SB 266: Mental Health Screening for All Children

Dear Friends,

Yesterday we saw an uprising on Facebook with a call to action over proposed legislation, SB 266. It’s the kind of bill we worry about every day the General Assembly is in session. You should know, right off the bat, we need you to contact your State Senator right away.

One of our closest allies in the State Senate, veteran home school parent and former Education Chair, Sen. Dennis Kruse, informed us that SB 266 was amended in a committee hearing last week.

And, he’s not happy about it one bit. In fact, even though he’s listed as a co-author of the bill, he told us that he plans to vote against the bill unless the bill is fixed.

You see, SB 266 is the BIG attempt this year to expand mental health services into the schools. Public, charter, private, all of them. And that means schools will be in the business of conducting psychiatric and mental health surveys and treatments on children from birth to age 22.

While the bill pays lip-service to parental consent, Sen. Kruse had wisely added into the bill a variety of protections for parents and students and also penalties for schools that didn’t follow the law.

But the public-school lobby quickly moved into action and had Sen. Kruse’s protections stripped from SB 266.

As the bill stands now, the schools could prescribe a psychological evaluation or treatment to a minor without fear of penalty of the law.

We have seen way too many instances over the years of where schools are ignoring the law and trampling the rights of parents and our kids. Having clear penalties for violations of protected health information and consent is the least we can ask for.

Right now under the guise of “mental health” Republicans and Democrats in the General Assembly are moving ahead to let schools do whatever they please and spending millions to do it.

Please call your Senator today at 800-382-9467 and demand they restore Sen. Kruse’s protections and penalties in SB 266.

We can’t take any vote for granted. The next vote will be before the entire Senate.

If enough Senators hear from us right now, we can get this bill fixed so that schools will be accountable to the law.

Please do all you can.

Rob Besiwenger

Homeschoolers and Indiana’s RFRA

As we gear up for the 2016 session of the Indiana General Assembly, IAHE Action thinks it would be a good time review our stance on Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA).  Home education rights rest on two pillars:  religious liberty and parental rights.  We need both strong pillars to protect home education rights.

RFRA was signed into federal law in 1993, and there is no federal law giving special class to sexual orientation and gender identity.  This law has been used ZERO times to allow for discrimination. [1]  RFRA was demonized as allowing discrimination, but that was untrue.  It is a shield and not a sword that protects ALL Hoosiers’ deeply held religious beliefs against government intrusion.

After Indiana’s RFRA was amended by SB 50, “IAHE asked Darren Jones, HSLDA staff attorney, if we are accurate in our understanding that homeschoolers can still benefit from Indiana’s RFRA as it pertains to the state trying to force us to teach evolution, sex education in a certain manner or by a certain age, or by attempting to ban home education, etc.? WEBSITE RGB Action Logo 400x400

His response: “Yes, you are accurate in your understanding. Individual homeschoolers could still claim the protection of RFRA in a court proceeding if Indiana tried to impose religiously-objectionable curriculum requirements or ban home education. The amendment to RFRA only applies to “providers” in the context of services, facilities, etc., and so that amendment would not diminish an individual homeschooler’s right to raise RFRA in the situations you have mentioned.”” [2]

“The important conclusion is that no one should be forced by the government to violate his or her faith. This is what makes RFRA so important, but those that oppose religious freedom are at work using misinformation to stop this.”  [3]

IAHE, Inc. had an excellent article about Indiana’s RFRA.  Read it here.

[1] Indiana, Arkansas are Standing for Religious Freedom…Will you?

[2] Portion of article originally printed in the Indiana Association of Home Educators, The Informer Magazine, Fall 2015.

[3] Does RFRA Equal Discrimination? No It Prevents It

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