Neil Bush: "My Son Was A Victim of School Rx: Ritalin"

Neil Bush: “My Son Was A Victim of School Rx: Ritalin”_NY Post

Date: Wed, 14 Aug 2002

In a series of columns in The New York Post, Douglas Montero is exposing the Ritalin epidemic in America’ s schools. This irresponsible method of behavior control has been referred to as, “the dirty little secret.” Those who are endorsing policies to prescribe psychoactive drugs to younger and younger children may be responsible for causing permanent damage to their developing brains.

Today’s article reveals that Neil Bush, the President’s brother had to fight tooth and nail to protect his gifted son, Pierce. He tells the Post about his own plight when he had to search for a doctor who would back him against school officials who had tried to coerce him into medicating his son against his will.

“There is a systemic problem in this country, where schools are often forcing parents to turn to Ritalin,” said Bush, 47, who spent years researching the issue. “It’s obvious to me that we have a crisis in this country.”

Bush sympathizes with parents who are being intimidated: “My heart goes out to any parents who are being led to believe their kids have a disorder or are disabled.”

The Post has approached this national issue by providing those who have been victimized by this medically unsupportable strategy of using drugs to discipline children the opportunity to speak up: Reader’s reactions to The Post series: http://www.webforums.com/forums/f-read/msa154.64.html

In Saturday’s Post, parents told their horror stories “about public-school educators who have pressured and coerced them into medicating their kids.” THE NEW YORK POST. PARENTS TELL OF SCHOOL PILL PUSHERS’ ‘EXTORTION’ By DOUGLAS MONTERO http://www.nypost.com/seven/08102002/commentary/20424.htm

On Sunday, a third grade teacher acknowledged that the medicating of children in the schools has gotten “out of control.” She is quoted observing that: “There just aren’t enough resources in schools to deal with the unruly kids, and that’s when a pill becomes an option.” DRUG CASUALTIES: http://nypost.com/seven/08112002/commentary/54424.htm

Monday’s report focused on additional parents’ horror stories and NYC School Chancellor: “Joyce Cava, 40, of Queens, charges her son Bryan, 11, was held back in the fourth grade even though he passed his statewide reading and math test because she resisted pressure from school officials to medicate. “It was extortion,” said Cava, who felt the pressure to medicate from Middle Village school officials for an entire school year.

Outgoing School Chancellor, Harold Levy, ordered an investigation. “Parents across the city say school officials are threatening to hold their children back a grade and even file a child-abuse complaint if they don’t medicate. Advocates support their claims. ” GIVE ‘PILL’ PARENTS A HOT LINE, NOT A COLD SHOULDER: http://www.nypost.com/seven/08122002/commentary/54522.htm

By Tuesday NY State lawmakers and the Dept of Education issued statements: “Richard Mills (head of the Education Department) said he will instruct public-school districts not to strong-arm parents into medicating their kids with Ritalin and other psychiatric drugs. His decision came hours after a top state lawmaker urged him to straighten out the mess – and threatened to create a law to cure it. It also followed a statement from Gov. Pataki’s office that said state regulations prohibit educators from diagnosing kids and pushing drugs.

“The State Education Department [SED] has a policy that prohibits the practice, and that should be enforced – no ifs, ands or buts,” said Pataki spokesman Joe Conway.

The SED sent a representative to the meeting of state school superintendents in the Albany area yesterday to discuss complaints from angry parents about the medication issue.

The SED intends to follow up with letters to the state’s 700 school districts to tell its leaders what is “permissible” under state regulations.” See: ‘MED SCHOOL’ CRACKDOWN http://www.nypost.com/seven/08132002/commentary/54649.htm

In the Soviet Union, government psychiatrists had prescribed psychoactive drugs to control political dissidents who were regarded as enemies of the state. Ironically, in America, schoolchildren and even toddlers are being hounded to take psychoactive drugs — as if they were enemies of state.

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THE NEW YORK POST

BUSH’S BRO: MY SON WAS A VICTIM OF SCHOOL RX

By DOUGLAS MONTERO

RITALIN HELL: Neil Bush says son Pierce was misdiagnosed seven years ago with attention-deficit disorder, forcing the family to resist efforts to medicate Pierce with Ritalin.- Brett Coomer

August 14, 2002 —

ANGRY New York parents who say school officials pressured them into medicating their children have a very powerful ally in their corner – President Bush’s brother. Neil Bush is condemning the practice for very personal reasons: He endured his own Ritalin hell seven years ago when educators in a Houston private school diagnosed his son, Pierce, now 16, with attention-deficit disorder and pushed medication.

Bush later found out the educators were wrong about his son. “There is a systemic problem in this country, where schools are often forcing parents to turn to Ritalin,” said Bush, 47, who spent years researching the issue. “It’s obvious to me that we have a crisis in this country.”

The Bush family’s ADD scare shows that the forced-medication crisis in the schools isn’t just an inner-city problem. In fact, the parents of boys from the affluent suburbs are more likely to be pressured by schools to medicate their kids than those in poor urban areas, according to advocates and statistics. Assemblyman Felix Ortiz, the Brooklyn Democrat trying to create a law banning educators from verbally prescribing Ritalin, said that since last week, his office has received 63 phone complaints from parents.

Based on those calls, “This issue apparently is concentrated more in the upstate areas, in mostly white communities,” he said. The Chicago Sun-Times reported in April that rich kids in affluent areas are being prescribed Ritalin and other psychiatric drugs at a greater rate than kids in the Windy City’s poorest neighborhoods, based on prescription-drug records kept by the state.

In New York state, the use of Ritalin by school-age children is statistically higher in counties such as Dutchess, Westchester, Suffolk, Putnam and Rockland than in New York City’s outer boroughs, but about the same rate as Manhattan, said Doretta Hegg, the founder of an anti-school-medication group. Bush thinks many suburban parents are easy to accept the attention-deficit diagnoses because it helps them rationalize “why their children aren’t doing well” in school. Bush says he fell into the same trap and quickly took Pierce to a doctor who reaffirmed the school’s diagnosis. Bush went to two other doctors who prescribed Ritalin, which Pierce, even at age 10, told his father he didn’t want to take.

Bush said he took his son to a specialist who determined Pierce didn’t have a disorder – but was a gifted child who got bored quickly in class. “The problem is, it isn’t the kids that are broken. It’s the system that is failing to engage children in the classroom,” said Bush, who runs an education-technology business called Ignite! based in Austin, Texas. “My heart goes out to any parents who are being led to believe their kids have a disorder or are disabled.”

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