105 Peavey Rd, Suite 116, Chaska, MN 55318
April 16, 2007
HIDING TEENSCREEN: Where's
huge public outpouring against the controversial TeenScreen program has
the DFL legislative leaders hiding it away. But TeenScreen is alive in
the House Education bill, sitting in obscure language, like Waldo
hiding in the children's picture books. Neither TeenScreen nor suicide
prevention initiatives are contained in the final Senate education bill.
Four questions remain:
- Will the House bill being
considered on the House floor sometime between this Tuesday and Thursday
(April 17th to 19th) promote the mental screening of our children?
- Will the conference committee between the House and the
Senate include psychiatric screening of our kids?
- If psychiatric screening (i.e. TeenScreen) is part of the final bill
sent to the Governor to sign, will the House and Senate uphold the
promised Governor's veto?
- If the veto is upheld, will the new bill that is created out of
negotiations between the legislature and the Governor include psychiatric
screening (i.e. TeenScreen)?
subjective and unscientific suicide screening instrument of vague and
leading questions. By its own admission, 84% of the students TeenScreen
red-flags are falsely identified, a fact TeenScreen advocates consider
harmless. TeenScreen is being promoted by the same
firm whose clients include the pharmaceutical companies and their
front groups that make the very drugs that are all too frequently used
for children and adolescents. These medications have shown little
evidence of effectiveness and are associated with suicide and other
dangerous and deadly side effects.
How they hid TeenScreen
- They relocated it in a "Safe Schools
- They removed the TeenScreen name; and
- They described it generically as "suicide prevention
DFL legislators are passing
TeenScreen by deception!
the day on March 27, 2007 (see
Health Care and Human Services Finance Division defeated an amendment
by Rep. Laura
Brod to delete
TeenScreen from the omnibus Mental Health bill (HF 196). This vote
clarifies that the illegitimate TeenScreen program has become largely
partisan -- only the DFL and one Republican, and every DFL member except
one in the committee, are still supporting it. (See
roll call vote here.)
HF 196 was
then included in other omnibus bills, and any direct reference to
TeenScreen vanished. The huge omnibus K-12 Education spending bill (HF 6)
was heard later that same day in the
K-12 Education Finance Division. Who but the sharpest eyes of Dr.
Karen Effrem would spot those three telling words ("suicide
prevention tools") in the few minutes she had to scan the bill
before it was approved, and recognize that this was simply TeenScreen by
a generic name? But EdWatch has experienced "renaming the
target" games many times before! Remember when the Profile of
Learning was re-named "High Standards?
Olson (R-Big Lake)
offered an amendment to the Safe Schools Levy to protect against
TeenScreen, which said, "...which shall not include psychiatric
screening tools," and that students could not be labeled as
potentially violent based solely on attitudes, values or beliefs.
part of the amendment pertaining to violence was due to another
controversial program funded in the Safe Schools Levy and the federal
Safe and Drug Free Schools program under No Child Left Behind called
"Early Warning, Timely Response." This program includes
"intolerance for differences and prejudicial attitudes" among
ten warning signs of potential violence. The perceived intolerance could
be based on "racial, ethnic, religious, language, gender, sexual
orientation, ability, or physicial appearance" criteria.
link shows some
of the live debate or listen to
streaming audio here. Please thank Rep. Olson for offering his
amendment was defeated. Again it was almost completely a party line vote,
with all Democrats and one Republican in yet another committee supporting
state funding for this dangerous program. (See
roll call votes here.)
HF 6 and
its psychiatric screening came up again in the
ommittee on April 11th where Rep. Greiling added the words
"voluntary, opt-in" to her already intentionally misleading
TeenScreen funding. In doing so, she stated that this is about
TeenScreen. The new "opt-in," parental consent policy, she
said, was something TeenScreen has changed to because it "eliminates
some of the controversy."
does not mean, however, that parents requested psychiatric screening. Nor
does it mean parents are informed about what their consent really means.
Parents do not request screening, and those who agree to have their
students participate are not informed that TeenScreen is wildly
controversial, that the false positives are 84%, that the questions are
vague and subjective, that the likely treatment will be drugs that are
dangerous and ineffective, and that false identification can have severe
negative effects on children. TeenScreen, now nameless, remains in the
House K-12 Education Bill.
105 Peavey Rd, Suite 116, Chaska, MN 55318
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