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July 21, 2005

Correction is More Good Mental Health News
Florida legislature passes protection from mental health coercion
     
 Our need to make the following correction is wonderful news for parental rights in Florida and adds impetus to the growing national backlash against government mandated mental health screening and drugging of children. In our July 18th update, we stated that Florida Governor Jeb Bush had vetoed a bill prohibiting school led mental health drugging and screening coercion and criticized that veto. 
 
It is true that Governor Bush did veto one bill that: However, we have found out that he did sign a second much larger and more complicated bill dealing mostly with procedures for the provision of psychotropic drugs to children in the welfare and foster care systems.  That bill also contains the following very good language that protects parental rights:
Administration of psychotropic medication; prohibition; conditions.-

1) As used in this section, the term "psychotropic medication" means a prescription medication that is used for the treatment of mental disorders and includes, without limitation, antihypnotics, antipsychotics, antidepressants, anxiety agents, sedatives, psychomotor stimulants, and mood stabilizers.
2) A public school may not deny any student access to programs or services because the parent of the student has refused to place the student on psychotropic medication.

3) A public school teacher and school district personnel may share school-based observations of a student's academic, functional, and behavioral performance with the student's parent and offer program options and other assistance that is available to the parent and the student based on the observations. However, a public school teacher and school district personnel may not compel or attempt to compel any specific actions by the parent or require that a student take medication. A parent may refuse psychological screening of the student. Any medical decision made to address a student's needs is a matter between the student, the student's parent, and a competent health care professional chosen by the parent.

This new law brings to two the number of states to our knowledge that have defended parental rights by enacting some kind of prohibition on mental health screening.  That this occurred in a state governed by the brother of President Bush who convened the New Freedom Commission is highly significant. We are hopeful that it signals some sort of change of heart toward these dangerous plans. 

Although there is no protection of parents from charges of various kinds of child abuse or neglect for refusing mental health screening or drugging, this language is an excellent start, and the Florida Legislature and Governor Bush should be highly commended and thanked for enacting this legislation.  We apologize for not doing so in our previous alert.
 


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