105 Peavey Rd, Suite 116, Chaska, MN 55318
952-361-4931 www.edwatch.org - edwatch@lakes.com

October 18, 2006

Join EdWatch support for North Side families

When:            Saturday, October 21, 2006      Noon
Where:           Corner of Plymouth & Penn
Why:             Show opposition to the University of MN Mental Health Research Center
Who:             The local community and others who will stand with them
Sponsor:                  Parents Speak Out
Please join Carol White of Parents Speak Out, Dr. Karen Effrem of EdWatch,
and others this Saturday, October 21st. Stand with families as they resist the
University of Minnesota forcing its mental health research agenda on their children.

        Dr. Karen Effrem will join a list of speakers at a public rally this Saturday on the corner of Penn and Plymouth Avenues in north Minneapolis at noon to speak out against the University of Minnesota once again forcing its mental health research on Minnesota's minority children.

        The University of Minnesota is moving ahead with plans to build a $60-plus million Mental Health Research Center in the middle of Minneapolis' North Side at Plymouth and Penn, in spite of intense opposition from the community. The neighborhood wants economic development on that prime spot, not mental health research on their children. Jobs are scarce and gang violence is a growing menace.

        The University's Dante Cicchetti from New York finds that situation perfect for his research. Cicchetti holds a doctorate in clinical psychology and child development with minors in behavior genetics, neuroscience and psychophysiology. Behavioral genetics is based on the belief that genetics is the major factor in determining behavior,including violence. [See EdWatch update of August 14, 2006.]

        The October 14, 2006 EdWatch conference heard from Carol White, the President of Parents Speak Out, as she described how minority children are the guinea pigs for drug testing. Carol remembers when despairing parents would come to her in the 1970's as the state threatened charges of child abuse if parents refused to place their children, especially their young boys, on ritalin and other drugs. Today, these coercive measures and the permanent destructive effects of these drugs on children are becoming public, but what began in the minority community has now spread to schools all across the land. [See " Federal funding for universal mental health screening" and "Indiana Citizens Revolt Against Children's Mental Health Plan".]

        It is no secret that success in school requires learning to read early, and intensive phonics curriculum works. Learning basic math requires memorizing math tables, practice, and coming up with right answers, not relying on calculators and estimation from kindergarten on. Knowledge-based learning, time on task, and classroom discipline is a well-known recipe for success. Yet children are subjected to whole language, integrated math, group projects, discovery learning and diversity training. The neediest children are deprived the most. Instead of helping children, these worthless programs end up causing many to be psychologically labelled and medicated with ineffective and dangerous medications. The President's Commission on Special Education reported that black children are half again as likely as white children to be labeled as emotionally disturbed.

         Mental health research isn't what minorities need for their kids to succeed. Behavioral genetics is extremely controversial. Is there, for example, a genetic marker associated with increased criminal activity? Why would Cicchetti, a behavior geneticist, situate his Mental Health Research Center in a high density minority and high crime area? Residents fear the same intentions as the highly controversial and thoroughly discredited federal Violence Initiative of the early 1990's. Black children were compared with "monkeys in the jungle" and targeted for spinal taps and "preventive" psychotropic drug treatment, as chronicled in Dr. Peter Breggin's book The War Against Children of Color.

What we know:
1) Mental illness is over-diagnosed, especially in children.
2) Experts in the psychiatric field admit that the diagnostic criteria for mental illnesses are "subjective," and  "value judgments based on culture."  They also admit that the surveys and screening instruments used to label children are "highly impressionistic."
3) Psychotropic medications are over-prescribed. More money was spent on these drugs for children in 2003 than on antibiotics and asthma medication.
3) The diagnostic criteria for mental illnesses are vague social constructs, as admitted by experts in the psychiatric field.
4) Many studies, some of them kept from physicians and the public for years, have shown that these medications are not at all effective in the long term.
5) The psychotropic medications have serious, if not fatal, side effects that include suicide, violence, sudden death from heart problems, diabetes, obesity, stoke, neurological problems, impaired learning, and a shortened life span.
6) No psychiatric illness is caused by naturally occurring deficiencies of any psychiatric drug, but there are many reasons that children may have symptoms of mental illness that are overlooked by both schools and physicians that can be corrected without psychiatric drugs.

What you can do
1. Come to the rally to support these families and Dr. Effrem, and bring someone with you.
2. Order copies of "Know your rights" cards regarding child psychological testing.
3. Order The Dangers of Universal Mental Health Screening DVD.
4. Support EdWatch in getting the word out to parents and the public.

105 Peavey Rd, Suite 116, Chaska, MN 55318 - 952-361-4931 www.edwatch.org - edwatch@lakes.com
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