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Children shouldn’t be automatically screened for mental
health issues without explicit parental consent, especially if there is no
indication of mental health problems. It violates parental rights, the
diagnostic criteria are vague, and federal funds shouldn’t support programs
that could lead to the increased over-medication of children.
Increasingly, schools are demanding that students receive
mental health screenings, and if their parents or legal guardian refuse to
consent to it, the educational institution uses that refusal as the basis for a
charge of child abuse or neglect. If the child is screened and the therapist
believes there is any sign of depression, it is likely he or she will be
prescribed an SSRI antidepressant.
The Parental Consent Act of 2011 would prohibit the use of federal
funds for any universal or mandatory mental health screening program, and
ensures that any school or agency that doesn’t heed a parent’s express refusal
to have a child screened would no longer be able to receive federal education
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