Serious Concerns Emerge in Debate over “Red Flag Laws”

Red flag laws or “Extreme Risk Protection Orders” have become an intensive topic of discussion and debate after the 2018 Parkland, Fla., shooting as well as the more recent shootings in Dayton, Ohio, and El Paso Texas. These laws have been described as setting up a process that allows family members or law enforcement to ask a judge for an order that allows temporary confiscation of firearms if a person is deemed to be a threat to themselves or others. According to the website “Guns & America” — a collaborative effort of ten different public media outlets — there are

Multiple States Seek to Expand Invasive Mental Health Screening in Schools

In the wake of multiple horrific school shootings — particularly the Parkland, Fla., massacre where 17 people were murdered by a student long-known to have mental issues — states all over the nation have been moving to expand mental health screening, treatment, and data collection. The two most prominent states are Florida and Texas, but Georgia and other states are also joining this dangerous craze. The Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Safety Act (extensively discussed in this space) expanded mental screening of students by unqualified, minimally trained teachers and other school personnel despite admissions by psychiatric physicians trained for years

Dangerously Flawed “TeenScreen” Mental Health Program Returning to Schools

As the push for more school-based mental health intervention increases after recent high profile school shootings, one particularly controversial and inaccurate mental health screening instrument, “TeenScreen”, is starting to make a comeback. Developed by Dr. David Schaffer and other psychiatrists at Columbia University, TeenScreen is a 14-question computerized survey that was heavily used in as many as 40 states in the early 2000s. However, the vague and subjective questions used by Teen Screen yielded an astronomical false-positive rate of 84 percent, as admitted by Dr. Schaffer: The CSS’s positive predictive value of 16% (determined by a weighted prevalence of DISC

Violent Attack in Fla. School Shows Danger of Obama-Era Discipline Policy

Andrew Pollack — father of Meadow Pollack, one of the seventeen students and staff murdered in the Parkland shooting last February — recently posted a two-part video of a fight at Monarch High School in Broward County, Florida: Here is part 1 of the brutal fight at @browardschools. The Promise program implemented by Obama & supported by @RobertwRuncie has allowed kids to go undetected/unpunished in the school system. These diversionary programs led to the murder of my daughter and 16 other kids. pic.twitter.com/3BlbFTYTD0 — Andrew Pollack (@AndrewPollackFL) November 14, 2018 Broward schools @RobertwRuncie allowed this girl to get a civil

New Report on Parkland School Shooting Leaves Many Questions Unanswered

A heavily redacted report was released in recent days reviewing the Broward County Public Schools’ (BCPS) handling of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooter under federal and state special education law. Although the report does shed some light on the events which led to the killing of 17 people this past February, it raises many more questions than it answers. An Updated Timeline Before asking some of those important questions, however, here is some background and a brief timeline review. The pertinent federal law is the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), under which the shooter was educated almost all

Students’ Privacy Under Serious Threat in Era of School Shootings

As the number of school shootings increase, social media and mental health data are becoming very hot commodities. The federal School Safety Commission talked about how data sharing can be improved to prevent school violence at both of its July 11th and July 26th meetings. The trend in both meetings was to see the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) as creating a barrier to sharing information that could have prevented tragedies like the Parkland shooting. For example, as described in Education Week coverage of the July 26th meeting: Clarence Cox III, the president of the National Organization of

Screen and Medicate More Students? School Safety Commission Gets Wrong Message

If the White House School Safety Commission is to make wise and helpful recommendations to protect school children, it needs to have good information. Sadly, most of the witnesses chosen to discuss the mental health aspects of this complex problem at a commission meeting earlier this month only provided limited and potentially dangerous recommendations: namely, the increased mental screening of school children and the increased use of psychotropic drugs in children — despite their connection to school violence. Dr. Gabrielle Carlson from the State University of New York staunchly defended psychiatric medications, giving several cases where she thought they had been successful,

“Stunning” Report: Parkland Superintendent Misled Public About Shooter’s Past

Despite statements to the contrary by Broward County, Fla., Superintendent Robert Runcie and Sheriff Scott Israel, it has now been reported by WLRN that the Parkland school shooter, Nikolas Cruz, had in fact been involved in the controversial PROMISE school discipline program. PROMISE, launched in 2013, stands for Preventing Recidivism through Opportunities, Mentoring, Interventions, Supports and Education. Runcie had stated in April, “Nikolas Cruz, the shooter that was involved in this horrific accident at Marjory Stoneman Douglas, had no connection to the PROMISE program.” Yet, according to an admission by Broward district officials this past Sunday, Cruz did in fact

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