Texas Eagle Forum, other groups argue parental rights under attack in textbooks State Board of Education to consider this week

Cindi Castilla, President, Texas Eagle Forum.

The Golden Hammer Staff Reports

Austin, November 15 – The Texas State Board of Education, at its November 16 to 19 meeting at 1701 N. Congress in Austin, will vote on whether to accept new health textbooks for Texas public schools. Several groups are calling for the State Board of Education to reject all of them, stating intrusive questions about mental health, emotional and social issues are filling the books.

“We expect our schools to provide academics, not a psychological scorecard,” said Cindi Castilla, President of Texas Eagle Forum. “Unfortunately, the elementary school materials seem to do just that. At some grade levels, young students are expected to do emoji-based emotional assessments, which the teacher can track using a “health tracker” app.”

“Parents should be  concerned about their children discussing their emotions with people outside the family or the professionals of their parents’ choice. Children could end up detained in psychiatric hospitals, and families could find themselves under Child Protective Services scrutiny,” said Castilla.

Texas Eagle Forum has notified its membership:

“Early next week our Texas State Board of Education (SBOE) will vote on accepting new Health textbooks (now referred to as Instructional Materials or IM’s) for our schools.  Each proposed IM has serious issues and all must be rejected. We must fight the Left’s takeover of education. Our goal is to keep our schools from molding our children’s values, attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors to conform to the Left’s ideals.
“You probably remember making calls in 2019 to try to stop the mental health bills (SB11 and HB18) from passing. The materials we need to call about this week relate to those bills and the Health TEKS (Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills for Health) which were revised in 2020. Some of the disturbing content ideas that were addressed and rightly refused by our SBOE Members just last year are showing up in all of these curricula.
“We need your help to protect Texas students from invasive emotional monitoring and tracking, overstepping of parents’ rights, critical race theory concepts, comprehensive sex-ed, kids playing ‘doctor’ or ‘vaccine’ in class, and much more.
“Parents, grandparents, and specialists across Texas have spent many hours reviewing the proposed new Health Instructional Materials. Those leading in the areas of sex-ed, mental health, and student privacy have taken these comments and combined them to expose the serious problems with all five of the proposed curricula. A couple of offerings have glaring issues throughout but that might be designed to lead our SBOE Members to accept the ‘least bad’ options. We need them to reject ALL options!”

“This is a legitimate concern,” said Lee Spiller, Executive Director of the Citizens Commission on Human Rights-Texas, a mental health watchdog group. “We’ve had one of those cases before. The parents allowed their daughter to participate in a school mental health screening program. She ended up institutionalized; it took months to get her home and not before she’d been heavily drugged and repeatedly restrained.”

Spiller pointed to similar problems in the proposed high school text. “One of the handouts in the high school materials includes students doing a mental health ‘checkup’ on themselves, then being directed to share their results with their doctor or a ‘trusted adult’ to brainstorm on how to improve their mental health. Where is the parental consent in all of this?”

The Texas Education Code prohibits psychological examination, testing and treatment without parental consent. Nevertheless, since the passage of the controversial school mental health bills, Senate Bill 11 and House bill 18, during the 86th Texas Legislature, a growing number of schools have begun to conduct assessments or screenings in the form of surveys, or “check-ins” that ask questions about student mental health.

“Teachers aren’t psychologists,” said Hollie Plemons, a Fort Worth Independent School District mother whose sons received Social and Emotional Learning surveys at school. “Who is making sure our children aren’t upset by these kinds of questions, and for that matter, what business do that have checking on my children’s mental state without my consent?”

“In my view, they violate the federal Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment,” said Plemons. The Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment prohibits certain questions, screenings, or surveys without parental consent.

“With the passage of the school mental health legislation in 2019, parents were promised that nothing would be done without parental involvement and consent,” said Spiller. “It’s time our state lives up to those promises because it’s obvious that this isn’t how things are working in the real world.”

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