Let’s discuss mental health screenings in schools, some with questionable tests with profits for testing companies.
Just when things could not get any stickier, schools are beginning testing for the entire student body for ADHD and other sensitive mental health challenges, and some schools are providing gifts and incentives for participation in these mental health screenings.
Of course this is a community school. Which some are against in theory for just these reasons. The lines are quite blurry when a school takes over medical and social work assistance, indeed.
How do you feel about screening all children, regardless of need? Should these not be referral and need based, without participation incentives?
Every child deserves access to the best health care and education. But is this appropriate when the parents have expressed no prior concern? Or is it data mining? This memo above has elicited quite a response from many New York parents.
One parent submits:
“My concern is with mental health screenings brought into all public schools to ALL students, rather than through guidance or SpecEd areas used as a local referral. Where is the medical community? What about the data mining aspect for the entire student body? The fact that classes compete for parties just to participate is egregious.”
A mental health professional writes:
“Unnecessary screenings? I’m a mental health professional and this is a complete violation!!! It’s just data collection and information gathering to classify and to eventually segregate. This is disgusting.
Even if a school employs qualified professionals, it is beyond their scope of practice because schools are not mental health clinics or offices. Schools are for learning. Special education teachers and behavior specialist enhance the learning environment for those who truly need the assistance. School social workers or guidance counselors provide therapeutic solutions. But diagnosing and conducting mental health assessments?? On what criteria? What has the child exhibited consistently where his/her life is interrupted and the child is not functioning typically? Unacceptable. Unethical use of practice.
It is overwhelming to me that we are at a point in our history where are children are collateral damage. They no longer have room to be curious, thoughtful, and playful learners. They just fit into a category or classification of what they will be (a predetermined future), one that completely undermines the very ideal of our nation’s founding. If this is allowed and continues, we will break our future. We will not have critical thinkers, scientists, philosophers, truth-seekers, we will have bred drones as government slaves. Our children matter. Their little and individualistic lives matter.
Classifications will do a significant disservice to those who do truly need assistance in the learning environment and will reverse progress of classroom integration for children with identified and real learning impediments or from the child who may have an intellectual disability. We are in danger of creating hostile learning environments and data tracking that will follow their lives, just as it does in China.”
– Roisin Druta, LMSW
This program in the memo above is not using PEARSON for testing.
They are using this;
The parent answers these 35 questions and the teacher collects and gives the form to the agency to score, who then contact parents with kids who may need further evaluation. They may have the best intentions but this could get sticky fast.
A grandparent Deb E. shares her thoughts:
“The goals of a program can be great, but have negative consequences on the population. It’s the implementation that matters. What about the collection of private information on all students, even those who have not exhibited a problem? What about HIPPA laws? I know there is some medical info that must be shared with schools, but should not that be a parent’s decision?
And do they database all that info? If so, who has access to it and what is done with it? How long is it kept?
This makes me think of a million questions. Should we ring alarm bells? Maybe not quite yet, but we should be aware.
And whenever Pearson has a tie-in I get very, very nervous.”
How many more “private” companies will jump on board seeing each child as a profit potential and stamp a permanent label on them? Bribes for parties to get those surveys in are unethical in their data mining aspect for all involved.
Parent Veronica Angelo-Heizman writes:
“Where do I start? Offering prizes to gain permission for testing- really. Are these test subjects they are paying? ADHD should not be diagnosed by a school professional but by a doctor. By marketing this test to schools they would then be diagnosing- unethical! It is one thing to notify parents of services in the community. They should provide a list of providers and not just one agency. It looks like they are drumming up business for this company. Very unethical.”
Ms. Angelo-Heizman adds,
“My daughter had an appointment with her neurologist in preparation for a triennial 504 plan meeting to assess the diagnosis of ADHD. We get a parent survey and teacher surveys that are sent back for the neurologist to analyze the results. She spends a considerable amount of time asking questions and listening to our concerns. She checks neurological measures-reflexes, strength etc. as well. I find filling out the scale helpful in pinpointing weaknesses. We do not do meds. We have focused on sleep irregularities and diet- can’t focus on no sleep and an empty stomach.
In speaking with my daughter’s therapist she felt that to promote this mental health screening by Arise and give incentives was unethical. At the same time, for a district to refer to only one source is unethical as well.”
On to companies profitting off our schools, again. Most districts use the BASC form, a PEARSON document.
PEARSON has purchased it all.
Pearson has changed the face of mental health for our children.
Look at the direction these companies are heading in on testing. 20 minute online movement monitoring?
As for Pearson’s monopoly on testing, it is a huge conflict of interest when they own the screening tests and curriculum materials simultaneously.
ADHD screening is the one of the most disturbing instance of Pearson’s profit off our children that we’ve seen to date. This is highly unethical and a huge conflict of interest. There are already not enough services for the children that have been properly diagnosed by trained medical and mental health professionals, and yet Pearson’s pockets will be lined with profits made from diagnosing more with their own tests.
The school staff in the USA is busting at the seams with responsibilities of caring for children with IEPs and special needs, but now they’re going to take valuable staff to administer screenings across the board. These diagnoses will potentially follow these students for life. Data mining could not get worse.
Whether you feel Adhd is over diagnosed or misdiagnosed, the fact remains that incentive for school testing is unethical. And remember the treatment plan many schools recommend for difficult to manage students with trouble focusing and hyperactivity is medication. Would you be okay with your school making a diagnosis such as this and pushing medication? This is especially concerning when the common core agenda comes with longer days, less recess, more “rigor” and less movement and free thought. What young child wouldn’t be at risk?
We need to find out more about this type of screening. There are way too many unanswered questions here.
All children should have equal access to aid, but not like this. Parents are concerned about this. They are furious about PEARSON. Would you be?
When will we the people say enough is enough? Is today that day?