Ada wants to protect students’ rights

Wednesday, 18 May 2011 01:32 by Janela Buhain | Variety News Staff

IN AN effort to ensure students’ rights are protected, Sen. Tony Ada has introduced two bills which seek to ensure parental consent is obtained before any survey or mental-health screening is conducted at a school setting.

Bill 201 addresses the protection of minors and students’ rights from surveys or questionnaires that include disclosure of political affiliations; mental and psychological problems; sexual behavior or preference; illegal, anti-social and self-incriminating behavior; appraisals of other individuals with whom a respondent has a close family relationship; legally recognized privileged relationships, such as lawyers, physicians and ministers; income, other than legally required for financial assistance under a program; or social security number.

Bill 202 addresses students’ rights from mental-health screening or testing. If enacted into law, the Guam Department of Education will be required to prohibit the use of schools for mental health or psychological screening or testing without first obtaining written consent from a parent or guardian.

While the issue may not be known to exist on Guam, Ada’s office noted that, increasingly, school districts across the nation are conducting similar surveys or screenings that reveal religious, political or sexual preference.

Mental-health screenings often are paid for by public and private sources in an effort to develop new treatments, medications and instruction methods for childhood mental illnesses and disabilities, according to Ada.

Many of these surveys may also include information that may subject students to identity theft or make them vulnerable to stalkers or sexual predators.

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