Stop TeenScreen's Unscientific and Experimental "Mental Health Screening" of American School Children

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Whereas children as young as 9, who previously had not thought of the concept of suicide, are being asked invasive and leading questions by TeenScreen such as: Have you tried to kill yourself in the last year? Are you still thinking of killing yourself? Have you thought seriously about killing yourself? Have you often thought about killing yourself? Have you ever tried to kill yourself?" and kids are being lured into doing the suicide survey by TeenScreen's offers of free movie passes, food coupons, pizza parties and $50 mall gift certificates;

Whereas the goal of TeenScreen leaders is to screen every American child before they graduate from high school;

Whereas TeenScreen is based on the controversial and unscientific Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, written by psychiatrists with financial ties to drug companies and children screened by TeenScreen are not given valid medical testing such as brain scans, blood test, urine tests, X-Rays or any other valid medical tests to detect evidence of any possible physical abnormality that may be contributing to certain behavior;

Whereas, according to TeenScreen psychiatrist David Shaffer, mental disorders in the DSM were developed by psychiatrists "shouting out their opinions from all sides of the room and whoever shouted loudest tended to be heard. My own impression, coming straight from England, was it was more like a tobacco auction than a sort of conference." and according to Shaffer, TeenScreen "... does identify a whole bunch of kids who arent really suicidal, so you get a lot of false-positives. And that means if youre running a large program at a school, youre going to cripple the program because youre going to have too many kids you have to do something about";

Whereas TeenScreen has screened children across the nation without written parental consent in violation of federal law and state laws and has screened children across the nation without fully informed consent and did not warn parents that after taking the TeenScreen suicide survey, certain children have been and will be labeled with false mental disorders, based upon the unscientific DSM and the "chemical imbalance of the brain" theory, which relies solely upon observation and for which no scientific or medical test exists;

Whereas a federal lawsuit has been filed against a school and psychiatric facility by the Rutherford Institute on behalf of parents who did not give permission for their child to be subjected to the TeenScreen suicide survey which resulted in a false diagnosis of a mental disorder;

Whereas an epidemic already exists with children using psychiatric drugs and will further skyrocket if children are referred to psychiatrists after screening. According to a survey of recently trained child psychiatrists it was found that treatment for 9 out of 10 children consisted of prescription drugs. (Journal of the American Academy of Child Adolescent Psychiatry 2002);

Whereas TeenScreen's leaders and advisory board members have ties to pharmaceutical companies and front groups for pharmaceutical companies;

Whereas antipsychotic drugs are not approved by the Food and Drug Administration for children; the FDA's "black box warning" states antidepressants increase the risk of suicidal thinking and behavior in children and adolescents with psychiatric disorders; and drug safety experts have recommended additional "black box" warnings be placed on ADHD drugs: for the increased risk of stroke and heart attack;

Whereas potential recruits are ineligible for military service if they have taken Ritalin and other stimulants to treat the unscientific "disorder" called ADHD in the previous year;

Whereas most states have laws restricting the purchase of firearms based on an adjudication of mental illnesses or disorders, and mass screening of all American children for mental disorders will increase the number of persons labeled with a mental disorder, directly infringing upon the citizenry's right to keep and bear arms as guaranteed by the 2nd amendment;

Whereas TeenScreen only partners with and seeks to immediately refer students to "mental illness" practitioners and does not refer students to medical disciplines that could test for underlying health problems such as allergies, nutrition, toxicities and physical illnesses;

Whereas child suicides are very rare and have been on a decline for years; and even according to former TeenScreen director Rob Caruano, "suicides are so rare that you'd have to screen the whole country to see a difference in mortality between screened and unscreened students.";

Whereas many and various groups, individuals and legislators across a spectrum of political, religious, scientific and common sense views are opposed to screening for mental disorders in schools;

Whereas TeenScreen is very secretive about their suicide survey and refuses to allow parents to obtain a copy and is also very secretive about which schools they've convinced to use their suicide survey;

Whereas the United States Preventive Services Task Force reported in May of 2004:
There is no evidence that screening for suicide risk reduces suicide attempts or mortality,
There is limited evidence on the accuracy of screening tools to identify suicide risk,
There is insufficient evidence that treatment of those at high risk reduces suicide attempts or mortality;

Whereas Ned Calonge, the chairman of the United States Preventive Services Task Force, who is also the chief medical officer for the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, was quoted in the June 16, 2006 Washington Post: "the panel would reach the same conclusion today... Whether or not we like to admit it, there are no interventions that have no harms... There is weak evidence that screening can distinguish people who will commit suicide from those who will not... And screening inevitably leads to treating some people who do not need it. Such interventions have consequences beyond side effects from drugs or other treatments... Unnecessary care drives up the cost of insurance, causing some people to lose coverage altogether.";

Whereas TeenScreen is an intrusion into the rearing of children and false psychiatric labels could embarrass students and cause turmoil at home;

Whereas many school districts have reservations about using TeenScreen because of liability and risk issues;

Whereas legislators in various states are proposing legislation to stop state and federal funding for screening of mental disorders in schools;

Whereas schools should be in the business of educating our children instead of probing each for unscientific mental disorders;

We, therefore, petition school board members and state and federal legislators to stop using the TeenScreen suicide survey and to adopt firm policy that will prevent the implementation of TeenScreen in the future.

27164 Signatures

  • Michael A
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  • Susan R
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  • Kelly O
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  • Madison L
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  • Craig E
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  • Leonard N
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  • Mke C
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    • Stop!
  • Marlin A
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    • TeenScreen - stay away from our kids.
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  • Wendy W
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  • Richard C
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  • Paul B
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  • James C. D
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    • Stop this nonsense now!
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    • 84118-2675
  • Lauren DeWitt, R
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  • David L
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  • James B
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  • Michael A R
    • Comments
    • Co Founder Parents Against TeenScreen
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  • Allen J
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    • Teen Screen is a nefarious effort to recruit our children into the quagmire of biological psychiatry. The program employs dubious screening tools administered by non-professionals. It is based on misleading science and diagnostic criteria that would be downright laughable if the stakes were not so high. Teen Screen is peopled with a cast of Pharma-related characters and has proven to land a high portion of its victims on dangerous, mind altering drugs. Parents of America PLEASE!!! Protect your children.
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  • Judy A
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    • TeenScreen , Signs of Suicide, WestEd Healthy Kids, and other screening programs are merely marketing tools of the pharmaceutical industry . They should never be funded with taxpayer money and full disclosure of these programs should be made available to each and every parent who is approached for consent for their child's participation
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  • Theresa McGrath, Executive Director, Family Alliance for Children in Education, C
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    • Children in school are a vulnerable group which is clearly being used as a Captive Audience to benefit who? The facts are clear, when 90\% of all children who seek psychiatric attention wind up on psychotropic drugs. Why is this? And why aren't any other alternatives provided first and foremost for even these children. These screening programs are questionably illegal in that they clearly violate the Child Find Laws, IDEA and 504 laws, where parents are at least given an opportunity to review any concerns to be able to make an informed consent and decision to pursue appropriate and professional educational implementations.
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  • Evelyn P
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    • TeenScreen is the most evil and harmful drug marketing scheme in existence in the US. Allowing this pharma-backed group to invade the public school system to recruit new drug customers by convincing healthy kids with normal adolencent thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that they are mentally ill for the sake of drug company profits is a sick and preverted form of child abuse and should be a jailable offense.
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  • Sheila M
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    • Children Are The Future, Don't Drug Them
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  • Mary M
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  • Patricia Weathers-Ablechild.org P
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    • Ablechild.org urges all parents to sign this petition and support what should be a parent's basic right to raise their children healthy and drug free. Our children's safety is at risk if we do not take action against Teenscreen and its flagrant disregard of parental rights.
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  • Vince B
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  • Anne O
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  • jane m
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  • Stefan P. Kruszewski, M
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    • The identification of severe, biologically-based, mental disorders is an important issueespecially when they interfere with the academic and neurodevelopmental skills of our youngest citizens. However, the use of a subjective and poorly validated screening tool does not accomplish that goal. When manifest psychiatric problems are recognized by parents or schools, a referral should be made to an experienced clinician (egs, psychiatrist, clinical psychologist, psychiatric nurse practitioner and/or neurologist) who works in consultation with parents and caregivers. This optimizes triage and treatment and avoids unnecessary mislabeling and stigma while protecting the individual liberties of those individuals who are afflicted with serious problems. ---Stefan P. Kruszewski, MD Psychiatrist/Addictionologist; Harrisburg, Pennsylvania USA
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  • Lawrence A. Plumlee, M
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  • Janet Sisk juvenilejustice f
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    • The juvenile justice Foundation supports this petition to stop Teenscreen,due to uneccessary and improper drug treatments many of our children are comitting suicide/homicides due to adverse reactions and their lives are being destroyed or thrown away tried as adults. Parents should have the right to determine their childs medical needs and recieve the proper treatment if any to a child that truly needs assistance.
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  • Steve M
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  • Eileen M
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    • Dr. Shaffer is from Columbia University and Columbia also did the study for the FDA hearing in September 2004 on drug-induced suicidality in children taking SSRIs. This study showed that children taking SSRIs for any reason (not only for symptoms of depression) had twice the rate of suicidal thoughts and behaviors as the children taking the palcebo. Perhaps Dr. Shaffer needs to read his colleagues' report.