Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The NFF Opposes Mandatory Mental Health Screenings

 The NFF is greatly concerned about Sen. Amanda McGill's LB556 (see article below) which would require mental health screenings for children entering kindergarten, seventh and ninth grades to identify issues and get them treatment before they become "problem students." Required mental health screening is extremely alarming, but even more alarming is the detailed language in the bill about the screening process itself (in the schools, conducted by individuals with no particular training, free sharing of information about our children's results between the school and DHHS) and the apparent violation of HIPAA privacy laws. 

If what we're reading is accurate and Sen. McGill's intent is to force mental health services on all public school families, the NFF will vigorously oppose this bill with the same determination and volume that we used last year in our battle to amend the truancy law. Our schools have no business getting involved in this aspect of our lives.
Enough is enough. Let me state unequivocally that these are OUR children and we will not allow an unqualified stranger to evaluate our 5-year-olds "just in case" they might become problem students. What IS a problem student anyway? A young child who doesn't do "well enough" on a standardized test? A little boy who would rather wiggle around and play in the dirt than sit at his desk and do math? What criteria determines that they need "intervention" and what is that intervention--psychotropic meds? Ritalin so a first grader can get through the day without bothering his teacher? How about foster care or a group home?
This serious, frightening encroachment on our families must be resisted with all our might. This smacks of the sorting and labeling used in totalitarian regimes: "Normal" children get in this line, depressed children over here, oppositional children in line #3. This also smells like another gateway law akin to the truancy law, which has allowed our state to take children from their loving families under the guise of "helping" them.
The NFF is in the process of getting more details on LB556 and will provide updates as soon as possible.
 Parents, be prepared for a call to action in defense of our children!

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