Attn: State Editor \ Education Reporter
Texans For Safe Education
2503 Douglas St. Austin, Texas 78741
News Release

For Immediate Release
CONTACT: John Breeding, Ph.D.
Friday, August 24, 2001
(512) 326-8326

Public Schools Warned: Requiring Ritalin Is Unlawful

Austin, TX - Texans for Safe Education on Friday released to the general public a letter from the Texas Education Agency's (TEA) head lawyer, David Anderson, stating that it is unlawful for school personnel to require kids take Ritalin or other psychoactive drugs in order to participate in public school. Texans For Safe Education is alarmed at the explosive growth in the use of psychiatric drugs on United States school children, and especially alarmed with the coercion of parents by school personnel to have their children undergo psychiatric evaluation and take psychiatric drugs. The group has heard from parents whose children were threatened with expulsion from school if they refused to accept psychiatric evaluation and/or drugs.

Texas Education Association legal counsel affirms that it is illegal to require psychiatric drugs as a condition of school attendance, or to threaten expulsion when a parent refuses psychiatric drugs for their child.

Another school year is beginning and Texans For Safe Education wants parents to know their rights and school personnel to know the law on this important issue. According to David Anderson, TEA legal counsel, "A public school's attempt to require a child to take a psychoactive medication as a condition of enrolling or attending school is unlawful. Threats to expel from public school a child who is not put or continued on a psychoactive medication are also unlawful."

John Breeding, PhD, Director of Texans for Safe Education, further charges that the ADHD industry itself is a fraud. "These drugs are being prescribed without any objective scientific evidence of the existence of any medical disease," said Dr. Breeding. "Even the National Institute of Health Consensus Conference on ADHD in 1998 stated, 'an independent diagnostic test for ADHD does not exist'. We estimate that up to 1 million school-aged children in Texas are being drugged for such phantom illnesses, and find this very troubling. The widespread drugging of these children is a fraud being perpetrated against the children and families of Texas. It is important that the Texas Education Agency has stated that school personnel should not be attempting to force parents to participate in this fraud."

Fred Baughman, MD, a neurologist, said, "Throughout medicine, with the exception of psychiatry, physicians are dealing with objective disease, such as high blood sugar denoting diabetes, or malignant cells denoting cancer. Only psychiatry deals exclusively with symptoms, with the subjective, never with disease. ADHD is not a disease."

"There is no chemical imbalance, as drug-pushing psychiatrists claim for every diagnosis. There is nothing to balance. The first and only chemical imbalance is from the Ritalin itself, from the amphetamine itself, from whatever psychiatric drug or drugs that are given, and these drugs are detectable in every body fluid, in every organ. The drugs are the one and only objective abnormality in psychiatric patients. We must protect our children from this psychiatric, pharmaceutical, educational-induced damage."

Judy Strickland, a member of the Texas State Board of Education, said, "I am pleased that David Anderson, Legal Counsel for the TEA, has reinforced the resolution passed in November by the State Board of Education, keeping teachers and administrators in the academic arena, and leaving medical issues to parents and their preferred professionals."

Angela Hurley, an Austin parent of a child in public school, spoke about her experience with the school trying to force her to put her son on drugs. "When my son entered the Austin school district, he had problems, and it was very obvious that the problem was due to a lack of proper discipline. I was then put under a lot of pressure by the school personnel to take him for an evaluation for something I donÕt believe in, and that is ADHD. I was forced to change schools because of this argument. Now, without the drugs, he has drastically improved, making A's and B's in class. That is because I took the initiative and improved discipline at home to such a degree that we overcame the problems being caused by a lack of discipline in the school. My son has had friends who were put on psychiatric drugs for supposed ADHD, and while on these drugs they went into rages, threatening to kill their siblings and so forth. I have known for quite a while that psychiatric drugs are no option for my child, despite any pressure the public school tried to put on us."

Dr. Breeding said, "This statement by Mr. Anderson is important, but it is not enough. A recent ruling by the Rhode Island Department of Education's head attorney states that it is illegal under Federal law for school personnel to even suggest or recommend psychotropic medication for a child. So far, the TEA has refused to make a similar ruling, leaving the possibility open for teachers to make specific prescription recommendations to parents. We have been contacted by a number of parents who felt very pressured by teachers who told them their child was disrupting the entire class, and a prescription of Ritalin or a similar drug would be just the thing to quiet them down. Such conversations are completely out of line, as teachers are not doctors, and should not be pushing drugs that the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency considers dangerous. We will continue to request that the TEA rectify the situation by informing all school personnel that it would be unlawful for them to give any type of drug recommendation to any parent."