Should Every Child in Indiana Undergo a Government-backed Mental Health Exam?
Two Indiana Republicans, State Representatives Wendy McNamara and Tony Cook, have co-authored House Bill 1322. This bill seeks to set up a system to force every K12 student in Indiana to undergo a mental health exam, labeling many children “at risk” or “in need of intervention.”
This is not the same as a test looking for learning disabilities or academic challenges, which falls within the realm of education and would have the support of many, or most, parents.
This seems to be a broad-brush approach to more of a pinpoint problem involving a few children with serious mental health issues. It raises several questions:
• What information will parents be given about these assessments?
• What rights would parents have, and what role would they play, in this proposal?
• What kinds of questions will children be asked?
• What kinds of behaviors or beliefs will be scrutinized by mental health or school officials?
• What happens if a child is mislabeled?
• Where is the exam data stored, and how will it be protected?
• What kind of treatment might the state recommend or initiate?
None of these concerns are adequately addressed in HB 1322.
As one leader and attorney has written:
Passing House Bill 1322 could lead to:
· Subjecting over 1,000,000 children in the public schools – beginning in kindergarten – to mental health screenings and mental health assessments!
· This could result in labeling children as “at risk” or “not normal” with regard to mental health issues!
· This could then lead to an attempt to “re-educate” hundreds of thousands of children in order to change their attitudes, values and beliefs, including religious beliefs!
· All of this could take place without parental consent!
House Bill 1322 Must Be Defeated!
Please call your State Representative and ask them to vote “NO” on House Bill 1322. You can call your member of the House at: 317-232-9600.
You can find your legislator here, and email them too at: http://iga.in.gov/legislative/find-legislators/