New Federal Mental Health Oversight for Children

          What role should federal and state governments play in childhood mental health?  Representative Drew Ferguson teamed up with Representative Michael Burgess, MD, a fellow Republican, to propose the “Behavioral Intervention Guidelines Act of 2019,” directing the Secretary of Health and Human Services to develop best practices for the establishment and use of behavioral intervention teams at elementary and secondary schools and institutions of higher education.1  Childhood mental health assessment authority expanded under the federal bipartisan Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015 (ESSA).  Under ESSA, parental consent for mental health testing for their children is no longer a hard-and-fast requirement.2    Georgia law incentivizes the use of a certain mental health program called Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS), a school-wide program that rewards children when they behave and frowns on punishments.3   Under ESSA, each state is required to submit data to the federal government on school climate, safety, rates of in-school suspensions, expulsions, school-related arrests, referrals to law enforcement, and incidences of violence, including bullying and harassment.4  This data is factored into school ratings.   In response to an increase in very young children being suspended or expelled from school after the implementation of the PBIS mental health program in schools, a state law was passed that requires behavioral and academic assessments be done on students in pre-school through third grade before schools would be allowed to suspend or expel students for more than 5 days in any given school year, unless the child possesses a weapon, illegal drugs, or other dangerous instrument.5    Additionally, Georgia’s Office of School Safety and Climate director Garry McGiboney expanded school nursing services to include mental health assessments and mental health counseling.6   


With all the activity and new governmental authority and funding surrounding mental health issues for children, people want to know if any of the mental health initiatives are effective.  According to psychologist John Rosemond and Bose Ravenel, MD, in The Diseasing of America’s Children, the psychological-psychiatric-pharmaceutical industry teamed up to manufacture diseases that do not exist.  Rosemond contends that oppositional defiant disorder (ODD), early onset bipolar disorder (EOBD), and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are fiction.  According to Rosemond, drugs used to “treat” childhood behavior disorders are based on theories that no researcher has ever established as true.  That is why the pharmaceuticals do not reliably outperform placebos in clinical trials.  Once upon a time both authors recommended or prescribed ADHD medication, believing they were helping.  Now they are appalled by the “damage being done to America’s children, families, and schools by professionals who seem to have mislaid their objectivity and are willingly accepting as fact what is not scientifically verifiable.”7 Other insiders agree, Dr. Lawrence LeShan, when he was president-elect of the American Association for Humanistic Psychology, said, “Psychotherapy may be known in the future as the greatest hoax of the twentieth century.”8   


With all the uncertainty surrounding childhood mental health diagnosis and treatment, what role should the federal government play in setting mental health standards and testing for children in schools?  When the U.S. Constitution was written, the federal government was given no authority over mental health or the education of children.  According to the 10th Amendment, the powers not delegated to the U.S. by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states, respectively, or to the people.  In the Judeo-Christian tradition, these matters were addressed in the family in cooperation with the churches and synagogues. 


Representative Drew Ferguson will be available to answer questions about the “Behavioral Intervention Guidelines Act of 2019” at the Fayette County Event Center Republican breakfast on Saturday, August 3, 2019 beginning at 9:00am.       


Links to primary source documents:

(1) Text of the Bill: The Secretary of Health and Human Services will develop best practices for behavioral intervention teams in schools.
A bill co-Sponsored by Drew Ferguson from Georgia's 3rd district and Congressman Burgess, an MD from Texas advocates for federal recommendations for behavioral health intervention and treatment in schools, referred to the committee on energy and commerce.
The BIG Act.pdf
Adobe Acrobat Document 44.1 KB

Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015

(2) and (4) According to Section 4001 ESSA, under "parental consent" prior written parental consent for any mental health assessment of a child under 18 years of age is required unless:  1.  in an emergency where it is necessary to protect the immediate health and safety of the child, other children, or entity personnel or   2.  other instances where parental consent is sought but cannot be reasonably obtained as determined by the State or LEA including the case of a child whose parent has not responded to the notice or a child who is at least 14 years of age and is an unaccompanied youth.  

(3) Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports Required for Schools with Low Climate Ratings
Mental Health programs prescribed by the Georgia Legislature.
PBIS required SB 164 2015.pdf
Adobe Acrobat Document 10.6 KB
(5) HB 740 by Randy Nix (R), Katie Dempsey (R), Joyce Chandler (R), and 3 Democrats- No more than 5 days of suspension allowed per school year without federal test for "academic and behavioral needs"
Pre-School through 3rd grade students cannot be suspended or expelled for more than 5 days in any given school year unless they have gone through the federal response to intervention program that addresses academic and behavioral needs through a tiered system. The only R's voting against this were Steve Tarvin, William Ligon, Jack Hill, Butch Miller, Steve Gooch, and Josh McKoon. The only D's voting against were Sandra Scott and Park Cannon.
HB 740 Mental Health prior to expulsion.
Adobe Acrobat Document 12.0 KB
(6) Mental Health Services and Counseling to Treat Substance Abuse Through School Nurses in Georgia
Garry McGiboney, Ph.D.
Deputy Superintendent - Office of School Safety and Climate
Georgia Department of Education
Expanded Nursing Services- CISS Program.
Adobe Acrobat Document 97.8 KB

John Rosemond on childhood mental illness

(7) Click here to read Rosemond's article related to the diseasing of America's children:

ADHD Does Not Exist

(8) The Berean Call:  Psychology and Psychotherapy (part 2) link:

The Berean Call:  Psychology and Psychotherapy (part 1)