Should the feds mandate mental health testing for our kids?

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What role should federal and state governments play in childhood mental health? Representative Drew Ferguson teamed up with Representative Michael Burgess, M.D., a fellow Republican, to propose the “Behavioral Intervention Guidelines Act of 2019,” directing the Secretary of Health and Human Services to develop best practices for the establishment and use of behavioral intervention teams at elementary and secondary schools and institutions of higher education.

Childhood mental health assessment authority was expanded under the federal bipartisan Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015 (ESSA). Under ESSA, parental consent for mental health testing for their children is no longer a hard-and-fast requirement.

Georgia law incentivizes the use of a certain mental health program called Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS), a school-wide program that rewards children when they behave and frowns on punishments.

Under ESSA, each state is required to submit data to the federal government on school climate, safety, rates of in-school suspensions, expulsions, school-related arrests, referrals to law enforcement, and incidences of violence, including bullying and harassment.

This data is factored into school ratings. In response to an increase in very young children being suspended or expelled from school after the implementation of the PBIS mental health program in schools, a state law was passed that requires behavioral and academic assessments be done on students in pre-school through third grade before schools would be allowed to suspend or expel students for more than 5 days in any given school year, unless the child possesses a weapon, illegal drugs, or other dangerous instrument.

Additionally, Georgia’s Office of School Safety and Climate director Garry McGiboney expanded school nursing services to include mental health assessments and mental health counseling.

With all the activity and new governmental authority and funding surrounding mental health issues for children, people want to know if any of the mental health initiatives are effective.

According to psychologist John Rosemond and Bose Ravenel, M.D., in “The Diseasing of America’s Children,” the psychological-psychiatric-pharmaceutical industry teamed up to manufacture diseases that do not exist.

Rosemond contends that oppositional defiant disorder (ODD), early onset bipolar disorder (EOBD), and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are fictions.

According to Rosemond, drugs used to “treat” childhood behavior disorders are based on theories that no researcher has ever established as true. That is why the pharmaceuticals do not reliably outperform placebos in clinical trials.

Once upon a time both authors recommended or prescribed ADHD medication, believing they were helping. Now they are appalled by the “damage being done to America’s children, families, and schools by professionals who seem to have mislaid their objectivity and are willingly accepting as fact what is not scientifically verifiable.”

Other insiders agree. Dr. Lawrence LeShan, when he was president-elect of the American Association for Humanistic Psychology, said, “Psychotherapy may be known in the future as the greatest hoax of the twentieth century.”

With all the uncertainty surrounding childhood mental health diagnosis and treatment, what role should the federal government play in setting mental health standards and testing for children in schools?

When the U.S. Constitution was written, the federal government was given no authority over mental health or the education of children. According to the 10th Amendment, the powers not delegated to the U.S. by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states, respectively, or to the people.

In the Judeo-Christian tradition, these matters were addressed in the family in cooperation with the churches and synagogues.

Representative Drew Ferguson will be available to answer questions about the “Behavioral Intervention Guidelines Act of 2019” at the Fayette County Event Center Republican breakfast on Saturday, Aug. 3, 2019 beginning at 9 a.m.

Mary Kay Bacallao

Fayetteville, Ga.