EDUCATION FOR A FREE NATION
105 Peavey Rd, Suite 116, Chaska, MN 55318
September 9, 2006
Know Your Rights on
Early Childhood Screening promotionals appear all over, in places such as
community education catalogs, newspaper and radio ads and Early Childhood
Family Education centers. They usually say something similar to this:
- "In Minnesota, all children are required
to complete Early Childhood Screening before entering school."
[School District 112, Chaska]
School District 508, St.
In fact, all children in Minnesota are not required to be
screened before entering kindergarten. Preschool screening is
voluntary. Should state and non-profit mental health pushers be
subject to truth in advertising requirements? We think so.
- "The state of Minnesota requires that all children be screened
before entering kindergarten." [
This issue was part of a discussion in a
2006 Minnesota Senate Early Childhood Committee
hearing. Sen. Sean Nienow, a member of
the Committee, persuasively argued that, while preschool screening is
technically voluntary and districts make required statements that parents
have the right to refuse to participate, the message to parents is
confusing and contradictory. Nienow stated repeatedly that parents seldom
understand that it's voluntary. As an example, he distributed a sample
Parent Consent form that had arrived in the mail to a parent's home that
past week. It stated:
Sen. Hottinger dismissed Sen. Nienow's concerns, stating that this
was obviously an isolated case of a school district using the wrong form.
The reality is that this information is being distributed all across the
- "The parent or guardian has the right
to refuse participation for their child, in any component of the
screening program, and still be eligible for any other component;
however, Minnesota Law requires parents to have children screened
before school entrance." [Emphasis in the original.]
Preschool screening announcements are also grossly misleading when they
describe preschool screening as simply "for motor skills, concepts,
and communications skills." Or they may say, "Early
Childhood Screening includes a look at the child's development, vision
and hearing checks, height and weight measurements, immunization and
health history review."
Unstated on those lists, but what all Minnesota preschool screening now
includes, is "mental health screening" that is
being done without statutory authority.
Health Screening for Preschoolers" and
from committee hearing on preschool screening.) Children,
beginning at three years old, are currently being assessed, through
preschool screening, for state-government-defined mental health
At the Senate committee hearing referenced above,
Dr. Karen Effrem, stated:
"It's parents and
the public at large who are being deliberately misinformed -- not being
told that socio-emotional means mental
-- National Association for the Mentally
Ill (NAMI) (an organization which has received tax
dollars from the federal mental health agency to help implement the
Commissions recommendations, including universal screening)
stated at the hearing:
-- Sen. Betsy Wergin, member of the
- "The President's New Freedom Commission on
Mental Health recommended that quality screening occur in school... 21%
of children have a diagnosable mental, emotional or behavioral
-- Willard F. Harley, Jr., Ph.D, Licensed
- "Just looking at that number -- 21% have a
diagnosable disorder -- I think we are over-diagnosing and we are
over-medicating our kids."
Dr. Karen Effrem also stated:
- "Therapy is not benign. It can hurt
people, especially misdiagnosed children. Only a small percentage of
children have severe emotional problems that should be treated."
Not for non-public schooled children.
- Government sponsored and controlled universal
mental health screening, no matter how sweetly wrapped in the fig leaf of
parental consent, should never, ever be implemented. It is never,
EVER, the proper role of government to set norms for, assess or intervene
in the thoughts and emotions of free citizens, much less innocent,
vulnerable, and still developing children. It is our thoughts and
emotions that make each of us uniquely and individually human, and we use
these thoughts and emotions to understand the world and maintain our
inalienable right to liberty.
In addition to preschool screening being voluntary, all
children who will attend non-public schools or who will be home schooled
are exempt from the law (MS
121A.17, Subd. 1).
You may refuse.
You may refuse any part or all of preschool screening,
including subjective socio-emotional (mental health) screening and the
states nosy questions about your familys life (MS 121A.17, Subd. 3e).
Know your rights.
EdWatch now has beautiful business-sized cards called
Your Rights," with the Minnesota statutes that clarify your
rights to refuse to participate in mental health screening written out
for your easy reference.
Front of card
You may refuse any part or all of preschool
including subjective socioemotional (mental health)
screening and the states nosy questions about your
familys life (MS 121A.17, Subd. 3e)
School districts cannot force you to submit your child to
mental health screening or psychiatric drugs by threatening
child abuse or neglect charges or removal from school
or by limiting school activities. (MS 121A.47, Subd. 14b)
Back of card
School districts must obtain written,
before any special education evaluations including those
involving mental health. The school districts must not
override a parents written refusal of these evaluations.
(MS 125A.091, Subd. 5a)
These cards are perfect to give to everyone you know. They're
a handy size for purse or wallet.
Order copies on-line today.
the alarm on Infant Mental Health" -- link
The Dangers of
Universal Mental Health Screening" DVD, Karen R. Effrem,
MD, pediatrician and EdWatch board member.
These issues will also be addressed at the
Fall Conference. Register
Friday, October 13, 2006 6:00 p.m.
Saturday, October 14, 2006 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Embassy Suites Hotel Airport
Karen R. Effrem, M.D.,
"Shrinks in the Nursery: The Merging of Mental Health and
Carol White, View
African Americans Acting Together (AACT)
Minority and Low-income Families as Psychiatric Guinea Pigs
105 Peavey Rd, Suite 116, Chaska, MN 55318 - 952-361-4931
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