The psychological health of children and teenagers has been declining, and we are apparently in the midst of a child mental health crisis. The problem has largely been attributed to excessive screen time and social media exposure, as well as increased pressure to pass standardized tests. Naturally, the proffered solution is not to get kids away from the screen and prevent atrocities like oxymoronic “smart playgrounds,” but rather to introduce extensive mental health assessments into schools.
With a swath of teachers taking part in “progressive” social engineering projects, can we really put our trust in them to evaluate students’ mental states without ulterior motives?
Mental Health Screenings in Schools
In May 2017, The Wall Street Journal published an opinion piece by a Dr. Aida Cerundolo, claiming that schools are obtaining sensitive mental health data on children without their, or their guardians’, knowledge or consent. According to Cerundolo:
“Educators and administrators increasingly are using psychological screening tools to identify children who are at risk for social and emotional issues, and to assess programs geared toward improving social and emotional skills.”
Cerundolo cites the Devereux Student Strengths Assessment (DESSA) test, produced by the Devereux Centre for Resilient Children as one such test that assesses and tracks over time a child’s “social-emotional competence.” As a doctor who is subject to confidentiality laws herself, she questions the lack of safeguards surrounding such sensitive information:
“The justification for blanket screening of all students is noble—to identify those who may benefit from intervention before their social and emotional issues become a problem that impedes success in school and life. But aren’t we really creating psychological profiles that in other settings would be deemed confidential?”
…over seven million children are already medicated.
…over seven million children are already medicated.
Universal mental health checks have also been introduced for middle and high school students in several Washington state school districts. The screenings will be self-administered at least, although there is no indication of how confidential the results will be.
The extent of DESSA style testing is unclear, but multiple schools and school districts are indeed using and promoting it as a coping strategy for children. Not only are the vendors able to profit by selling students’ information and then marketing products to “correct” kids’ wayward behavior, but there are also serious concerns that this may encourage the use of unnecessary psychiatric drugs, in a country where over seven million children are already medicated.
The 2015 Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) also made significant provisions for mental health assessments in schools, on a federal level.
Persecution of the Different
After the Parkland shooting, Florida rushed through a new “School Safety Law” that, among other things, forces students to disclose their mental health history upon registering at a school. Aside from privacy implications, some parents are concerned about how their children will be treated if they have a mental health referral on their record. A parent whose children are affected by the requirement spoke to NPR:
“If you do say, ‘Yes, my child has seen a counselor or a therapist or a psychologist,’ what does the school then do with that … I think that was my biggest flag. And I actually shared the story with a couple of mom friends of mine and said, ‘Can you believe this is actually a thing?'”
“… If my child was on the playground and something happened … they might think, ‘This child has seen mental health services. This must mean something’ — more than it really means.”
Teachers – not mental health professionals – will be asked to perform the assessments on students as young as four …
Alisa LaPolt, executive director of the Florida office of the National Alliance On Mental Illness (NAMI) said it would “immediately label the child as a problem student because he or she had mental health treatment, and it actually deters parents to get treatment for kids because they don’t want kids to be labeled.”
Internationally speaking, British Prime Minister Theresa May recently announced her plan to introduce regular psychological assessments in schools as well as mandatory “mental resilience” classes. Teachers – not mental health professionals – will be asked to perform the assessments on students as young as four, and are to be encouraged to use the results in order to adapt their lessons.
The very idea of mental illness is political – we are increasingly seeing amateur psychology used to denigrate people in the political world. What exactly makes one mentally ill, and how will this be judged in children?
Educational institutions are becoming highly political, targeting younger and younger students with propaganda. A teacher at John F. Kennedy High School in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, handed out an assignment on “power and privilege” in the U.S., describing different oppressed groups and identifying their oppressors. According to the paper, “people of color” are oppressed by “white people,” “non-Christians” are oppressed by “Christians,” and so on. It’s quite a long list, but only one part of a program titled the “Diversity Toolkit: A Guide to Discussing Identity, Power and Privilege,” developed by the University of Southern California.
A new history textbook has been released claiming that all Trump supporters are racist. In London, an all-girls Catholic school has forced its students to use the preferred pronouns and names for transgender students, while a preschool in Iceland uses the Hjalli Method – separating boys and girls and teaching each sex the opposite of its traditional gender activities; boys are being taught to paint their nails, and so on.
These are just a few notable examples aimed at an impressionable youth. With teachers and psychologists given control over evaluating the next generation’s mental state, how much more effective and targeted will social engineering efforts become? How will students be evaluated who do not subscribe to this type of political programming?
It is impossible to deny that caring for the mental health of children and adults is vitally important, but as our education system increasingly embraces standardized testing, is it also working to standardize children’s’ minds?