Over the years, local public schools have lost more autonomy than anyone is aware of. So much of what we see failing our public schools comes from education reforms that have been mandated in our public schools. You might be surprised to learn that much what the Feds want to control in our schools,  comes through State laws.  The Feds prescribe and the State facilitates.

The latest federal initiative is to turn local schools into mental health clinics for your children. There are so many concerns that parents should have including; privacy of sensitive data, less time for academics, watered down consequences for students exhibiting violent behavior, unqualified personnel and teachers administering mental health services, etc.

HB 1558-FN is the latest effort to regulate behavior and discipline in our local schools using reforms that come from the Federal Government.

MTSS-B is an acronym for Multi-Tiered-System of Support. MTSS-B is a mental health program now in many public schools throughout New Hampshire. MTSS-B utilizes and requires schools to follow a prescribed tiered system of behavior supports. It’s a one-size fits all program but has no independent peer-reviewed studies that show any success.  MTSS-B came through a federal grant: SAMSHA. The feds first bribed their way into the local school and, now the state is going to facilitate a complete take over on issues involving your child’s mental health and behavior.

Antioch University was given the responsibility of collecting data on some of your kids in an effort to track their mental health. Many parents have no idea because Superintendents refused to secure parental consent.  If you look at the literature from Antioch University, you will see that this is NOT an un-biased independent and peer-reviewed study.  (https://www.antioch.edu/new-england/resources/centers-institutes/center-behavioral-health-innovation/nh-safe-schools-healthy-students/?fbclid=IwAR3PTfSfv9BFZoS4yTo-0x9OzIR6nj9FQlkEnZW41RFOHfNRPuf5jNwfYmA) Antioch was given the federal $ dollars to track student data on mental health and then present their findings. Except on something this important it should be an independent study and peer reviewed. Their findings look more like a marketing package.

Whether MTSS-B is good for your school district or not, this is not something that should be in any state law. School districts need guidance, they don’t need mandates. They need flexibility and, in some cases, they need to impose tougher consequences on some students.

We all saw what happened in Parkland, Florida when there were outsiders pushing for more lenient measures.

HB 1558-FN seems to take on the role of making it easier for students who’ve been involved in violence and sexual assault to mainstream back into your child’s classroom. Would you know if your daughter was seated next to a student who’s committed sexual assault on another girl? NO. And under this law, they are making it easier to mainstream those students back into New Hampshire schools without any regard to your child’s safety.

HB 1558-FN has already moved through the New Hampshire House and Senate. The Senate added an amendment to the Bill so it must go back to the House for another vote.

I fear that we are moving in the same direction that Parkland moved before the tragedy that engulfed that district.

At this point it’s critical that parents contact their local State Representatives and tell them to vote against HB 1558-FN. It has the potential to put children in danger. It would also be a good time to call Governor Sununu’s Office and let him know that he needs to VETO  HB 1558-FN if it comes to his desk. 603-271-2121

It is NOT ok to put students in danger for any reason.

Ann Marie Banfield has been researching education and working as an activist for over a decade. She has traveled to Concord to lobby on behalf of parental rights and literacy. Working with experts in education from across the country, she offers valuable insight into problems and successes in education. She holds a B.A. in Business Management from Franklin University in Columbus Ohio. Ann Marie and her husband have three children and reside in Hampton, NH