Guest Post: A Connecticut Family’s Battle Against The State

This past Thursday, I became aware of a very troubling bill being proposed in the state of Connecticut, which prompted me to write the post: Are “Mandatory Mental Health Assessments” for Children Coming to Connecticut?  Upon reading it, a money manager in Connecticut who I have gotten to know over the years wrote me an email.  I was so impressed by his passion and writing skills I asked him to compose a “Guest Post” for the site; something I rarely do.  What follows are the impassioned words of a father, husband and concerned citizen.  Enjoy.

Soon after my wife and I got married in 2008, a pregnancy prompted family members to ask us about our plans for educating our kids.  The official response was one of uncertainty, but between the two of us we knew that we preferred homeschooling.   

I suspect all parents have a line in the sand when it comes to public schools.  The line gets crossed when the safety level, education quality, peer influences, or espoused morals and values of the local government school deteriorate to so base a level, that as parents you realize that sending your kids there would be tantamount to dereliction of duty, gross negligence, wholesale surrender, etc. 

The line might be located in different places for different parents depending on their own values and the conviction with which their values are held, but all parents have a line.  Both parents work?  Can’t afford private school?   Not qualified for homeschooling?  It doesn’t matter, if the school down the road crossed the line you’d pull your kid out and you’d find a way to make it work.  If you haven’t pulled your kid out yet, it just mean that the local school hasn’t crossed the line. 

We live in CT and I am homeschooling my three boys because upon surveying the options, we decided to opt-out out of 10,000 “mandatory” things that get done to kids at government schools in exchange for a “free” education.  Do it ourselves, we thought.  If we threw a fraction of the money at lessons and tutors that other families throw at tuition, we’d have a fighting chance of doing an even better job than the private school alternative.  And best of all, we would enjoy the liberty of doing it our way, watching our kids walk in the way of goodness and excellence, without being exasperated as we beat back all the menacing influences that foist themselves upon kids at government schools.  In short, we would opt-out.  Not for the sake of rebelling, but for the sake of still standing a chance at getting a taste of the pursuit of happiness that our present vestiges of liberty still permit. 

No more.  If CT gets their way, and Bill 374 becomes law, my family’s private pursuit of happiness will be allowed only if it wins the approval or disapproval of the State’s mental health inspection teams. 

The justification of Bill 374 is innocent enough; pass this bill to allow the State to perform mental health evaluations on adolescents, so that the State can prevent another Sandy Hook tragedy by intervening in the lives of troubled adolescents before it’s too late.  In reality, this bill lays the groundwork for much more. 

First, note that Bill 374 does not exempt home-schooled children; in fact, it singles them out and specifically requires them too to get periodic evaluations and inspections.  Parental consent is not determined to be relevant. 

Second, this bill will require the State to measure and record your child’s level of compliance with State-sanctioned norms of behavior, thereby producing a body of evidence for intervention should non-compliance be found.  For a glimpse of the present norms of behavior that the State finds acceptable, glance towards the very public schools from which you opted-out.  It’s not comforting. 

Third, these mental-health standards will evolve in ways that you cannot control, such that we have no assurance that just because present mental health guidelines are unobjectionable (an assumption with which I do not agree, by the way), the same cannot be said for all possible future mental health guidelines.   

Fourth, this bill will meaningfully prevent the very pursuit of happiness toward which homeschooling families strive.  In a free society, parents teach their kids in the ways of truth, goodness, and beauty, and instill those things which will lead their children toward noble ends.  In a world with Bill 374 on the books, any sane parent will be filled with gloom as they will be forced to speak and act with a degree of surgical precision, so as to make sure that when the dreaded state mental-health evaluations arrive, their kids won’t be tricked into revealing evidence of a mentally-unhealthy home environment out of conformity with the best-practices of The State. 

Presently homeschoolers watch from afar the gradual erosion of liberty and deletion of parental rights in the public schools.  While it is tragic, they are mildly comforted knowing that they did the responsible thing and got their kids off the sinking ship a long time ago.  If Bill 374 passes no opt-out will be permitted.  The doctors of the State will periodically probe nearly every child-bearing household at unspecified levels of depth, regardless of consent.  Readers should ask themselves: in what way could a home-schooled family properly pursue happiness in a world with Bill 374 on the books? 

While nearly every child-bearing household will be subject to the probe, the bill did grant an exemption: if you go to a costly private school, the doctors may not probe. 

To support homeschooling families in their effort to kill bill 374, please call or email as many members of the Public Health Committee as possible with this message or a similar message in your own words:

“Please vote against Proposed Bill 374, which would require behavioral health assessments for home-schooled children ages 12, 14, and 17 without any indication that they were needed. These comprehensive, invasive evaluations would constitute an unwarranted invasion of family privacy.”

Sen. Terry B. Gerratana, Chair (D-06)
Email at www.senatedems.ct.gov/Gerratana-mailform.php
1-800-842-1420

Rep. Susan M. Johnson, Chair (D-049)
Email at [email protected]
1-800-842-8267

Sen. Gayle S. Slossberg, Vice Chair (D-14)
Email at www.senatedems.ct.gov/Slossberg-mailform.php
1-800-842-1420

Rep. Philip J. Miller, Vice Chair (D-036)
Email at [email protected]
1-800-842-8267

Sen. Jason C. Welch, Ranking Member (R-31)
Email at http://ctsenaterepublicans.com/contact-welch/
1-800-842-1421

Rep. Prasad Srinivasan, Ranking Member (R-031)
Email at http://cthousegop.com/contact-prasad-srinivasan/
1-800-842-1423

Rep. David Alexander (D-058)
Email at [email protected] 
1-800-842-8267

Rep. David Arconti (D-109)
Email at [email protected]
1-800-842-8267

Sen. Danté J.C. Bartolomeo (D-13)
Email at www.senatedems.ct.gov/Bartolomeo-mailform.php
1-800-842-1420

Rep. Whit Betts (R-078)
Email at http://cthousegop.com/contact-whit-betts/
1-800-842-1423

Rep. Michelle L. Cook (D-065)
Email at [email protected]
1-800-842-8267

Rep. Theresa W. Conroy (D-105)
Email at [email protected]
1-800-842-8267

Rep. Christopher Davis (R-057)
Email at http://cthousegop.com/contact-christopher-davis/
1-800-842-1423

Rep. Mike Demicco (D-021)
Email at [email protected]
1-800-842-8267

Rep. DebraLee Hovey (R-112)
Email at http://cthousegop.com/contact-debralee-hovey/
1-800-842-1423

Sen. Robert J. Kane (R-32)
Email at http://ctsenaterepublicans.com/contact-kane/
1-800-842-1421

Rep. Themis Klarides (R-114)
Email at http://cthousegop.com/contact-themis/
1-800-842-1423

Rep. James Maroney (D-119)
Email at [email protected]
1-800-842-8267

Sen. Anthony J. Musto (D-22)
Email at http://www.senatedems.ct.gov/Musto-mailform.php
1-800-842-1420

Rep. Jason Perillo (R-113)
Email at http://cthousegop.com/contact-jason-perillo/
1-800-842-1423

Rep. Emmett D. Riley (D-046)
Email at [email protected]
1-800-842-8267

Rep. Kevin Ryan (D-139)
Email at [email protected]
1-800-842-8267

Rep. Peggy Sayers (D-060)
Email at [email protected]
1-800-842-8267

Rep. David A. Scribner (R-107)
Email at http://cthousegop.com/contact-david-scribner/
1-800-842-1423

Rep. Peter A. Tercyak (D-026)
Email here [email protected]
1-800-842-8267

Rep. Patricia M. Widlitz (D-098)
Email at [email protected]
1-800-842-8267

Rep. Melissa H. Ziobron (R-034)
Email at http://cthousegop.com/contact-melissa/
1-800-842-1423

Rep. David Zoni (D-081)
Email at www.housedems.ct.gov/Zoni/
1-800-842-8267

10 thoughts on “Guest Post: A Connecticut Family’s Battle Against The State

  1. this reminds me: All Parents should watch the movie “Gattaca” …
    and this quote from a ZH reader yesterday under the “illusion economy” thread: Also Zbigniew Brzezinski (CFR member), the national security advisor under President Carter, wrote in his book ‘Between Two Ages: America’s Role in the Technocratic Era’ (1971). He states “In the technetronic society the trend seems to be toward effectively exploiting the latest communication techniques to manipulate emotions and control reason. Human beings become increasingly manipulated and malleable…The technetronic era involves the gradual appearance of a more controlled society. Such a society would be dominated by an elite, unrestrained by traditional values. Soon it will be possible to assert almost continuous surveillance over every citizen and maintain up-to-date complete files containing even the most personal information about the citizen. These files will be subject to instantaneous retrieval by the authorities.” – That time is now folks. Tell all your friends to drop Farcebook like the Plague.

  2. Refuse to comply. Don’t let them on your property.

    You have to love how these statists operate! CT (like 47 other states) has adopted Common Core, which is a method of complete brainwashing by the government school. On top of that, government school will diagnose your child with ADHD at the drop of a hat and then recommend drugging.

    No parent in his or her right mind would send their child to government school. Parents that can not afford a good private school or don’t feel they can homeschool are going to have to start forming co-ops with other like minded parents.

    • You can’t say no to these people. CT is Soviet russia in 1929: collectivized and terrorized. They were going to arrest anyone driving during a snow storm, for heaven’s sake. The only option is to flee this pit of evil and try to form bastions of sanity in other places more tolerant of the basic human spirit.

      • You CAN say NO. You can amass many thousands of parents who are rightly outraged at this level of intrusion. This law is NOT meant to prevent future tragedy; I can assure you of this. Furthermore, those kids who have been involved in these types of crimes were generally READILY IDENTIFIABLE for years prior to committing these types of crimes. Teachers know EXACTLY which children fit the category and WHY!
        You need to REVOLT in your state. Your state is being used as THE TESTING GROUND for TOTAL STATE CONTROL and INTRUSION INTO FAMILY LIFE.
        You MUST STOP it NOW!
        I am a health care provider and have worked for government for decades. I clearly see what is being played out here. I have attended many meetings and planning sessions in my day that, like this proposed law, intend to CONTROL the target audience while presenting the intent as something benign and palatable.
        God help you people in CT. You have a deeply entrenched criminal element in your state government and you need to put a stop to it now. If you allow them to use Sandy Hook for this, as well as gun laws, you have greased your slippery slope in such a manner that you will never be able to climb out of this hole.
        All the fools in CT who have allowed this administration to set up, and then use Sandy Hook for the purpose of leading this nation into lockdown, should have their dumb asses kicked from here to eternity. For GOD sake, the plan for your school massacre was laid out YEARS before it took place. This is fully DOCUMENTED.
        You need to become a one man, one family, truth and awakening brigade for your state. You are NOT alone. There are many like you who are beginning to see what is happening.
        DO SOMETHING, NOW, LOUD, DEMANDING!
        Good luck. I sincerely mean good luck. I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers.
        Perhaps you might wish to leave the state if you are not able to stop this law. I am trained extensively in mental health also. I can tell that you do not want to allow this to happen.

  3. Clearly, this bill crosses the line. However, some of the comments below here are off-target. Let me give you my short bio first-
    I graduated from Northwestern University with a masters degree in learning disabilities, and another masters degree in speech/language pathology. I have a third masters degree in school administration- I currently work in public schools.

    Common core standards are not government brainwashing. Common core are actually pretty low standards to other countries. Do I think that the federal government will really improve education by giving a top down mandate? If No Child Left Behind is any indicator, no. However, bureacrats in education like to feel important, and I don’t see any real harm in having basic national skills competencies.

    Yes, ADHD is diagnosed more than it used to be. I am not one to jump in the drug them up bandwagon, but if you’d actually see kids with ADHD in schools, you may feel differently. After working with many many ADHD kids for 15 years, I’ve seen those who have received drugs, and those who have opted out. Knowing all that I do about the negative side effects, if I had a child with moderate-severe ADHD, I would still choose to medicate.

    The question to me is how to prevent more kids from getting ADHD. FOr every 10 minutes spent watching TV/playing video games before age 3, there is a 10% higher chance your child will develop ADHD. Typical television shows change visual stimuli every 30 seconds, even Sesame Street. This literally prunes the brain to form an open-attention neuronal network. (By contrast, an activity like sustained book reading wires the brain for focused attention.) Once a child comes to school, it is an uphill battle to re-wire the brain to form closed attention. The upside of this is that ADHD kids have a wider range of connections, often making them more creative. The downside is that they often can’t focus long enough to learn basic skills. It is a balance trying to find a place of optimum learning in all areas, and some doctors are more skilled at finding the right mix. A good behavioral therapist can also do wonders.

    Not everything is a government conspiracy. I think that many times, educators are trying to do the best they can with the limited resources that they have. It is a delicate balance between individual liberty and group safety/learning. I agree that this new law takes away too much liberty with no real benefit to group safety.

    Now the cause of autism…. Well that is a different story.

  4. @ Jen – All good points but your response still skirts the issue, which is: How does the state acquire the authority to override parental discretion about what is proper education or appropriate environment? In lieu of direct evidence of malfeasance in homeschooling, why should some “education professional’s” delusions of grandeur trump a parent’s genuine desire to use a different standard?

    Educators may be ” trying to do the best they can” but why should THEIR judgement trump that of a parent who has proven their bona fides by even undertaking the responsibility of home schooling?

    Too much of what I read today concerning overbearing government intrusion smacks of this “good people doing a tough job” meme. But that doesn’t go very far in finding a good reason to run over parental rights in favor of a faceless bureaucracy filled with “good people.” Those are often the kind I least want to answer to.

    • Paul- I think you may have mis-read what I wrote. I agree that the state shouldn’t mandate health assessments. I do think that this bill is wrong. I also do not think the state should mandate vaccinations to attend school.

      However, I disagree with the commenters that said that core standards or ADHD treatment is some sort of government brainwashing I agree that parents have rights. Parents should be allowed to home school their own children. However, for those that do choose to put their children in public schools, the other children in the class also have rights, so there are rules.

      With all this being said, I homeschooled my own kids through kindergarten, and now send my kids to private schools.

  5. Toni Harp and Toni Walker are attempting to build an army of zombie mass murderers. Any child diagnosed as being unbalanced will automatically be drugged by state directive. Since the state mental health boards are in the pay of Pfizer and other big pharma, the only thing these cronies know how to do is to pop the pills and draw the needle. Harp and Walkers’ bill will ensure that unbalanced teens who play violent video games all day long — yet are nonviolent and subdued and can tell the difference between reality and fantasy when the computer powers down — will be forcibly drugged, which will collapse their moral sensibilities, and transform them into raving school-massacring zombies.

  6. Pingback: Brainwashing is the job of parents, not schools

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