Monday, September 03, 2007

From Congressman Dan Burton:

Parental consent for mental health screens
I am a co-sponsor of the “Parental Consent Act of 2007”(H.R. 2387) which seeks to essentially prohibit any student mental health screening program that allows mental health screening of individuals under 18 years of age without the express, written, voluntary, informed consent of the parent or legal guardian of the individual involved.

I appreciate the value of having mental health problems diagnosed and treated early but I have serious concerns about universal or mandatory mental health screening. I am worried that federally funded universal or mandatory mental health screening in schools without parental consent could potentially lead to labeling more children as “ADD” or “hyperactive” and thus force more kids into taking possibly dangerous psychotropic drugs, such as Ritalin, against their parents' wishes. Many children have already suffered harmful side effects from using psychotropic drugs. These side effects can include mania, violence, dependence, and weight gain. Furthermore, it is known that parents have been threatened by school districts with child abuse charges if they resist efforts to drug their children.

I know that some people believe that my concerns are overblown but I feel very strongly that parents' have a fundamental right to raise their children as they see fit and that includes making decision about evaluation and treatment of mental health conditions.

Indiana 5th District
Congressman Dan Burton