...Yes, and what many "problem" children need is a good swat or two, not a pill. Simplistic? Somewhat, perhaps, but there were far fewer problem children (and problem adults) in the days when giving a kid good swat or two wouldn't land the swatter in jail.
By way of background: in April 2002, President George W. Bush created the New Freedom Commission on Mental Health. Its objective was to enhance mental health services to those in need.
Among other things, the commission concluded that there is a need to search for mental disorders – especially in children – and the best way to do this was with mandatory mental health screening for everyone, starting with preschoolers.
According to the Commission's 2003 report: “Quality screening and early intervention should occur in readily accessible, low-stigma settings, such as primary health care facilities and schools.”
The report goes on to say: “...the extent, severity, and far-reaching consequences make it imperative that our Nation adopt a comprehensive, systemic approach to improving the mental health status of children.”
However, critics of the plan suggest that the random testing of millions of people makes little sense to anyone but the drug companies that will stand to profit from the potential customers.
The New Freedom Commission’s proposed treatment programs are based on the Texas Medication Algorithm Project (TMAP). TMAP, which was first used in Texas in 1996 and has since expanded to other states, is a set of very specific medication recommendations – most of them new, expensive, psychotropic drugs.
Despite the criticisms, the White House has remained solid behind the testing initiative, noting that the commission found that schools are in a “key position” to influence the phenomena of young children being “expelled from preschools and childcare facilities for severely disruptive behaviors and emotional disorders.”
But detractors are just as adamant that “problem” children in schools are readily identifiable, making the universal testing an unnecessary tool that does nothing but infringe on a parent’s right to make decisions regarding their child’s welfare.
(Thanks to my daugher-in-law for the tip.)