Representative Ron Paul (R., Texas) recently reintroduced legislation that would keep federal funding from being used to establish or implement any universal or mandatory mental health, psychiatric, or socio-emotional screening program without Parental Consent. Because of the generality of mental health tests, it’s easy for widespread screening to lead to mass labeling, drugging and life-long stigmatization. Parents may even be subjected to punitive measures for refusing drug treatment for their children.

The most recent – and widely publicized – case was that of Maryanne Goldboldo, who police arrested after they invaded her home. They arrived with a Child Protective Services worker who came to take Goldboldo’s daughter after the woman stopped the girl’s psychotropic drug treatment. Godboldo was accused of neglecting her daughter by discontinuing her medication, but had all charges against her dropped in court last week, with the judge ruling that the court order to remove her child was not valid.

“Mental health screening programs, consensual or not, put children and their families at risk,” said Lee Spiller, Director of Investigations for Citizens Commission on Human Rights-Texas. “As Ms. Goldboldo’s case shows, a label results in stigma, it results in law enforcement and child welfare trying to force the parent to drug the child. Unfortunately we’ve seen this on a local basis as well.”

In a speech given to the House of Representatives regarding his bill, Ron Paul said, “Many children have suffered harmful side effects from using psychotropic drugs. Some of the possible side effects include mania, violence, dependence and weight gain. Yet, parents are already being threatened with child abuse charges if they resist efforts to drug their children. Imagine how much easier it will be to drug children against their parents’ wishes if a federally-funded mental-health screener makes the recommendation.”

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