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Grief Counselors Or S.1390: What Really Helps Kids?
February 18, 2004
by Tony Zizza

Why is it every time after something "tragic" happens to young people during the school year, the very first thing the media reports is that grief counselors will be waiting for students in the morning?

I mean, tragedy is the "to be expected" when kids are driving too fast, shooting each other dead, popping pills. Hating life. Also, when we live in a post 9/11 world. What students would benefit from is a refresher course in personal responsibility. Not to mention, a psychiatric drug free education.

Now, how come every time political reform is started to scale back the legal numbing of our children with psychiatric drugs, diversion tactics are initiated against those raising a ruckus? Seems like advocating for educational reform as it pertains to our children's mental health is the surest way to be called a Scientologist. Or uncompassionate. Or the latest: too hard on children.

I mean, where is all this money coming from for grief counselors in our schools? Why does the School Psychologist Association, the American Psychological Association and the American Psychiatric Association so vehemently oppose political reform like the Child Medication Safety Act of 2003, introduced in the Senate as S.1390? I can only surmise these unions, pardon me, "professional" associations, think grief counselors and their counseling actually advances children's mental health.

Here's the rub.

Grief counselors are said to be an asset because they make children feel safe. Life is not safe or it would be incredibly boring. The National Education Association has created at taxpayer expense a "Crisis Communication Guide and Toolkit." Great. Just super. How about enforcing basic standards so high school students don't have to take remedial courses - in college? So that they're not more afraid of taking the SAT test than they are of - dying?

It is a contradiction in terms to think children through grief counselors can feel protected and reassured that they're safe. Grief counseling is a healthy cash cow. You can get national certification in grief counseling. What a country! The American Academy of Grief Counselors assure us they can "bring in" the grief counselors. Thank you. And thank goodness parents can now turn to "pediatric" grief counselors.

We can stop the madness. And we must. Our children are depending on us.

S.1390 as written and if signed into law by the Senate, would legally prohibit school personnel from requiring that a child take any psychotropic drug under the Controlled Substances Act as a condition of attending school or receiving school services. Parents and children would certainly benefit knowing this bill would require each state to establish policies and procedures to uphold a seemingly psychiatric drug free education.

How could one possibly see a problem in this? The very fact this kind of political reform is started tells you we live in strange times. Students used to be judged on their ideas, accomplishments and sense of cooperation. Nowadays, students are more or less judged on which mental disorder label they fall under so as to be prescribed drugs to somehow make them feel safe and part of a diverse community.

So, what gives?

This is what I really want to know. Grief counselors or S.1390? What really helps kids? While kids are undoubtedly impressionable, we do them no favors by coddling them or denying them needed political reforms in the arena of education and mental health.

If you foolishly believe all children are at risk and drugging children is a proven scientific/social solution to the majority of young minds, you'll probably believe children are lucky to have grief counselors around 24/7.

If you correctly see children and their parents need not only a long break from professional psychobabble, but the protection and justice a bill like S.1390 provides, you'll probably want to kick the grief counselors out - and bring sanity and true safety - back into our schools.

Let's really help our kids, shall we?

Zizza serves as Vice President/Georgia for the non-profit organization, Parents For Label and Drug Free Education. Email comments to him at: tz777@yahoo.com

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