Mental health evaluations for homeschoolers
Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy couldn’t get the guns away from law-abiding citizens after the Newtown shooting, so now he’s going after homeschoolers.
Malloy’s Sandy Hook Advisory Commission met on September 23, 2014, almost two years after Adam Lanza’s horrific act of violence, to draft a recommendation that the State increase its oversight of homeschooled children. [See video of meeting]
According to City-Journal, the panel is “recommending that the state give local officials approval power over parents who wish to homeschool children with social, behavioral, and emotional challenges.”
The 16-member panel chaired by Hamden Mayor Scott Jackson was established in January 2013 to investigate the causes of the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre. A March 19, 2013 interim report issued by the commission dealt with gun safety, emergency planning and school security, but made no mention of Lanza’s brief time after eighth grade as a homeschooled student.
In fact, beginning in kindergarten, Lanza had been followed by speech and occupational therapists, school psychologists, special education instructors; and after turning 14 was under the care of a psychiatrist. Any Orwellian leap from mass murder to specific school instruction should lead to the public school system, not homeschooling.
So why are homeschoolers now being singled out by the Commission?
We need look no further than the panel members themselves. These social and political ideologists wield a lot of influence in educational matters with their behavioral theories designed to change children and society from the ground up.
Here’s a complete list of the expert panel created by Governor Malloy:
- Scott Jackson (Chair): Mayor, Town of Hamden
- Dr. Adrienne Bentman: Director, Adult Psychiatry Residency Program, Hartford Hospital’s Institute of Living
- Ron Chivinski: Teacher, Newtown Middle School
- Robert Ducibella: Founding Principal, DVS Security Consulting and Engineering
- Terry Edelstein: Nonprofit Liaison to Governor Malloy
- Kathleen Flaherty: Staff Attorney, Statewide Legal Services of Connecticut, Inc. / Facilitator and State Trainer, National Alliance for Mental Illness in Connecticut
- Dr. Alice M. Forrester: Executive Director, Clifford W. Beers Guidance Clinic, Inc.
- Dr. Ezra Griffith: Professor Emeritus of and Senior Research Scientist in Psychiatry, Deputy Chair for Diversity and Organizational Ethics, Department of Psychiatry, Yale University
- Patricia Keavney-Maruca: Member, State Board of Education / Former technical high school teacher
- Christopher Lyddy: Program Manager, Trainer & Consultant, Advanced Trauma Solutions, Inc. / Former State Representative, 106th Assembly District of Newtown / Former Program Director, Youth Equipped for Success!, Forensic Health Services, Inc. / Former Clinical Supervisor, Juvenile Risk Reduction Center, Community Solutions, Inc.
- Denis McCarthy: Fire Chief, City of Norwalk
- Barbara O’Connor: Director of Public Safety and Chief of Police, University of Connecticut
- Wayne Sandford: Professor, University of New Haven, Henry C. Lee College of Criminal Justice & Forensic Sciences / Former Deputy Commissioner, Connecticut Department of Emergency Management & Homeland Security / Former Fire Chief, Town of East Haven
- Dr. David J. Schonfeld: Pediatrician-in-Chief, St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children / Chair, Department of Pediatrics, Drexel University College of Medicine / Director, National Center for School Crisis and Bereavement
- Dr. Harold I. Schwartz: Psychiatrist-in-Chief, Hartford Hospital’s Institute of Living / Vice President, Behavioral Health, Hartford Hospital / Professor of Psychiatry, University of Connecticut School of Medicine
- Bernard R. Sullivan: Former Chief of Police, City of Hartford / Former Commissioner, Connecticut Department of Public Safety / Former Chief of Staff to House Speaker Tom Ritter
The Newtown tragedy is just tragic enough to correct what Connecticut social planners perceive to be a faulty link in their chain of cradle-to-grave control of other people’s kids. Homeschoolers threaten to tear the chain apart.
The commissioners’ own words speak for themselves. From City-Journal:
“Given the individuals involved in the tragedy that formed the basis of this commission, we believe that it is very germane,” said commissioner Harold I. Schwartz, psychiatrist-in-chief at Hartford Hospital’s Institute of Living.
“The facts leading up to this incident support the notion [that there is a] risk in not addressing the social and emotional learning needs of [homeschooled] children.”
Schwartz said the commission didn’t have access to Lanza’s school files and medical records, but once procured would support the commission’s proposals.
“We need a holistic approach that will follow children from birth to adulthood, identifying risk factors, reinforcing protective factors, and promoting positive development throughout,” said University of Connecticut law professor Susan R. Schmeiser, who helped draft the recommendation.
Schools, she said, should serve as “a locus of this more integrated system of care” and should adopt “a comprehensive, integrated approach” that is not reactive, but proactive. A reformed school mental health system should do more than just scan the horizon for disorder, she said. It should “prioritize social and emotional learning within the curriculum.”
Commissioner Kathleen Flaherty, a staff attorney for Statewide Legal Service of Connecticut, Inc. and a State Trainer for Connecticut’s National Alliance for Mental Health, wants to make sure kids “get what they need.”
“If they have needs that aren’t being addressed, just because the parent has chosen to remove them from the school setting . . . their needs are still going to be met.”
Commissioner Patricia Keavney-Maruca, a Member of the state board of education, and former member of the American Federation of Teachers Union warned her fellow commissioners homeschoolers could “get their back up” if forced to bring their children in for mental health evaluations.
Homeschoolers are not only a target but they are a loose end in the Commission’s determination to use the deaths of 5-year olds and their teachers to install the State as the ultimate caretaker.
Image from screenshot of Connecticut Commission video.