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Lawmakers Try to Curb Stimulant Coercion in Schools

By Todd Zwillich

  WASHINGTON (Reuters Health) - Lawmakers said Tuesday that they would move
  forward with a bill to prevent school personnel from requiring students with
  some behavior problems to take medications as a precondition for attending

[Fred A. Baughman Jr., MD:
that such a bill is being considered says parents have been
and are being robbed of the right to control the emotional and behavioral
lives of their children. Nor are these medical problems; such children are
medically/physically normal.]

  Members of House Education and Workforce Committee said that they would take
  up a measure intended to end coercion in the case of parents with children
  who have attention deficit disorder and related problems. 

[Fred A. Baughman Jr., MD:
coercion." Yes indeed, coercion is taking place and it is on the rise in
schools acxross the land]

  Some parents have claimed that school personnel threatened to remove their
  child from class unless the child began taking behavior-modifying stimulant
  drugs like Ritalin. 

[Fred A. Baughman Jr., MD:
For school personnel with no medical training
this is a "power trip". "Power corrupts--absolute power corrupts
absolutely." This psychiatric drugging of the NORMAL children of America is
about money/profit, and about power.]

  The bill, called the Child Medication Safety Act, requires states to enact
  policies prohibiting the practice as a condition of receiving federal
  education dollars.
  The House passed a more limited version of the bill last week as part of a
  special education authorization bill. Lawmakers said Tuesday that they would
  soon push a broader version of the bill to apply to all public schools.
  Rep. Michael N. Castle, R-Del., an Education subcommittee chair, said that
  Ritalin and related stimulants like Adderall often help control disruptive
  behavior in children with attention deficit problems.
  "Parents, however, should never be forced to decide between getting their
  child into school and keeping their child off of potentially harmful drugs.
  Schools should never presume to know the medication needs of a child," he
  Rep. Lynn Woolsey, D-Calif., agreed, saying that parents should have "the
  final word in deciding if their child should take a drug like Ritalin."

[Fred A. Baughman Jr., MD:
And any psychiatric drug, for the simple reason that there is no
such thing as a psychiatric disease, all children who are deemed troubled,
troublesome are medically normal. To call them "diseased" "chemically
imbalanced" is a lie--medical malpractice.]

  Several states, including Connecticut, Minnesota, Illinois, and Virginia,
  have already passed laws barring schools from demanding that children take
  anti-hyperactivity medications to attend class.
  Several parents alleging coercive treatment at the hands of school personnel
  have testified before Congress in the last year.
  "Parents are losing their right to choose," said Katherine Bryson, a
  Republican State Representative from Utah.
  But one witness testifying at a subcommittee hearing cautioned that the bill
  was unnecessary and could stifle teachers, who often are the first to
  identify potential mental problems in children.
  Psychiatrist Dr. Lance Clawson told the committee that reports of schools
  unduly influencing parents are anecdotal. "There's not reliable evidence
  that such a practices regularly occur or that this is a pervasive problem,"
  he said.
  "Once we start sanctioning schools from bringing up their concerns, we could
  be creating further barriers" to mental health treatment for children, added
  Clawson, who testified on behalf of the American Academy of Child and
  Adolescent Psychiatry. 

[Fred A. Baughman Jr., MD:
Clawson and the AACAP should be asked
whether or not there is proof that a single psychiatric condition/diagnosis
is an actual brain/medical abnormality. In fact, none are...the children
are normal, there is no "chemical imbalance" there is no rational,
scientific basis for prescribing a "chemical balancer" a psychiatric

  The Senate has not yet acted on either version of the bill.

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