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Back to Jan. Ed Reporter
Education Reporter
NUMBER 180 THE NEWSPAPER OF EDUCATION RIGHTS JANUARY 2001

Texas School Board Adopts Resolution
Opposing Psychiatric Drugs for Children

Judy Strickland
AUSTIN, TX - The Texas State Board of Education adopted a resolution on Nov. 3 (see Resolution) expressing serious concern about the tremendous growth in the use of Ritalin and other psychiatric drugs on schoolchildren. The resolution urges local school boards and superintendents to "use proven academic and/or management solutions to resolve behavior, attention and learning difficulties."

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.

Dr. John Breeding
Dr. John Breeding
Valid options include tutoring, vision testing, allergy testing, dietary changes, medical examinations, standard disciplinary procedures, and use of the phonics method for teaching reading. As psychologist John Breeding, Ph.D., testified at the hearing: "We are resorting to psychiatric drugs to control millions of our children, which is in no way a solution to declining literacy, high dropout rates, or problems with school discipline. It's as if we are scapegoating the brains of our children to divert attention from the need to courageously handle the challenges of education in today's world."

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.


 
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