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Surprise investigations aimed at homeschoolers


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Feb. 7, 2013

Connecticut cites need for 'confidential behavioral health assessment'

In what critics are seeing as an ultimate power grab, state officials in Connecticut are pushing forward a bill to require state investigations of children like never before – calling for a “confidential behavioral health assessment” of every public school student in grades 6, 8, 10 and 12, and every homeschool student at ages 12, 14 and 17.

The proposed Bill 374 is being described as the ultimate home invasion.

“It’s outrageous that state officials could come into private homes and potentially remove children if they are assessed as a threat as a result of the investigation,” Home School Legal Defense Association Senior Counsel Dee Black told WND in an interview.

“Regardless of what state officials claim, I don’t believe the results [of the investigations] will be held confidential.”

Black, who provides legal assistance and advice for HSLDA members in what is ironically nicknamed the “Constitution State,” sees this proposed measure as anything but constitutional.

And when asked if the psychological tests given by the social services hands the state too much unchecked power – enabling government officials to seize and tag children as mentally unfit or maladjusted – Black answered definitively.

“No question about it,” asserted the Memphis State University School of Law graduate. “I don’t think people who live in a free society should be forced to give into mental evaluations of their children.”

He contends such intrusions are both unwarranted and unconscionable.

“Proposed Bill 374 would essentially authorize the state to conduct regular social services investigations of homeschooling families without any basis to do so,” asserts Black, who earned a Master of Laws degree at Georgetown University Law Center. “This outrageous legislative proposal must be stopped in its tracks before it gains any momentum.”

The key motivation behind such a bill including homeschoolers?

“The alleged [Sandy Hook] shooter was allegedly homeschooled for a while, but I’m not sure if it could have anything to do with it,” said Black, who has educated all four of his children at home with his wife. “The bill only covers homeschool and public school students – not conventional private school students. The heightened sensitivity in Connecticut about safety in schools could certainly be a factor [behind the bill] … trying to identify threats before they become a tragedy.”

And just what takes place during these in investigations?

“According to the Connecticut Behavioral Health Partnership, a state organization made up of the Department of Children and Families, Department of Social Services, Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, and others, a behavioral health assessment is quite comprehensive and invasive,” reports Black, who’s been practicing law for 36 years.

“It includes ‘a review of physical and mental health, intelligence, school performance, employment, level of function in different domains including family situation, and behavior in the community.’”

Putting things into perspective, Black warns that parents could see social services following their children around their neighborhoods, observing them interacting at home with their families, showing up at their work, inspecting their classroom performance, administering IQ tests, psychologically analyzing them and physically examining their bodies.

When would students be subjected to all of this?

“Proposed Bill 374, filed in the Connecticut General Assembly, would require all homeschooled children ages 12, 14, and 17 to undergo a behavioral health assessment,” said Black, who has served with HSLDA as senior counsel for nearly two decades. “These assessments would be conducted by an unspecified health care provider and would be conducted even though there was no indication whatsoever that these children had a behavioral problem.”

And Black warns that the results might not be as private as the state claims.

“The bill states that the results of the assessments are to be disclosed only to the child’s parent or guardian, but that the health care provider must submit a form to the State Board of Education verifying that the child has received the assessment,” he said.

He urges homeschoolers and any Americans concerned about the violation of children’s constitutional rights to act now.

“Immediately contact members of the committee and express … opposition to this unwarranted invasion of family privacy,” Black said. “This legislation is sponsored by Sen. Toni Nathaniel Harp (10th Dist.) and Rep. Toni E. Walker (93rd Dist.), [and] the bill is presently in the Public Health Committee.”