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Connecticut proposes bill for forced mental health checks on homeschoolers

Tuesday, February 19, 2013 by: J. D. Heyes
Tags: Connecticut, mental health checks, homeschoolers

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(NaturalNews) Connecticut officials are proposing legislation that would require state investigations of children on an unprecedented level, critics contend, by calling for a "confidential behavioral health assessment" of every public school student in sixth, eighth, 10th and 12th grades, as well as every homeschooled student aged 12, 14 and 17.

The proposed legislation, called Bill 374, has been labeled by critics as little more than a shocking home invasion measure, WorldNetDaily reported.

"It's outrageous that state officials could come into private homes and potentially remove children if they are assessed as a threat as a result of the investigation," Dee Black, senior counsel to the Home School Legal Defense Association, told the website. "Regardless of what state officials claim, I don't believe the results [of the investigations] will be held confidential."

'No question' bill gives too much power to state agencies

Black says the psychological tests given by social services officials would hand far too much unchecked power to state government officials, giving them the ability to tag children as mentally unfit and permit state agencies to seize them.

"No question about it," he said. "I don't think people who live in a free society should be forced to give into mental evaluations of their children."

Black further asserts that such intrusions are unwarranted and unconscionable.

"Proposed Bill 374 would essentially authorize the state to conduct regular social services investigations of homeschooling families without any basis to do so," Black, who earned a Master of Laws degree at Georgetown University Law Center, told WND. "This outrageous legislative proposal must be stopped in its tracks before it gains any momentum."

Black said he believes the motivation behind the legislation is the recent mass murder in Newtown.

"The alleged [Sandy Hook] shooter was allegedly homeschooled for a while, but I'm not sure if it could have anything to do with it," Black, who has educated all four of his children at home with his wife, told the website.

"The bill only covers homeschool and public school students - not conventional private school students," he continued. "The heightened sensitivity in Connecticut about safety in schools could certainly be a factor [behind the bill] ... trying to identify threats before they become a tragedy."

Black says the health assessment called for in the legislation "is quite comprehensive and invasive."

"It includes 'a review of physical and mental health, intelligence, school performance, employment, level of function in different domains including family situation, and behavior in the community,'" he said, quoting from the bill.

Introduced in January, the measure has since been referred to the Committee on Public Health.

If passed, Black warned that parents might see social service agencies following their kids around neighborhoods to observe them "interacting at home with their families, showing up at their work, inspecting their classroom performance, administering IQ tests, psychologically analyzing them and physically examining their bodies," WND reported.

"These assessments would be conducted by an unspecified health care provider and would be conducted even though there was no indication whatsoever that these children had a behavioral problem," Black said.

State-mandate invasion of privacy

The measure was introduced by State Sen. Toni Harp and Rep. Toni Walker, both Democrats from New Haven.

Specifically, the legislation calls for "behavioral health assessments to children," and says:

That section 10-206 of the general statutes be amended to require (1) each pupil enrolled in public school at grades 6, 8, 10 and 12 and each home-schooled child at ages 12, 14 and 17 to have a confidential behavioral health assessment, the results of which shall be disclosed only to the child's parent or guardian, and (2) each health care provider performing a child's behavioral health assessment to complete the appropriate form supplied by the State Board of Education verifying that the child has received the assessment.

Black says parents' privacy concerns are justified.

"Bill 374 would essentially authorize the state to conduct regular social services investigations of homeschooling families without any basis to do so. It's an unnecessary invasion of privacy and an intrusion into the life of a family," he told the Christian Post.




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