Ron Paul
2004 Ron Paul Chapter 67

Ron Paul Opposes Mandatory Mental Health Screenings In Public Schools — Part 1

9 September 2004

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Opposes Mandatory Mental Health Screenings In Public Schools — Part 1
9 September 2004


2004 Ron Paul 67:1
Mr. PAUL. Mr. Chairman, I offer an amendment.

The CHAIRMAN pro tempore. The Clerk will designate the amendment. The text of the amendment is as follows: Amendment No. 3 offered by Mr. PAUL: At the end of the bill (before the short title), insert the following: SEC. ll. None of the funds made available in this Act may be used to create or implement any new universal mental health screening program. The CHAIRMAN pro tempore. Pursuant to the order of the House earlier today, the gentleman from Texas (Mr. PAUL) and a Member opposed each will control 5 minutes. The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Texas (Mr. PAUL).

2004 Ron Paul 67:2
Mr. PAUL. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself 3 1/2 minutes. (Mr. PAUL asked and was given permission to revise and extend his remarks.)

2004 Ron Paul 67:3
Mr. PAUL. Mr. Chairman, my amendment says that no funds in this bill will be permitted to be used to institute system of universal mental health screening. The New Freedoms Commission on Mental Health, a commission established in 2002, has recommended universal mental health screening for all our children in our public schools as well as adults who work in these schools. As a medical doctor, as a civil libertarian, and a strict constitutionist, I strongly reject this notion, this plan, as dangerous and nonproductive.

2004 Ron Paul 67:4
This type of screening would surely lead to a lot more treatment of hyperactive kids. We already have an epidemic in our schools today that are overtreated. Too often under these conditions, children are coerced into taking medicine. It has been known that parents who have denied medication for their children have been accused of child abuse. There is already tremendous pressure on parents to allow public school officials to put children on medication like Ritalin.

2004 Ron Paul 67:5
This amendment would not deny, in the routine course of events, medical treatment for those who are suffering from mental disease. What my concern is for a universal screening test of all children for mental illness.

2004 Ron Paul 67:6
Diagnosis in psychiatry is mostly subjective. It is very difficult to come up with objective criteria. If we wanted psychiatrists to perform the test to make it more objective, it would be impossible. We are talking about an unbelievable number of psychiatrists that are not available, so nonpsychiatrists would be doing this testing.

2004 Ron Paul 67:7
One of the worst downsides from a program like this would be for a child to be put on a list as having some type of mental disorder.

2004 Ron Paul 67:8
An unruly child is going to be the first one to be determined as mentally disturbed. It is happening all the time. Those are the individuals that are hyperactive even in a normal sense and end up on Ritalin.

2004 Ron Paul 67:9
But can you imagine a list of this sort? They claim it will be private, but can you imagine if there is a list that has identified an individual as a possible candidate for violence? And what if he were to be hired by an important industry? What if the post office was to hire this individual and he was on this list and we did not make this information available to the hiring authorities? That means there would be tremendous pressure to make public officials use this list for reasons that I think would be very, very negative.

2004 Ron Paul 67:10
The whole notion of testing children to me represents a principle even more intrusive than a mandatory blood test. It would make more sense medically to have a blood test for, say, AIDS, if you thought it was the responsibility of the Federal Government to take this job upon themselves. But, no, if we tried to do this in the area of mental diseases, believe me, the criteria would be way too arbitrary. A diagnosis will be too difficult to determine with a set of objective standards.

2004 Ron Paul 67:11
Mr. Chairman, I reserve the balance of my time.

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