currently is. I pray that it will, but I'm not willing to put all my eggs in one basket. If our worst fears were realized and we lost our private school status, then could we be subjected to the implementation of the Mental Health Act? What if the act were changed, or I should say the implementation, and it applied to private schools such as the Parochial school system or my tiny little homeschool? I think it's better to fight these things tooth and nail right now.
I firmly believe as an intelligent adult that I should fight for the children and families in Illinois over something that I feel is morally wrong. I feel that the testing of all the children of Illinois by mental health care workers and a system that may have an agenda other than the health and welfare of our children is morally wrong. Call my cynical, but in the State of Illinois follow the money and you'll see what the real agenda is. I have real concerns about the amount of pharmaceuticals that people are taking today and the interaction of those medications.

I was horrified by a high school sending a child home with a diagnosis. This is from the article, "The Rhoadeses 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."

Can you imagine being that child or that parent? My mother worked in the mental health field for 5 years and cannot understand how a child could be labeled with a diagnosis, or two after a screening. There should be a lot more evaluation before that type of label is applied. Then to send the poor child home with information she could not process and possibly understand. Given the diagnosis of obsessive-compulsive and social anxiety disorder, wouldn't the poor kid be a train wreck after being given that information? I know over the years, a lot of scary things have gone on in schools. It just seems that more problems are being legislated into the system by people who we voted into the legislative positions. I really think it is time we hold the legislators accountable. I'm certainly not afraid to call them up and tell them my opinion.

Another bothersome issue came up in this article --"However, there is controversy even among school school administrators as to the definition of parental consent and whether passive or active consent is appropriate. Passive consent means that the child would be screened unless the parent objects. In other words, it is incumbent upon the parent to object rather than the responsibility of the school to seek permission."

Does anyone really think it is morally okay for schools to pull this "passive consent" garbage? What "passive consent" means to me is the school doesn't let you know about something, or the note never makes it home and then they go ahead and do what they feel is right. In some areas, educators would prefer not to take into account the preferences and values of the parents. It is also difficult for parents who cannot read or who speak English as a second language to give informed consent or refuse a screening. I wonder how well these screening work for the various cultural and language differences? It would be interesting to know if an ethnic group is more likely to come up with a problem in these screenings.

Homeschool Legislation Watch
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