Bills and Resolutions

U.S. BILLS & RESOLUTIONS INTRODUCED OR PASSED AGAINST COERCIVE PSYCHIATRIC LABELING & DRUGGING OF CHILDREN

In 1999, the Colorado State Board of Education passed a precedent-setting Resolution that asked school personnel to use academic rather than drug solutions to resolve problems with behavior, attention and learning. Since then, state legislatures, school boards and national organizations have responded to the need to protect children from arbitrary and forced psychiatric labeling and drugging, and to monitor the prescription rate of stimulants and other psychiatric drugs for children.

In 2001, two precedent-setting laws were passed in Connecticut and Minnesota that prevent school personnel from coercing or recommending that parents drug their children, especially as a requisite for remaining in class. Laws have also been necessary to protect parents against criminal charges being threatened or laid if they refuse to put their child on a mind-altering psychiatric drug.

1999: The Colorado State Board of Education resolution stated, "There are documented incidents of highly negative consequences in which psychiatric prescription drugs have been utilized for what are essentially problems of discipline which may be related to lack of academic success; and be it resolved that the State Board of Education encourage school personnel to use proven academic and/or classroom management solutions to resolve behavior, attention, and learning difficulties..."

2000: The Texas State Board of Education Resolution recommended, "that programs such as tutoring, vision testing, phonics, nutritional guidance, medical examinations, allergy testing, standard disciplinary procedures, and other remedies known to be effective and harmless, be recommended to parents as their options..."

2001: Four laws were passed in the states of Connecticut, Minnesota, North Carolina and Utah, and the Hawaii legislature passed a Resolution. The Connecticut law prohibited school personnel from recommending the use of psychotropic drugs for any child.

2002: Illinois and Virginia passed laws with similar protections provided in Connecticut's law. Illinois' law required school boards to adopt and implement policy prohibiting disciplinary action being taken against parents or guardians for refusing to administer, or consenting to administer, a psychotropic or stimulant drug. The law in Virginia directed the Board of Education to develop and implement policies prohibiting school personnel from recommending the use of psychotropic drugs for any student. The National Foundation of Women Legislators (NFWL) passed a resolution calling on the federal government to pass regulations or laws in relation to schools receiving federal funds that protect children from being wrongly diagnosed and stigmatized as mentally disordered and forced onto psychotropic drugs as a requirement of their education. The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) also proposed two pieces of model legislation, one against schools coercing parents to drug their children (or recommending drugs) and the other against invasive psychological testing and questionnaires.

2003: A federal bill was introduced—HR 1170—which states that as a condition of receiving federal funds under any program or activity administered by the U.S. Secretary of Education, each state shall develop and implement policies and procedures prohibiting school personnel from requiring a child to obtain a prescription for substances covered by section 202(c) of the Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. 812(c)) as a condition of attending school or receiving services. [Covers those psychotropic drugs which are generally subject to special provisions because of their potential for abuse and dependence. They are grouped into five "Schedules" based on their abuse potential. Schedule I means those drugs that have a high abuse potential and no accepted medical use in the United States such as heroin, LSD, and mescaline; Schedule II means those drugs with a medical use that have the highest potential for abuse or drug dependence such as Ritalin, Concerta (methylphenidate), Dexedrine, morphine and cocaine; Schedules III-V includes those drugs that have an accepted medical use and lower degrees of potential for abuse and dependence such as vicodin, valium and over-the-counter cough medicines with codeine.] HR 1170 was passed by the House, by an overwhelming margin of 425 votes to one, on May 21, 2003. It is now with the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions.

An amendment was also added to House of Representatives Bill 1350, the "Improving Education Results for Children with Disabilities Act of 2003," that amends and reauthorizes the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act. The amendment reads, "PROHIBITION ON PSYCHOTROPIC MEDICATION," and essentially uses similar wording to that in HR 1170, but covering special education. HR 1350 passed the House on April 30 and was received in the Senate and referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions May 1, 2003.

On a state level, fifteen states introduced 24 bills and/or resolutions in 2003. These were Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Texas, Vermont and West Virginia. Colorado enacted a law on June 5, 2003, requiring school boards to adopt a policy prohibiting school personnel from recommending or requiring the use of a psychotropic drug for any student.

1999:

State Description Introduced Active Passed
Colorado State Board of Education Resolution Resolution promoting the use of academic solutions to resolve problems with behavior, attention and learning in the classroom. 10/99 PASSED 11/11/99
National Black Caucus of State Legislators Resolution strongly urges a national examination of the use of psychotropic drugs and their effects on children. 12/01/99 PASSED 12/03/99

2000:

State Description Introduced Active Passed
Georgia
R 1079
The General Assembly of Georgia creates the Commission on Psychiatric Medication of School-Age Children, to investigate the usage and effects of psychiatric drugs on children and to provide recommendations for improved monitoring of the prescription rate of these drugs. 02/16/00 PASSED 05/01/00
Texas State Board of Education Resolution Resolution urging local school personnel to use proven academic and/or management solutions to resolve behavior, attention and learning difficulties such as exams, tutoring, phonics, vision testing, etc., known to be effective and harmless. 11/01/00 PASSED 11/03/00
Washington
HB 2912
An act relating to the use of psychiatric "medication" by children in state custody, and tracking the number of children being diagnosed and placed on psychiatric "medications." 01/21/00 PASSED 03/24/00

2001:

State Description Introduced Active Passed
Connecticut
AB 5701
Prohibits school personnel from recommending the use of psychotropic drugs for any child. A parent or guardian refusing to administer, or consenting to administer, a psychotropic or stimulant cannot be grounds for a child to be taken into the custody of the Dept. of Child and Family Services. 01/12/01 PASSED 06/28/01
Hawaii
SC Resolution
92
Requests the Department of Health and Department of Education jointly to research and examine non-"medication" alternatives for dealing with children who have learning and behavioral difficulties. 03/14/01 PASSED 04/12/01
Minnesota
HB 478
Parents' refusal to give stimulant drugs to a child does not constitute educational neglect. States that a child does not have to take such drugs as a condition for re-admission to school after having been suspended. Also establishes a study and report system on the number of children in the state labeled with ADD/ADHD and taking such drugs, as well recording what pressures families have experienced when placing their child on these drugs. 02/01/01 PASSED 05/01/01
North Carolina
SB 542
Calls for the establishment of a statewide database on the administration of psychotropic drugs to children who receive state services. 03/19/01 PASSED 05/25/01
Utah
HB 170
Amends the definition of "substantiated child abuse" to exclude failure to administer psychiatric drugs or course of treatment if the parent has not been told of the opportunity to obtain a physical exam; authorizes Division of Child and Family Services to report an individual who is not a licensed health care provider to the appropriate licensing authority for making medical recommendations regarding administration of psychiatric drugs to children. 01/26/01 PASSED 03/15/01

2002:

State Description Introduced Active Passed
Illinois
SB 1718
Requires school board to adopt and implement policy prohibiting disciplinary action that is based totally or in part on the refusal of a student's parent or guardian to administer or consent to administer a psychotropic or stimulant drug. 01/10/02 PASSED 07/16/02
Virginia
HB 90
Board of Education to develop and implement policies prohibiting school personnel from recommending the use of psychotropic drugs for any student. Student cannot be evaluated by a medical practitioner unless with the written consent of the student's parents. 01/31/02 PASSED 04/01/02
National Foundation of Women Legislators (NFWL) Resolution National Foundation of Women Legislators (NFWL) urges federal government to pass regulations or laws in relation to schools receiving federal funds that protect children from being wrongly diagnosed and stigmatized as mentally disordered, and forced onto psychotropic drugs as a requisite for their education. 11/23/02 PASSED 11/23/02
Texas
HB 320
Refusal to administer or consent to administration of psychotropic drugs or any other psychiatric or psychological treatment to a child does not by itself constitute neglect. 12/20/02 PASSED 06/20/03

2003:

State Description Introduced Active Passed
Federal
Amendment to HR 1350
Amendment added to federal bill H.R. 1350 reauthorization of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act: "State educational agency develops and implements policies and procedures prohibiting school personnel from requiring a child to obtain a prescription for substances covered by section 202(c) of the Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. 812(c)) as a condition of attending school or receiving services." 04/10/03 PASSED 05/13/04
Colorado
HB 1172
Requires each school board to adopt a policy prohibiting school personnel from recommending or requiring the use of a psychotropic drug by any student. 01/15/03 PASSED 06/05/03
Texas
HB 320
Parent's refusal to provide written consent for an employee of a school district to conduct a psychological exam, test, treatment or to permit a school employee to administer a psychotropic drug does not constitute neglect or abuse of a child. Any employee of a school district who uses or threatens to use a parent's refusal as the basis for making a report concerning abuse or neglect may be subject to a Class A misdemeanor charge and a parent may bring a civil court action against the school employee. 02/24/03 PASSED 06/20/03
Arizona
HB 2024
A child whose parent, guardian or custodian refuses to put the child on a psychiatric medication or questions the use of a psychiatric medication shall not be considered to be an abused, neglected or dependent child for that reason alone.   PASSED 12/18/03

2004:

State Description Introduced Active Passed
United States
H.R. 1350
Prohibits State and local educational personnel from requiring a child to obtain a prescription for substances covered by the Controlled Substances Act as a condition of attending school, receiving an evaluation under IDEA, or receiving services. 03/20/03 PASSED 11/19/04
New Hampshire
HB 551
A committee to study the prescription and use of psychotropic drugs in childcare centers, preschools, and public schools. Unless otherwise ordered by the court, the refusal of a parent or other person having control of a child to administer or consent to the administration of any psychotropic drug to such child shall not, in and of itself, constitute grounds for a child to be taken into custody. 01/07/04 PASSED 06/15/04

2005:

State Description Introduced Active Passed
Florida
SB 1090
Creates safeguards for parents in Florida from being coerced to put their children on dangerous psychotropic drugs or from being psychologically evaluated. March, 2005 PASSED 05/27/05
Minnesota
SF 2277
Provides that a parentís refusal to consent to the administration of a psychotropic drug or a psychiatric examination of a student shall not be used as grounds, by itself, for prohibiting the child from attending class or participating in a school-related activity. Further, the school district must not recommend that a student use a psychotropic drug. 04/28/05 PASSED 05/05/05

2006:

State Description Introduced Active Passed
Utah
HB 21
House Bill 21 allowed a court to intervene in child custody cases, or cases where children in the care of the state, to prevent the child from having compulsory psychiatric testing or treatment with drugs. Now courts have to consider the potential benefits of the examination, treatment or care versus the potential risks, side effects or emotional or physical harm resulting from the treatment. 01/17/06 "24 January 2006
The Health and Human Services Committee reports a favorable recommendation"
03/10/06
Arizona SB1324 Requires parental informed consent for†mental health screening of school children. 01/24/06 4 April 2006
Passed Rules Committee
05/02/06
Alaska
SB 48
School personnel may not 1) recommend to a parent or guardian that a child take or continue to take a psychotropic drug as a condition for attending a public school; 2) require that a child take or continue to take a psychotropic drug as a condition for attending a public school, except when, in the opinion of the child's treating physician. 04/13/06 05/08/06
Passed House of Respresentatives
06/10/06
Connecticut
SB 380
Will protect children in Special Education and includes language from the Child Medication Safety Act, that states, "No child may be required to obtain a prescription for a substance covered by the Controlled Substances Act... as a condition of attending school, receiving an evaluation..." 02/23/06 04/19/06
Passed House
05/02/06
Louisiana
H 234
"Requires local public school boards to adopt policies prohibiting teachers from making certain recommendations and suggestions relative to the administration of psychotropic drugs to students and student diagnosis." 03/27/06 06/19/06
Signed by the President of the Senate
07/05/06

2007:

State Description Introduced Active Passed
California
AB 1514
Stipulates that only a juvenile court officer can make orders regarding psychotropic medication to wards of the court who are in foster care. 02/23/07 06/20/07
Passed Assembly floor
07/20/07
Federal
H.R. 2387
No federal funds may be used to establish or implement any universal or mandatory mental health, psychiatric, or socioeconomic screening program. 05/17/07 07/17/07 Referred to House Subcommittee on Healthy Families and Communities  
Georgia
SB 277
To prohibit universal mental health testing and psychiatric or socioemotional screening of juveniles except under certain circumstances; to provide that a local school system cannot use the refusal of a child's or student's parent, guardian, or custodian to consent to the administration of psychotropic medication or psychiatric or mental health screening, testing, evaluation, or examination as grounds for prohibiting the child or student from attending class or participating in school-related activities. 03/01/07 03/01/07
Referred to Senate Committee on Education and Youth