Paging George Orwell–Texas state representative, Jason Villalba, (R-Dallas) wants to speak with you.
Villalba is proposing a bill that would put teachers in charge of seeing and diagnosing mental illness in your child. Everyone knows that teachers are up front and personal with students every day and are perhaps in a better position to see mental deficits but let’s face it: teachers are not mental health professionals. Teachers go to school to learn how to teach, not the intricacies of mental health.
In HB 985 Villalba proposes to have school officials the authority to force psychological screenings of students that teachers and staff diagnose as having mental health issues.
The way the law would work, if passed, is that if a teacher or school official deems a child might have any type of mental illness, they could force the parents to take the child to a mental health professional within 30 days for a mental health screening, all under the threat of suspension if they don’t comply.
While the child is under suspension they would still receive an education, however it would be at an “alternative school.”
There are two sections of this bill that should grab your attention:
The first part explains how the law would work in legislative legalese:
“…the requirement that the parent or guardian, before the expiration of the 30-day period, to avoid suspension of the student under this section, take the student to the nearest local mental health authority or a physician specializing in psychiatry to receive a mental health screening and a certificate of medical examination for mental illness, as described by Section 533.03522(c), Health and Safety Code, that contains the examining physician’s opinion that the student is not a danger to self or others.”
The second part might be more frightening, if you can imagine that:
“(i) A school counselor or a principal who receives notice
under. Subsection (b) about a student who subsequently is subject to
a notice of intent to suspend under Subsection (g) shall:
(1) provide the student’s name and address and
information concerning the conduct or statement that led to the
notice of intent to suspend to:
(A) the school district police department, if the
school counselor or principal is employed by a school district and
the district has a police department;
(B) the police department of the municipality in
which the school is located or, if the school is not in a
municipality, the sheriff of the county in which the school is
(C) the local mental health authority nearest the
I added the emphasis to that so you would notice that they not only want the child to be diagnosed by the teacher, and validated by a mental health professional; they also want to report it to the police.
Nothing like starting a police record for a misbehaving–and possibly mentally unbalanced–child, right?