CALL TO ACTION: KS HB2346

HB 2346, regarding standards for school-administered vision screenings, is on the agenda for the Senate Education committee meeting today.

HB 2346 is an example of state accreditation creep.

In summary …

This bill expands the purview of local public schools beyond kids enrolled, assuming an oversight of all kids within its geographic boundaries.

This bill further expands the heavy hand of state accreditation.

This bill further expands the mission of schools well beyond academics.

This bill expands the data amassed under the “education” umbrella to include medical data.

This bill does not explicitly provide the protections that apply to medical data.

This bill places a medical service under the authority and purview of the state education board and departments.

This bill places parents in more of a subordinate position; having schools complying with government requirements more responsible for implementation, amassing data, and monitoring.

This bill diminishes parent authority.

Many people will say schools have always been doing vision and hearing screenings. Why is this a big deal?

We submit that parents are not fully aware of the impacts of this “free” screening regarding the subjugation of their fundamental rights and authority for their own children, the impacts of the data being amassed on their children, and the lack of privacy protections.  This bill also progressively expands the mission and purview of government education into the medical arena.  Many would argue that the unrelenting expansion of information available to the government on citizens is continuing down a dangerous course.  As well, the consolidation of information from the education, medical, social, and labor areas for all practical purposes results in a government dossier on individual citizens.

This bill would expand state accreditation parameters to place more state programming in nonpublic schools and affect kids in nonpublic schools.  It further expands the mission of education into the medical area.  This is in keeping with decades-long goals to establish schools as the centers of communities, providing all manner of social services, physical and mental “health” services, fitting in some academics where possible.

When a parent engages the services of a medical professional to provide vision services, that appointment is protected by HIPPA and at the direction of the parent.  This bill does not appear to provide the same HIPPA protections.

Based on the reading of this bill, the education institution is the main engager of the services of a vision screener, who is only required to notify the parent in the event of a referral to an ophthalmologist or optometrist.  Not only is the school the main initiator of this for the child, rather than the parent, but the data regarding this is all held within education systems.

As well, yet another state level commission would be established within the State Board of Education to monitor the implementation of this act.  Again, all of this bill falls under education and not health.  Additionally, it establishes yet another state system to collect data on citizens.  Schools will at a minimum be collecting information at the individual level.  The bill does not specify any restrictions on access to this individual information, nor does it specify whether data reported will be at the individual level.

The cost of this requirement is to be born either by the nonpublic school or local board of the district where a nonpublic school student resides.

These things are not characteristics of America.  They are, however, characteristics of other governments not established to ensure maximum individual privacy and freedom.

PLEASE, contact the following Senate Education Committee members and ask them to VOTE AGAINST HB2346.

Sen. Molly Baumgardner  Phone: 785-296-7368  Email: Molly.Baumgardner@senate.ks.gov

Sen. Larry Alley  Phone: 785-296-7381  Email: Larry.Alley@senate.ks.gov

Sen. Kevin Braun  Phone: 785-296-7357  Email: Kevin.Braun@senate.ks.gov

Sen. Bud Estes  Phone: 785-296-7359  Email: Bud.Estes@senate.ks.gov

Sen. Bruce Givens  Phone: 785-296-7678  Email: Bruce.Givens@senate.ks.gov

Sen. Dennis Pyle  Phone: 785-296-7379  Email: Dennis.Pyle@senate.ks.gov

Sen. Eric Rucker  Phone: 785-296-7374  Email: Eric.Rucker@senate.ks.gov

Sen. Mary Jo Taylor  Phone: 785-296-7667  Email: MaryJo.Taylor@senate.ks.gov

Sen. Mike Thompson  Phone: 785-296-7362  Email: Mike.Thompson@senate.ks.gov

Call to Action on HB2361

Contact your legislator and tell him/her to VOTE NO on HB2361!
(If you don’t know who it is or what the number is, you can look it up here: http://www.kslegislature.org/li/b2019_20/chamber/house/)

The bill diminishes parent authority regarding their own child by promoting PASSIVE parenting rather than active parenting. Those voting for this change to the Student Data Privacy Act, are intentionally pushing for LESS parent authority.

The bill allows for EVERY child, K-12, to be asked questions regarding both the CHILD AND PARENTS’ PERSONAL BELIEFS OR PRACTICES ON SEX, FAMILY LIFE, MORALITY, RELIGION.

The bill allows for school COUNSELORS and other MENTAL HEALTH PROFESSIONALS to be EXEMPT from any administration requirements. Therefore, PERSONALLY IDENTIFIABLE INFORMATION may be collected, students NEED NOT BE INFORMED that the survey is voluntary, parents NEED NOT BE INFORMED regarding the administration of the survey to their own child, and the data doesn’t have to be reported at the aggregate level.

The state is constructing an individual STUDENT MENTAL HEALTH DATABASE.

YOUR CHILD is being SOLD for his DATA.

The 12+ organizations lobbying legislators to pass this bill overwhelmingly spoke regarding “the ability of school districts to secure grant funds” due to “the lack of information” due to reduced survey participation when parents exercise their authority.

YOUR CHILD is LESS IMPORTANT than the COMMUNITY.

PARENT AUTHORITY is LESS IMPORTANT than COMMUNITY/SCHOOL programs, intervention, and services.

From the note: “…the results of the surveys serve as a valuable tool for schools and communities to build support programs, interventions, and services for students to help make progress toward important physical and mental health outcomes and to guide decision making …”

School employees can administer whatever test, questionnaire, survey or examination (survey) on YOUR CHILD, without your knowledge or permission. The result of which can RESULT in YOUR CHILD being recommended for “services” which you, the parent, must comply with.

Want a “simple” questionnaire, based on personality questions, (somehow “determining”) and LABELING children who are PRE-DISPOSED to alcoholism, based on a couple of “personality traits,” and placing them in BEHAVIORAL INTERVENTION? Your child could be labeled an ALCOHOLIC without ever having a drink!

How about government-funded Pre-K/early-childhood “education” SCREENING PRESCHOOLERS for early signs of mental illness (a “healthy kids check”), with children determined to have “troubling behavior markers” referred to psychologists, etc.?

How about 12 year olds being allowed to consent to medical treatments?

HB2361, amending the Student Data Privacy Act, was passed out of the KS House Committee on Children and Seniors, with the deciding vote cast by Rep. Concannon after the committee vote ended in a tie.

This bill received quick handling as it was hurriedly introduced on a Friday in February and heard the following Wednesday. The committee didn’t make the turnaround deadline for the bill, so House Leadership acted to refer the bill to the Committee on Appropriations (so it would be “blessed” and not die) and then refer it back to the Committee on Children and Seniors. Eight of the thirteen members of the committee are Republicans.

Link to the supplemental note on the bill: http://www.kslegislature.org/li/b2019_20/measures/documents/supp_note_hb2361_00_0000.pdf

In the Supplemental Note to the bill, prepared by Legislative Research:

1. Specifically, the bill would remove a requirement the parent of the student be notified the survey is to be administered and give written permission (opts in) for such student to take the survey.

2. [The survey, test, questionnaire, or examination (survey) may contain] questions about a student’s personal beliefs or practices on sex, family life, morality, or religion, or concerning the student’s parent’s views on these subjects, to a student enrolled in kindergarten or grades 1 through 12.

3. Further, the bill would extend the exception from these requirements [for administration of the surveys to students] for school counselors to other school-based mental health professionals with regard to the administration of tests and forms part of a school counselor’s or other school-based provider’s student counseling services.