I’ve been searching for information on the mental health data collected and shared on students in the Laconia School District.  Accessing this information has become challenging, given the responses by the current Superintendent in the district, Brendan Minnihan. One thing is clear from the information that has been provided, mental health data on the students is leaving the district without parental knowledge or consent.

 I have sent a request to the Attorney General in New Hampshire asking his office to conduct an investigation on New Hampshire schools.  I cited several Federal laws governing student privacy along with the recent passage of the amendment to the New Hampshire Constitution.  If you have children in Laconia, Merrimack, or any other school in New Hampshire, you need to be aware of the mental health information that is being collected, stored and shared on your children.  

The SLDS’s (Statewide Longitudinal Data System) were mandated to be setup prior to the Common Core rollout. ALL student data is uploaded to the SLDS. While it is against the law to set up a national data-base,  each state set up a SLDS. In other words they successfully set up a De facto national data-base to work around the law.  They are selling access to the SLDS to edtech’s, 3rd parties, foundations, etc.

So much information on students is being collected that privacy experts successfully shut down one project funded by the Gates Foundation.

One New Hampshire physician raised concerns in an article in the Wall Street Journal: Have You Seen Junior’s Psych Profile? By Dr. Aida Cerundolo.

Are local schools following all privacy laws?  Are the loopholes in the current laws putting your child’s personal information at risk? Why aren’t parents being notified or consenting to their child’s mental health evaluations in school?  Who has access to this information? Who determined that teachers and counselors are now qualified to access and treat students on their mental health? There are so many questions parents should be asking school administrators.  

The e-mail exchange below should help parents request important information from their school administrators.  The refusal to provide answers to specific questions now has me wondering what they are hiding….
================================================================

Sent: September 4, 2018
FROM: Ann Marie Banfield [email protected]

Dear Superintendent Minnihan, 

 
Based on this article in the Manchester Union Leader, your school district is actively engaging students in social and emotional learning, (SEL) and screening Kindergarten students.   In accordance with RSA 91-as a Right to Know Request, I am requesting the following information:
 
1) The name/link to the vendor who is providing the materials for screenings, and treatment for children who are then diagnosed “in need of treatment.” 
 
2) Provide the policy that then states how each child’s data will be secured. 
   a) What happens to that data once a child leaves the school district? 
   b) What happens to that data if the vendor files bankruptcy?  
   c) Is this data ever destroyed? IF so, by whom? 
    
3) Provide the peer reviewed/independent research on any program used to diagnose or treat SEL issues?  I’m not looking for biased research provided by the vendor, but actual independent research that shows the effectiveness of the program. 
 
4) Who administers the screenings in the school?  Their credentials and license? 
 
5) Who then administers the treatment if a child is flagged for needing the additional support/ treatment?  Their credentials? 
 
6) What is the percentage of false/positives that accompany the screenings?  
 
7) What happens if there is a false/positive?  Who is involved ? Their credentials? 
 
8) Provide a copy of the contract between the school district and the SEL vendor. 
 
9) Provide a copy of ALL questions that are asked to screen students in your school district for every grade level. 
 
10) Provide a copy of the permission slip sent to parents/guardians requesting their consent to screen or assess their child on SEL.  What, if any, information did you provide to parents on the vendor who is providing this service? 
 
11) Did the school board members vote to approve of mental health screenings for all students? If so, when did that vote take place? 
 
12) Did the legal team provide any details on the possibilities of a malpractice lawsuit or something similar, that could arise if a child who is being treated by the school district, acts out in a violent way or harms themselves or others? If so, what kind of information was provided to the administration and/or school board members? 
 
13) Is the SEL program being provided though a grant or is there any financial compensation to the district ? If so, what are the details? Was it provided free of charge?  
 
14) Since children become research subjects, have their families been offered any sort of compensation?  If not, why not? 
 
15) Are copies of all assessments sent to parents so they can review what is being asked of their children?
16) Provide the ethical guidelines the district currently uses when conducting research on children and/or assessing their mental health.
17) What are the current school board policies addressing mental health screenings/treatment in the school ?
18) What are the current school board policies guiding research on students ?
19) What credentials in child psychology do the staff members have, that were trained by Cassie Yackley?
20) In the article it states: Laconia has been hit hard over the past decade by the opioid crisis and fallout from the economic recession.


And classroom teachers were seeing the impacts in their classrooms: Defiance, disobedience, aggression toward other students and staff members, “kids picking up chairs and throwing them…,” according to McKenzie Harrington-Bacote, director of Laconia School District’s Office of School Wellness.

 
Have you done any research into the curriculum and teaching practices currently used in the district to see if they are contributing to any of these negative behaviors? 
 21) The article mentions that Cassie Yackley is a psychologist, can you provide her advanced degree, and clinical training?
22) Once these individuals are trained, what exactly will they do in terms of assessing/treating children who’ve been flagged with an SEL problem?  
I was unable to access e-mail addresses for all of the school board members. Please forward this information to them.
Sincerely
Ann Marie Banfield
Education Liaison, Cornerstone Action 

=======================================================

Wednesday September 5, 2018

Dear Ms. Banfield,

I acknowledge receipt of your September 4, 2018 request, which contains requests for information and governmental records under NH RSA 91-A, New Hampshire’s Right to Know law.  We anticipate that it will take 30 days to review your 22 requests and determine whether we have any responsive governmental records.  I will let you know when the records will be available for your review.  Please note that if you would like copies of any records, the District charges 25 cents per page for photocopies.

In the meantime, all Laconia School District policies are available online at: http://laconiaschools.weebly.com/policies.html.

Sincerely,

Brendan Minnihan, EdD
========================================================

September 17, 2018

Dear Ms. Banfield,

This will serve as the Laconia School District’s response to your 22 requests for governmental records under NH RSA 91-A as well as information, received on September 4, 2018.

Many of your requests were for information and not for access to governmental records.  The Right to Know law grants access to existing governmental records and is not a tool for posing informational questions.  NH RSA 91-A:4, I, VII.

Teacher certification information is also exempt from disclosure under the Right to Know law, RSA 91-A:5, V.  The New Hampshire Department of Education maintains an online database that contains information about teacher credentials, which is available at: https://my.doe.nh.gov/profiles/educators/search.aspx.

We respond to your 22 requests as follows:

1)    The name/link to the vendor who is providing the materials for screenings, and treatment for children who are then diagnosed “in need of treatment.”

The District does not diagnose students as “in need of treatment,” and it does not contract with a vendor to provide materials for screenings and treatment. The District uses the Ages and Stages Questionnaire for Social and Emotional Learning (“ASQ:SE”), which is available online at:

https://agesandstages.com/

https://www.brookespublishing.com/campaigns/free-social-emotional-screening-toolkit/

The District also uses a district-developed version of an ACEs screener, which is attached.

2)    Provide the policy that then states how each child’s data will be secured.

  1.  a) What happens to that data once a child leaves the school district?
  2.  b) What happens to that data if the vendor files bankruptcy?
  3.  c) Is this data ever destroyed? If so, by whom?

Please see District policies EHB, EHB-R and JRA which are attached.

3)    Provide the peer reviewed/independent research on any program used to diagnose or treat SEL issues?  I’m not looking for biased research provided by the vendor, but actual independent research that shows the effectiveness of the program.

We do not have any governmental records responsive to this request as the District does not implement programs used to diagnose or treat social and emotional learning (“SEL”) issues.

4)    Who administers the screenings in the school?  Their credentials and license?

The ASQ:SE and ACEs screener is completed by parents in conjunction with school counselors.  The District adheres to all NH DOE credentialing and licensing requirements for school counselors; credentialing information is available online at: https://my.doe.nh.gov/profiles/educators/search.aspx.

5)    Who then administers the treatment if a child is flagged for needing the additional support/ treatment?  Their credentials?

The District does not provide treatment to students and therefore does not have any records that are responsive to this request.

6)    What is the percentage of false/positives that accompany the screenings?

The District does not have any governmental records that are responsive to this request.

7)    What happens if there is a false/positive?  Who is involved? Their credentials?

The District does not have any governmental records that are responsive to this request.

8)    Provide a copy of the contract between the school district and the SEL vendor.

The District does not have any governmental records that are responsive to this request.

9)     Provide a copy of ALL questions that are asked to screen students in your school district for every grade level.

Please see the response to question 1.

10)  Provide a copy of the permission slip sent to parents/guardians requesting their consent to screen or assess their child on SEL.  What, if any, information did you provide to parents on the vendor who is providing this service?

The District does not have any governmental records that are responsive to this request; parents complete screenings to assess children on SEL. 

11) Did the school board members vote to approve of mental health screenings for all students? If so, when did that vote take place?

The District does not administer mental health screenings for students; there are no governmental records responsive to this request.

 12)  Did the legal team provide any details on the possibilities of a malpractice lawsuit or something similar, that could arise if a child who is being treated by the school district, acts out in a violent way or harms themselves or others? If so, what kind of information was provided to the administration and/or school board members?

The District does not provide treatment for mental health; however, any communications with the District’s attorneys are subject to the attorney-client privilege and exempt from disclosure under the Right to Know law. 

13) Is the SEL program being provided though a grant or is there any financial compensation to the district ? If so, what are the details? Was it provided free of charge?

There are no governmental records that are responsive to this request.

14) Since children become research subjects, have their families been offered any sort of compensation?  If not, why not?

The District does not conduct research on students; there are no governmental records that are responsive to this request.

15) Are copies of all assessments sent to parents so they can review what is being asked of their children?

Please see the response to questions 1 and 10 regarding screenings.

16) Provide the ethical guidelines the district currently uses when conducting research on children and/or assessing their mental health.

The District is not conducting research on children or assessing mental health; there are no governmental records that are responsive to this request.

17) What are the current school board policies addressing mental health screenings/treatment in the school ?

Please see District policy JLD which is attached.

18) What are the current school board policies guiding research on students

Please see District policy LC which is attached.

19) What credentials in child psychology do the staff members have, that were trained by Cassie Yackley?

District staff have credentials required by their specific positions in accordance with the NHDOE’s Bureau of Credentialing requirements. Information on NH credentialing requirements can be found here: https://www.education.nh.gov/certification/

20) In the article it states: Laconia has been hit hard over the past decade by the opioid crisis and fallout from the economic recession.

 And classroom teachers were seeing the impacts in their classrooms: Defiance, disobedience, aggression toward other students and staff members, “kids picking up chairs and throwing them…,” according to McKenzie Harrington-Bacote, director of Laconia School District’s Office of School Wellness.

Have you done any research into the curriculum and teaching practices currently used in the district to see if they are contributing to any of these negative behaviors?

 The District does not have any governmental records that are responsive to this request.

21) The article mentions that Cassie Yackley is a psychologist, can you provide her advanced degree, and clinical training?

 The District does not have any governmental records that are responsive to this request; however, information about Dr. Yackley is available online at: http://www.cassieyackleypsyd.com/about-cassie.html

22) Once these individuals are trained, what exactly will they do in terms of assessing/treating children who’ve been flagged with an SEL problem?

 The District does not have any governmental records that are responsive to this request.

Sincerely,

Brendan Minnihan
lc_-_relations_with_education_research_agencies
jra_-_student_records
jld_-_school_counseling
ehb-r_-_data_records_retention
ehb_-_data_records_retention_
Child Family Experiences Questionnaire
=============================================================

Nov. 28, 2018
Dear Superintendent Brendan Minnihan,

I was hoping for a more back and forth conversation. I am somewhat dismayed that your reply appears that you might be withholding information that directly concerns children in the school district. This is not the transparency and public engagement that I was expecting. Perhaps we should start again.

Laconia School District Policy on STUDENT RECORDS refers to FERPA and Protection Of Records, but I did not find any reference to the fact that parents are informed with written consent for research or mental health strategies on their children. I believe it is time to clarify the issues and be more transparent to what is happening in the classrooms in New Hampshire, especially Laconia. In all due respect, I would prefer open channels of communication and obvious precautions to protect the privacy, security, and safety of children in New Hampshire.

After reading the regulations for FERPA, it appears that personally identifiable information (PII) collected at the local school district level in the state of New Hampshire (i4See Data Collection system) can be shared without parents knowing about it. However, knowing that social, emotional and behavioral programming is being initiated in the state, I believe the sheer magnitude of sharing this sensitive, personal, and private data brings the legal issues of privacy, safety, and security to the front of my concerns. I’m sure you would agree.

It appears that schools and the New Hampshire Department of Education tell parents and communities that the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), 20 U.S.C. §1232g, is a Federal Privacy law designed to protect the privacy of students’ educational records. Regrettably regulations were changed without Congressional authority where data mining of our children is permitted for research and development without the knowledge and consent of the parents. I believe it is important that parents are informed about this loophole in the regulations. Protecting children and families should be of utmost importance particularly if children are being used as research subjects. You stated in your letter, “The District does not administer mental health screenings for students; there are no governmental records responsive to this request,” and, “The District is not conducting research on children or assessing mental health…”. Your response sheds light on why parents have been denied the true purpose of specific social, emotional, and behavioral programs that are being researched in our New Hampshire classrooms.

Referring to the regulations in FERPA and ESSA, this very issue must be discussed and protections provided to students knowing that FERPA was weakened allowing PII to be distributed to 3rd party vendors without the knowledge or consent of parents, yet ESSA provides protections. Knowing that private and sensitive information is collected on New Hampshire children through the pilots and experimental programs of SEL to see if the data-based programs and interventions “work,” it would be in the best interests of parents and citizens to know that this private information on social, emotional, and behavioral data is being shared and used to develop and/or create mental health curriculum to change the values, attitudes, and dispositions of New Hampshire children. After all, Informed written parental consent is the legal way to go since we are not talking about releasing information on how Johnny can add 10 +10 = 20.

In fact, Every Student Succeeds Act, ESSA, in SEC. 4001. GENERAL PROVISIONS  states specifically that parental consent is required for any child under the age of 18 to participate in any mental-health assessment or service without prior written, informed parental consent.

‘‘(a) PARENTAL CONSENT.— ‘‘(1) IN GENERAL.—

‘‘(A) INFORMED WRITTEN CONSENT.—A State, local educational agency, or other entity receiving funds under this title shall obtain prior written, informed consent from the parent of each child who is under 18 years of age to participate in any mental-health assessment or service that is funded under this title and conducted in connection with an elementary school or secondary school under this title.

‘‘(B) CONTENTS.—Before obtaining the consent described in subparagraph (A), the entity shall provide the parent written notice describing in detail such mental health assessment or service, including the purpose for such assessment or service, the provider of such assessment or service, when such assessment or service will begin, and how long such assessment or service may last.

At first glance, your return letter appears to lead one to think that no social, emotional, or behavioral/mental health research or data collection is being done in New Hampshire. But further inquiries have directed my attention to the fact that many SEL grants and research projects were not only performed in New Hampshire, but we were in fact a leader in the implementation of many SEL research projects. New Hampshire schools have redirected the purpose of school, and the primary focus is not on academics. I have noted that New Hampshire is an Innovation Lab Network State in the implementation and forward movement of Common Core affective/non-cognitive/non-academic standards in the country. Teacher training and fidelity in SEL is a vital portion of this movement. With this in mind I have several more questions that I will need clarified since your reported information conflicts with my research.

According to New Hampshire ESSA application and the grant from IES to expand our state longitudinal data system, New Hampshire is very much involved in collecting personally identifiable data with the merging of all data from all departments. The “one stop data shop” and the teacher management data dashboard appear to contain arbitrary teacher-collected personality traits in a student education record. Indeed this appears to be a violation of privacy rights, the Protection Of Pupil Rights Amendment, and ESSA Informed Written Consent section. The fact that the private data released because of the weakened FERPA expands my concerns that psychological/mental health data collected and released to third party vendors include social, emotional, and behavioral data not in the realm of academics and is being shared without the knowledge of parents. We must clarify this issue immediately. With this in mind could you please answer the following groups of questions:

  1. Please answer my concerns about SEL collected data in the classroom;

  1. Does a teacher data management dashboard contain SEL sensitive and personal information about the personalities of New Hampshire children?

  2. Is this data logged and connected to the state longitudinal data system?

  3. Is FERPA being used for outside researchers, non-profits, universities, and/or businesses to access our children’s records?

  4. Is SEL data shared for research? Who receives it?

  5. Are you aware of any written agreements, MOU’s or contracts with 3rd party vendors or researchers that have access to these data files? Could you please remit information on them?

  6. Have you signed any FERPA written agreements, MOU’s, or contracts with outside vendors, researchers, universities, or foundations? Could you please remit them?

B.  An early grant, 2012, to New Hampshire from the Office of Special Education Programs Grant No. H323A070028, begins this process of Response To Intervention to train the teachers in “professional development” in the 3 tiers of universal screening for ALL children in SEL interventions. Parents have not been fully informed that their children would be receiving special education behavioral conditioning.

  1. Since ALL children are used in the universal screening, are we to assume that ALL children are receiving special education services? Are all children assumed disabled since RTI, Response To Intervention, is used for an entire school?

  2. Is Title I SchoolWide being used as the legal premise to access ALL children under the “universal intervention” process of RTI, PBIS, or MTSS? If not, what authority does the school have to access children who are not identified as special education?

  3. Exactly when are parents of truly special education students notified by law under IDEA especially when their child should not be included in these RTI/PBIS/MTSS special education universal services prior to their IEP evaluations?

The CASEL FRAMEWORK Competencies used In New Hampshire as a model are self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision-making skills. The piloted programs  serve as a foundation for SEL programming. Let me be clear: The CASEL program is completely grounded in social and emotional learning (SEL). The information explains that SEL helps children: resolve conflicts peacefully, handle emotions positively, empathize, and make responsible decisions.

When debate arose among House Education Committee members regarding competencies, both Republicans and Democrats agreed, they did NOT want schools measuring subjective dispositions.  However, it appears measuring dispositions is what SEL is all about now. Competency Based Education in New Hampshire has morphed into an SEL education model opposite of what legislators first supported.

These vague and subjective objectives are difficult to measure and difficult to decipher if a particular personality trait has been identified for change. Remediating “sticky” non-academic areas of personality could be defined by different people in different ways.

C.  As Superintendent Of Laconia, explain to me how these goals are measured for improvement in these SEL programs?

  1. What techniques are used in the SEL programming that would target a specific emotion, for example, emotion regulation?

  2. How are teachers differentiating treatment for being unhappy? anxious? fearful? or stressed? What type of interventions are used for each emotion?

  3. How are teachers recording these emotions?

  4. Decisions that teachers are making on children about their feelings and emotions appear to be arbitrary. What is the protocol for advancing a child into a Tier 2 level? Tier 3 level?

  5. What are teachers doing to intervene in these emotions?  Should children be expected to never show any emotion? What happens to a sensitive child?

  6. How can teachers be sure these interventions do not spill into other human emotions like pain, anguish, disappointment, elation, sadness, anger, anxiety, love, hate, or fear? Is showing a strong emotion like, “I hate strawberry ice cream,” positive or negative? Should kids be forced to love strawberry ice cream?

  7. How can teachers decide what is the difference in how a child might show extreme emotional sensibilities? How does a teacher know that a child is shielding their feelings or lying?

  8. Should emotions and feelings that make us human be addressed as a mental health treatable disease?

  9. What is the standard for behavior change in emotion regulation, for example how much is too much or not enough intervention?

  10. How are teachers to gauge the intervention? What is the protocol for more intervention?

  11. Who decided what particular intervention would be for a particular child?

  12. Should every child be forced to make the same “responsible” decisions as other children in the class? Who decides?

  13. Are opposing decisions allowed or is there only one proficiency standard in SEL?

  14. How are these objectives taught if personal goals and parental taught beliefs are different from the standard? Should students be forced to change?

According to your reply you state that, “The District is not conducting research on children or assessing mental health.” I would disagree. A contract that I have retained says the opposite of your claims. For example, in contrast to your response to my letter of Sept., 2018, grant no.SM062076-01  between SAMSHA and Antioch University called Project AWARE, teachers are specifically being trained to implement behavioral/ mental health data collection and behavioral/ mental health interventions. The contract is very clear that the concept of social, emotional, and behavioral learning is completely mental health…the opposite of your reply to me.

D.  Project AWARE is very clear that the Tier 1 mental health program identifies children and uses this level of screening to refer children to Tier 2 and to Tier 3 as “Intervention Integrity.”

 

  1. Please clarify why your reply omits these practices as universal screening on ALL CHILDREN using Tier 1, and a recycling system of more intensive interventions for Tier 2, and Tier 3 using the techniques sometimes called Response to Interventions, Positive Behavior Intervention and Supports, and/or Multi-Tiered Systems Of Support?

  2. Are these programs considered mental health? If not, what do you consider them when the project states that they are mental health?

  3. Is this not identifying children with mental health or behavioral problems where

     private and sensitive data is collected on a child?

  1. Please explain Intervention Integrity?

  2. Please explain why your reply conflicts with the NH grant?

  3. Please clarify why there is no information or transparency given to parents about data

    collection and mental health interventions?

F.  Please refer to the following quotes taken from an Antioch University grant about the implementation of the SAMSHA Project AWARE  grant:

“Implementation of a Multi-tiered System of Supports

Implementing NH’s Multi-Tiered System of Supports for Behavioral Health and Wellness (MTSS-B) is an important part of the strategy in each LEA to improve school safety, climate, and behavioral supports in NH. MTSS-B uses a systemic framework for integrating school behavioral health practices across all school levels. The MTSS-B model blends research-based school mental health practices with the Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) framework outlined by the U.S. DOE’s Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP; see http://www.pbis.org). PBIS is an evidence-based, multi-tiered prevention approach that teaches school-wide behavior expectations at the universal level (Tier 1), offers targeted group support for at-risk students (Tier 2), and provides intensive, individual services for the highest-need students (Tier 3).

We emphasized MTSS-B fidelity assessment this year. Fidelity has to do with intervention integrity – the degree to which a practice is implemented in a way that is faithful to the guiding model. Implementers tend to unwittingly “drift” from an intervention model in the absence of fidelity assessment. Assessing fidelity also helps make sense of outcomes. For instance, if project outcomes are poor, but fidelity is strong, we would tend to suspect that other factors were the prime contributors to the disappointing results (Schoenwald, Garland, Chapman, Frazier, Sheidow, & Southam-Gerow, 2011). We encouraged NH LEAs to assess implementation at all three tiers of the PBIS framework, to encourage adherence to the model and support reflection and quality improvement. We have reported our initial fidelity assessment results in the Findings and Results section, below.”

 

  1. What criteria is used to determine improvement of students in social, emotional, and behavioral techniques?

  2. How are teachers monitored that they are doing the “right” interventions?

  3. What does “faithful to the guiding model” mean?

  4. If teachers are “drifting” from the Model, how can you be sure that no damage is being done to children?

  5. What happens to teachers if they are NOT “faithful to the guiding model?”

  6. What are the risks involved for this experimental mental health conditioning to fidelity? What do you think a disclosure should say to parents about risks involved?

  7. Are teachers comfortable implementing techniques that change behavior/personalities outside of their subject area certification??

  8. Are these programs initiated without giving parents full disclosures of risks involved?

  9. What if parents disagree with these programs?

  10. Why weren’t parents told about the impact on their children’s lives or given a choice?

When referring to credentials of teachers collecting data or identifying children for interventions in Tier 2 and Tier 3 in the implementation of social, emotional, and mental health programming, perhaps the issue of truth, fairness, and transparency would be most important to the parents.  Perhaps we should also ask if it is legal to access our children for psychological experimental research.

 

  1. When teachers are being trained in “fidelity” to identify, track, and implement 3 tiers of mental health behavioral conditioning with NO written permissions and NO disclosures of the dangers involved, have any teachers questioned the appropriateness of these programs?

  2. Are teachers able to opt out of the professional development in RTI, PBIS, OR MTSS?

  3. Why has this experimental research been approved behind secret marketing policies where parents were locked out of the true information?

  4. Is this parent engagement or are you overriding parental influence and creating a psychological dossier for each child?

  5. How do you know that these behavioral techniques are being applied appropriately?

  6. Are teachers certified to identify children with serious mental health issues and then implement interventions without a professional license?

  7. Why are parents not told about the mental health techniques used in the classroom?

  8. These experimental teacher in-service  techniques appear to be glossed over with marketing “parent engagement” propaganda. Please explain why this step in protecting our children has been totally ignored?

  9. How many SEL grants and how many millions of dollars for teacher training SEL programs have been ushered into New Hampshire?

  10. Is it possible to consider that the federal government is collecting Psychometric Dossiers on families, exactly what Facebook is being sued for when using Cambridge Analytica to collect Psychometric Dossiers on Facebook users?

Your comment stating, “The District does not provide treatment to students and does not have any records that are responsive to this request,” is in contrast to multiple grants and contractors doing experimental research in mental health on Laconia children.

The PBIS teacher training, Positive Behavior Intervention and Supports In the Office of Student Wellness describe the three tiered system that envelops ALL children through Universal  screening also. The Wellness ToolKit screens and identifies all children to identify more children for intensive intervention through tier 2 and 3. The premise that prevention is used to screen all children for mental health problems is beyond comprehension. Normal children may be tagged with a mental health problem because of over-anxious teachers wanting to perform fidelity to the rules or more. Who knows? Are there protections for teacher overreach?

 

H.  In all fairness to parents and elected officials, we must will ask why this is being

     done and how it will affect our children in the future.

  1. What sort of coding is being placed on a child’s student education record that would identify a mental health or behavioral condition in an SEL program?

  2. Are DSM V codes used to identify a child with a mental health problem?

  3. Are schools in New Hampshire preparing to bill Medicaid for the social, emotional, and behavioral practices in mental health? Has billing begun in Laconia?

  4. Is this the reason our children are being coded with mental health disabilities?

  5. Will children be coded for serious emotional disturbance as a disability because of the social, emotional, and behavioral programming brought about by CASEL and SAMSHA?

  6. What are the future implications of having a mental health disability code on a child’s permanent record?

  7. When researching all aspects of RTI, PBIS, and MTSS it appears that all techniques used to train teachers and interventions for identifying children with behavioral disabilities are the same. Please clarify why Project AWARE uses all 3  techniques but does not differentiate between how teachers are being trained and how children are identified for mental health interventions?

Your comment about the schools not screening for mental health, is not true. It appears the  school district has not been up front with parents. Their children are being used for research. Data is being collected on personality traits and mental health behaviors.

Professional ethical protocols require informed consent when researching, assessing and treating subjects.  In this case, children would need their parents or guardians to consent. Ignoring these ethical boundaries would result in forfeiture of license in the private sector. (http://www.apa.org/ethics/code/ Section 9 Assessment).

IRB approval is contingent on having a protocol which includes the data will be stored and secured. Parents need to see how their child’s personal data has been secured and the protocol if the data are compromised. IRB also requires individuals with diminished autonomy to be entitled to protection. They also require that individuals enter into research voluntarily with adequate information. Children do not have the capacity to make those decisions, therefore, ethically, parental consent would be required. ( https://hso.research.uiowa.edu/summary-belmont-report Summary of the Belmont Report)

I am also sending these questions  as well as my request for all FERPA written agreements, MOU’s, or contracts, to Commissioner Frank Edelblut, Governor  Sununu, and the Attorney General. I am requesting the names and purposes of the experimental mental health research from all researchers, universities, foundations, or businesses, or others.  My question to them would be to investigate why third party contractors have access and may receive personally identifiable information including personality profiles and personal Social, Emotional, and Behavioral data on our children in New Hampshire WITHOUT informed written parental consent. AND, why these contractors have access to our children in the classroom for experimental research without the knowledge or consent of parents.

I will be looking forward to your reply.

Ann Marie Banfield
Education Liaison, Cornerstone Action


Sources:

https://www.nhstudentwellness.org/uploads/5/3/9/0/53900547/nh_mtss-b_decsription_osw_april_2017.pdf

https://www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/NSDUH-DSM5ImpactChildSED-2016.pdf

Wellness Innovation: https://www.nhstudentwellness.org/innovation.html

Wellness ToolKit: https://www.nhstudentwellness.org/toolkit.html

Wellness Checklist: https://www.nhstudentwellness.org/uploads/5/3/9/0/53900547/mtss-b_readiness_checklist__003_.doc

December 3, 2018

Dear Ms. Banfield:

I acknowledge receipt of your November 28, 2018 email, which contained numerous requests for information, portions of which seek documents under NH RSA 91-A.  We anticipate that it will take us approximately 30 days for our office to conduct the research necessary to determine the extent to which we have documents that are responsive and not exempt under 91-A:5, and then produce them.  I will contact you when these records are ready for your review and inspection.  Please note that if you would like copies of any records, the District charges 25 cents per page for photocopies.

Sincerely, 

Brendan Minnihan
=============================================================
December 27, 2018
Dear Ms. Banfield:

I have attached the documents that are associated with the Right to Know Law.  I will also provide some brief comments relative to a few of your other questions.

Under Section A, Question 5, I have attached documents relative to the behavior matrices used in each of our schools.

Under Section A, Question 6, I have attached documents relative to MOUs we hold with the University of New Hampshire and Antioch University.

Under Section B, the Laconia School District was not a party to the grant of which you reference.  Laconia received an LEA version of Project Aware but it ended already and was used to provide training to staff on Youth Mental Health First Aid (YMHFA).

 Under Section C, Laconia is not a part of the CASEL FRAMEWORK.

 Under Section D, Laconia is not a part of the Project AWARE grant that you reference.

 Under Section F, Laconia is not a part of the Project AWARE grant that you reference.

 Under Section H, at this time the Laconia School District does not bill Medicaid for social, emotional, and behavioral practices in mental health.  Medicaid is only billed for eligible services under IDEA.

 In working with our legal counsel, it has been determined that the other questions contained in your email dated November 28, 2018 are not responsive documents under the Right to Know law. 

 Sincerely,

 Brendan Minnihan

LHS Pride Matrix

LMS Behavior Matrix

LMS PBIS Staff Handbook

Minor-Major Defintions

New Matrix – 2017

NHSoC Laconia Data Sharing Agreement 2018-09-28

NHSoC Laconia DSA Just Sig page 2018-10-18

2018-19 Green Form

2018 Green Form + CONNECT

WHS PBIS Info

Laconia UNH Data Sharing Agreement d2018

ESS Behavior Matrix
================================================================

December 27, 2018

Superintendent Minnihan,

The documentation you provided indicates that informed consent was not required when collecting or sharing mental health data on Laconia students with UNH and Antioch University. In addition, you indicate in your reply, In working with our legal counsel, it has been determined that the other questions contained in your email dated November 28, 2018 are not responsive documents under the Right to Know law.”  
I will also be seeking professional and legal advice based on your refusal to provide answers to specific questions included in my RTK. 
 
Dr. Gary Thompson, founder of Early Child Life Child Psychology and Education Center, was copied on this email, provided me with a response to your documentation. Please see below. 
 
At this time, I will provide this information to the Attorney General for his review. Please share the letter I sent to Governor Sununu with your legal counsel, school board members and parents in the district, since it includes a list of federal laws that the district may have violated, in addition to a possible violation of the recently passed Constitutional Amendment. 
Sincerely
Ann Marie Banfield
=====

From Dr. Gary Thompson:

Dear Ms. Banfield:

 
The MYSS-B framework for this District is clear and present evidence that data gathering, as well as mental health clinical interventions are being performed without the informed written consent of parents.    
 
I cannot emphasis the dangers associated with providing mental health behavioral interventions to young students/teens who have not been properly assessed and screened by licensed mental health clinicians who have expertise in screening for potential Comorbid psychological diagnostic issues, that may be triggered by well meaning, but non clinically trained teachers and school counselors.     
 
For vulnerable clinical populations, the negative effects of being subjected to therapeutic interventions may manifest themselves in settings outside of school (e.g. “the home”).      Parents MUST be FULLY informed of all mental health interventions and “therapy” being performed on their children so that they can effectively partner with the schools/providers, or be the first line of defense when said interventions cause a “meltdown” in the home.     
 
In closing, as a “local clinical community scientist”,  I am professionally impressed with your source based research into this issue.   The “eduspeak” answers provided to your reasonable queries given to the District lack basis in fact, truthfulness, and ethical disclosure.      
Best regards;  
===

Dear Governor Sununu,

I am contacting you on behalf of children in the state of New Hampshire about the data mining and the release of personally identifiable information which includes mental health social, emotional, and behavioral data.  Our children are being universally diagnosed for mental health interventions in the classrooms of New Hampshire. These techniques are widespread in our state without giving parents informed written parental consent and any disclosure of harmful effects.

I have included in this letter an attachment with questions to the Commissioner of Education and the Attorney General concerning the legality of psychological and psychiatric assessments and treatment in violation of the Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment and SEC. 4001 in ESSA, for Parental Informed Written Consent. Mental health identification and interventions in social, emotional, and behavioral programs are being initiated WITHOUT informed written parental consent. Many marketing propaganda materials are used to “engage” parents to agree to these conditioning concepts without truthfully explaining the appropriate meaning to such techniques and the future impact of their children with mental health coding on their records.

I have attached a list of possible violations that must be investigated to sort out the illegalities of data mining, data sharing and mental health treatment that is being implemented in New Hampshire without the informed written consent of parents.

I am also including information from correspondence between myself, school administrators in New Hampshire and, researchers at Plymouth State University.  They will reveal the practice of assessing, diagnosing, treating children and sharing this sensitive data with vendors and researchers.

Teachers in New Hampshire have revealed to me their discomfort with their new role and admit, they are not educated or qualified to treat students.  Yet, that’s exactly what they are now required to do in the name of social and emotional learning.

With the recent passage of the amendment to the New Hampshire Constitution that states,  “An individual’s right to live free from governmental intrusion in private or personal information is natural, essential and inherent,” this also applies to students attending public schools in New Hampshire. 

I am requesting that you intervene immediately.  Please request that the Attorney General call a halt to educational data mining activities, and force compliance with all privacy laws for the protection of our children in New Hampshire. Informed written parental consent must be initiated, with penalties for violating our children’s’ privacy through data mining or sharing of personal information.

I will be looking forward to your reply,

Ann Marie Banfield
Education Liaison, Cornerstone Action

Violations of Privacy Laws and Data Mining Personal Data on Children

Data Tracking: Collection of PII (Personally Identifiable Information) on babies, children, and teachers identified with a unique national ID, contracted by Institute for Educational Sciences, NCES/IES. Compliance to Obama’s FERPA Executive Order 12866 expanding FERPA to collect and share data.

Data Trafficking: Release Of Personally Identifiable Information, PII, to 3rd Party Contractors: State DOE’s and local schools are able to enter into written agreements with businesses, foundations, higher education, and other Departments, releasing PII because of the loopholes in FERPA, (Family Education Rights and Privacy Act) that redefine school officials. PII, Social,Emotional Behavioral Data, and “womb to workforce” data, is freely given to 3rd party contractors through written agreements contracted by each state DOE.

Treatment, Interventions, Psychological Abuse: ESSA mandates PII collected on attitudes, values, beliefs, and dispositions (grit) carried out by IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act). All students, birth through college-aged students are identified under Title I for social, emotional, and behavioral change, Child Find. Techniques defined in ESSA include mental health interventions: Positive Behavior intervention and Supports, Response To Intervention, Multi-Tiered System Of Supports, Universal Design For Learning which are performed WITHOUT informed written parental consent.

Privacy Violations: Sharing and Re-Disclosure of PII continues, including data collected on attitudes, values, beliefs, and dispositions, without the knowledge or consent of parents. Directory information is cross-referenced with a unique national ID aligned with teacher collected social/emotional behavioral data collected on the local level. No privacy disclosures are used. Children are being used as a commodity.

Violations Under ESSA, Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment, PPRA: Violations under Title I school-wide through the use of psychiatric, psychological examination, assessment, evaluation, or testing; Psychiatric or psychological treatment/interventions deceptively used in classrooms without the knowledge, disclosure, or written permission of parents. ESSA forbids mental health screening without consent, yet the abuse continues.

Civil Rights Violations: Interventions, treatment, and re-education of attitudes, values, dispositions, and beliefs of children are profound violations of 1st Amendment protections of our God-given right to “right of conscience” and the 4th Amendment protection of our God-given right “to be secure in their persons.”
                                                            
Public Law 103-33, General Education Provisions Act, Sec 438: Federal Government is supervising and directing curriculum creating a “model national curriculum” and a national test. NCES/IES evaluates and monitors students, teachers, funding, principals, schools, districts, and states for mental health data.

Malpractice and Maltreatment of Children and Babies by Teachers and Preschool Caregivers: Teachers/preschool caregivers, (exceeding their professional certifications), are required to screen, evaluate, perform anecdotal behavioral assessments, conditioning, and implement mental health remediation of the child’s attitudes, values, beliefs, and dispositions called social, emotional learning to comply with global initiatives under ESSA. Standards defined by Department of Labor SCANS Report, create the process of  “supply-chain management to humans.” This system sets up schools to begin Medicaid reimbursements. All Illegal.
=========

See also:
The Legality/Illegality of Mental Health Treatment for Students in the Merrimack School District

Ann Marie Banfield currently volunteers as the Education Liaison for Cornerstone Action in New Hampshire. She has been researching education reform for over a decade and actively supports parental rights, literacy and academic excellence in k-12 schools. You can contact her at: [email protected]