‘Do No Harm’ Belongs In Education

Children are being harmed by the experimental psychology practices implemented in schools across the country.
Photo: RODNAE Productions/Pexels

“You would not let your child’s school diagnose and treat his physical health. Why are you letting them diagnose and treat his mental health? You would not put your child on insulin just because a classmate was diabetic. Why are you letting your child be treated for mental illness just because a classmate might have depression or anxiety?”

This was a post I shared not long ago and it was met with overwhelming agreement from parents, teachers, child psychologists, and counselors. There were a few skeptics who wanted proof that any of this was happening. They apparently haven’t been paying attention these past couple of years, so I did their homework for them.

First, let’s deal with the “diagnosis” portion. Students in public schools are regularly given surveys to “see how students are doing”. These surveys may ask about friends, grades, stress, or sexual activity, depending on the source. Student responses to these surveys are used to determine the need and incorporate “intervention” plans, often generated by the same company who created the survey. This is essentially diagnosing a need for mental health then prescribing the treatment. 

Another form of “diagnosis” that is taking place in public schools relates to sexual identity and orientation. Regardless of your stance on these issues, it has generally been understood that parents, not the government, have the right to decide if, when, and how certain topics are introduced and discussed with their children. Now, however, school districts have policies in place that allow students to seek and receive affirmation-only counseling without requiring schools to notify their parents. These are serious, life-altering decisions that public schools are not adequately equipped to help your child make.

Now, let’s address the “treatment” aspect. Through various Social Emotional Learning (SEL) programs, classrooms have been turned into group therapy sessions led by teachers who, by in large, do not have certification qualifying them to conduct. Most do not have the time nor the desire to implement these unethical practices, but are forced to by their administrators. Children receive “therapy”-like interventions for mental health issues they may not have, but a classmate might.

The newest trend making its way into public education is the Whole School, Whole Child Model. This may sound wonderfully convenient and efficient, but it gives government-run schools access to physical and mental records of your child, as well as agency for them to address anything they deem worthy of “treatment.”

Schools may be where certain issues are revealed, but that does not mean it is where they should be treated. It definitely does not justify group therapy in the classroom facilitated by unlicensed psychologists. “I will do no harm” is an important part of a doctor’s oath. It should be considered an important philosophy in K-12 schools as well.

Children are being harmed by the experimental psychology practices implemented in schools across the country. Teachers should refuse to facilitate the experiments and parents must speak up to protect their children.

Schools would do well to remember these very wise words from Frederick Douglass: “It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.”

Beanie Geoghegan
Beanie Geoghegan is the Chapter Lead for No Left Turn in Education KY. She is a former teacher and reading interventionist and is the mother of four grown readers, writers, and independent thinkers.