Viewpoint: State parents angry at screening plan

Like an AIDS epidemic, fascism is creeping across the face of Illinois. Ridiculous, you say?

Consider this single instance: the Illinois General Assembly this past spring passed new legislation requiring compulsory mental health screening for children and pregnant women. Governor Blagojevich signed the bill into law.

You didn’t know about it? The media didn’t tell you? That’s all part of the program folks. The legislature is a sneaky bunch; they like to slip these kinds of measures through before anyone finds out about them.

This law requires children through the age of 18 to be tested for mental health needs. The same goes for pregnant women. The legislation appears to be an outgrowth of President Bush’s plan to have mental health screenings–mandatory of course–for every American. I hope he starts with himself, that would be most interesting.

But back to home turf. We are advised that public forums are taking place or will take place around the state and the pols are hearing from some very angry and alarmed parents. They are telling other parents: get to a forum and state your opinion.

Larry Trainor, a father of four who lives in Mt. Prospect, declared: “We’re moving toward social training over academic training with this program.”

Trainor, a contact for Citizens Commission on Human Rights, further stated: “Since psychiatric involvement in education, SAT scores have gone down for the past few decades. Evaluating mental conditions is not based on scientific evidence, it’s subjective. What if they find a student has a math disorder, a reading disorder? Would that be a mental health disorder, one that would cause parents to put their children on a drug for a condition that they may or may not have?”

A number of other parents say they absolutely will not take part in such a program, and they are vehement about what they see as state interference in their lives and the personal lives of their children. One such parent is Amy Witherspoon. She said she and her husband will leave Illinois before they will submit their 3-year-old to any state mental health screening. Amy, who is six months pregnant, said neither will she allow any such screening of herself. She referred to the program as “invading my privacy under the guise of mental health screening.”

Amy’s husband, Larry, asserted: “This is just one more step in the state separating the parent from the child via the school system. Compulsory mental health evaluation for my wife against her will? Good bye, Nazi Illinois.”

Dom Pagalia, a grandfather of six, is more than angry with lawmakers. He said the governor and the legislature have “gone crazy” in passing this new, mandatory mental health law. Pagalia says voters in Illinois should “throw out every legislator this November who voted for this forced testing program.”

He said his two children, the parents of his grandchildren, plan to file a lawsuit to prevent the state from any forced mental evaluation of their children. If that fails, they are ready to leave the state before they will relinquish their parental rights.

The wise men (and women) of Springfield, in their omniscience, have decided that pregnant women should be screened for depression and would get continued evaluation for up to one year after the birth of their babies. There also will be follow-up treatment.

Mental health centers will be established in the schools to (get this bureaucratic gobbledegook) “ensure appropriate and culturally relevant assessment of young children’s social and emotional development with the use of standardized tools.”

Who will wield these tools…some social engineer from the local Democratic or Republican party’s headquarters?

It’s all up to the Illinois State Board of Education, under the new law, to develop appropriate tests that assess both mental health and academic standards.

The task force conducting the statewide forums is to forward its recommendations to Governor Blago by summer’s end. By the way, the law is, or was, House Bill 2900.

Wasn’t the State Board of Ed the entity that the gov wanted to abolish? Now that same board is to be the supreme arbiter of who is mentally healthy and who is not?

Forget about Bush, let’s put this crew on the couch and let the shrinks probe the murky recesses of their craniums. The whole lot should be preserved in formaldehyde.

Source: News With

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