Mar 6, 2019 by

“Tex. SB 10 – Teachers Should Teach, Not Psychoanalyze”

By Donna Garner


Several bills are in the Texas Legislature right now that deal with mental health. One is SB 10 that sets up a framework for a mental health consortium, connecting public schools to mental health services.

Last week a good friend of mine who is an activist was in a legislator’s office and was shown a sample questionnaire (posted below). If you do not have a touch screen to enlarge it, you can select Ctrl + to enlarge the screen.

Many of the questions are very intrusive; and little children can easily misinterpret what is actually going on in a family situation.  For example, Question #3 — A loving grandfather might give his granddaughter a kiss on the cheek, and a little child might be influenced by the wording to think this was wrong.  Question #4 — A Pre-K  child who wants an iPhone might consider herself/himself “unloved, not special” if her/his parents deny the child’s request — for obvious reasons.  

My friend said that whenever she helps parents, she tells them that their children should not answer such questionnaires. For instance, one mother signed a permission form for her daughter to take part in a gardening project; and she was given a survey asking things such as, “Do you feel more like a boy or a girl?”  These types of surveys place ideas in kids’ heads and are intrusive. They can become a part of a child’s record to evaluate the child’s mental health.

My friend also said she tells parents that if their children are ever called to the principal’s or counselor’s office, they should not answer any intrusive, personal questions but should respectfully say, “I want to talk to my parents. Please call my dad and/or mom.”

COMMENTS FROM DONNA GARNER:  My problem with SB 10 is that no classroom teacher should ever be forced into a position of trying to psychoanalyze his/her students. Classroom teachers are not trained psychologists nor psychiatrists. Most classroom teachers are very observant, however; and they can spot children who need special counseling. The legislature should be focusing on ways to strengthen and implement better and more efficient pathways to create opportunities for children to receive professional counseling by trained adults; and there must be trained adults who follow-up with these children and their families.     

Alice Linahan has more information about the harmful impact of SB 10 — #EducateDon’tMedicate.  Please go to this link to learn more:  https://www.facebook.com/WomenOnTheWall.org/posts/2363751266982021

To read SB 10 and to follow its progress, please go to: https://capitol.texas.gov/BillLookup/History.aspx?LegSess=86R&Bill=SB10

ACTION STEP:  Please contact your Texas House and Senate members and ask them to vote against SB 10. Express to them your great concerns about (1) intrusive surveys, questionnaires, and mental health screenings Pre-K through the workforce, (2) portfolios that are kept cradle-to-the-grave without the permission of parents nor without options for corrections to be made to erroneous statements, and (3) the sharing of highly personal information with third parties.  

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