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The good news is that the Sandy Hook Advisory Commission’s report finally will be released sometime in February. The bad news is that one can only wonder, after more than two years of considering “all” of the data, what additional information about Sandy Hook shooter, Adam Lanza, can be withheld from the people of Connecticut.
So far Lanza’s complete autopsy, medical and toxicology reports have been withheld from public review, as have his school and mental health records. Sure, the State Police released its report, which provides zero information about Lanza’s mental health history for the five years leading up to the shooting, and the public also has been provided a “story,” albeit confused and incomplete, by the Connecticut Office of the Child Advocate (OCA). But the only thing these reports have in common is the deliberate withholding of actual documentation to support the conclusions.
Now the Sandy Hook Commission intends to sell some narrative of events that “was really, really hard work,” that apparently will justify recommendations for massive increases in mental illness identification and treatment that, according to Commission Chairman, Jackson, “frankly will take a lot of effort and money to implement.”
Let’s not kid ourselves; the focus of the Commission always has been to recommend increased screening to identify mental illness in the schools. And, apparently, the Commission will recommend school-based psychological and social work teams that can recognize and react to mental health needs in children. In short, that equates to mental illness diagnosing and drugging.
This despite the fact that there is absolutely no data provided to the public that Adam Lanza had any mental health needs in the five years leading up to the shooting and, if he did, it certainly wasn’t the responsibility of the Connecticut school system to track him once he left the system.
In fact, the information provided by the OCA report is so convoluted that it’s difficult to follow, let alone believe. For example, Lanza’s educational and mental health records were reviewed and interviews were conducted with counselors, teachers and even Peter Lanza, yet despite more than a hundred pages of explanations of how the system dropped the ball with Lanza, nowhere does it make mention that despite his paralyzing mental illnesses, Lanza still made the Honor Roll from the eighth through the eleventh grade and graduated a year early.
How is it possible that everyone involved in the OCA report, including Lanza’s father, could miss this important information? Did anyone at the OCA actually review his school records? If the records were reviewed, then one can only surmise there was a deliberate withholding of any mention of Lanza’s superior academic achievements. Why?
But even this missing information is, well, academic. Based on what was provided in the OCA report, one can also assume that the Commission’s recommendations will provide no sanctions or penalties for the newly-formed army of psychologists and social workers who may fail the children and families of Connecticut.
In other words, there is no doubt, according to the OCA report, that the IEP “team” responsible for tracking Adam Lanza’s academic and psychological needs failed in their duties. The “team” did not follow the state statutes already on the books. Will there be some form of disciplinary action taken for such failures moving forward? The OCA made no such recommendations.
More importantly, what recommendations will the Commission provide to protect families from over-reaching and intrusive mental health providers? Given the fact that mental illness diagnosing is not based in science or medicine, making it completely subjective, will the Commission provide the parents of Connecticut some avenue of recourse?
It seems a legitimate recommendation. After all, if the state intends to gouge taxpayers for the mental illness services in its schools, then the state also must be prepared to accept responsibility for its failures. Given the known flaws in psychiatric diagnosing, there will be many.
Thomas Insel, the Director of the National Institute of Mental Health, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), psychiatry’s diagnosing manual, said “the weakness is its lack of validity” and “at best, a dictionary, creating a set of labels and defining each.”
Or maybe it was Dr. Allen Frances, professor emeritus of psychiatry, Duke University, and chairman of the task force to revise the DSM-IV, who said it best. The DSM5 “will dramatically expand the realm of psychiatry and narrow the realm of normality – converting millions more people from being without mental disorders to being psychiatrically sick.”
If the state accepts the Commission’s reported recommendations there is little doubt that the number of school children being labeled as mentally ill will skyrocket. This psychiatric onslaught of the state’s children seems odd given the fact that it has yet to be explained how the school system is responsible for the actions of a former student, five years after graduating from the system.