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|NUMBER 180||THE NEWSPAPER OF EDUCATION RIGHTS||JANUARY 2001|
Texas School Board Adopts Resolution |
Opposing Psychiatric Drugs for Children
Board member Judy Strickland introduced the resolution after a full day of hearings from medical experts who testified that Americans are resorting to psychiatric drugs to control millions of children. In Texas alone, up to one million schoolage children (15%) are taking these drugs.
"This resolution is a strong statement of concern about the rising incidence of psychiatric drugs in schools," explains Mrs. Strickland. "It's also a recommendation that local school boards, administrators, teachers, and especially parents educate themselves about this issue."
Speaking for the federal Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), agent Gretchen Fuessner produced surveys showing that "up to 20% of children" admit they casually abuse their prescriptions of stimulant drugs for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Fuessner warned board members that abuse of these stimulants, which are considered controlled substances by the DEA due to their highly addictive properties, is on the rise among middle and high school students.
Leading pediatric neurologist Dr. Fred Baughman told the board that American parents have been deceived into allowing their children to be diagnosed with ADHD, which he describes as "a complete fraud." According to the 1998 National Institutes of Health Consensus Conference report, there is no independent valid test for ADHD and no data to indicate that ADHD is due to a brain malfunction. The report states that stimulant drugs such as methylphenidate (Ritalin) do little to improve academic success or social skills.
The Texas School Board resolution urges all local school boards and district superintendents to educate themselves about the use of psychiatric drugs in their schools; to learn the procedures for prescribing these drugs, and to find out the extent of their use. It further suggests that schools recommend other remedies for resolving students' learning and behavior problems.
Proponents of traditional education interpret Dr. Breeding's statement to mean that children must be taught basic skills such as reading, writing and arithmetic in order to remain challenged and engaged in the classroom.
In November 1999, the Colorado State School Board became the first in the nation to pass a resolution warning about the dangers of Ritalin (see Education Reporter, December 1999). That resolution was adopted after the board heard expert medical testimony about the dangers of psychiatric drugs on schoolchildren.