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In the immediate weeks after the mass murder and suicide at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut that left 20 first graders and seven adults dead, Governor Malloy selected 16 experts to make recommendations, many of whom have ties with the behavioral health industry and Yale Child Study Center, the last place Adam Lanza was treated.
Their task according to the New York Times article, Members of Newtown Shootings Panel Recall Toll Their Work Took, by Kristin Hussey, published on March 3, 2005, was “to examine the event.”
The two years of 29 closed sessions to the public were televised where selective “stakeholders” were invited to participate. The carefully scripted agenda did not focus on any material or physical evidence.
The first guest speaker invited by the Sandy Hook Advisory Commission (SHAC) was Former Colorado Governor Bill Ritter. Governor Ritter did not discuss the mental health records of 18-year-old Eric Harris and his accomplice, Dylan Klebold who killed 12 students and a teacher and wounded 26 others before killing themselves in the Columbine High School massacre, a school shooting that occurred on April 20, 1999, at Columbine High School in Columbine.
Harris was on the antidepressant Luvox. Klebold’s medical records remain sealed. Both shooters had been in anger-management classes and had undergone counseling. Harris had been seeing a psychiatrist before the shooting. Source: Citizen’s Commission on Human Rights.
The state police report, toxicology, autopsy, ballistics reports, and educational records were not incorporated within the hearings or incorporated in the recommendations. The public was denied access to this critical information.
The public only had access to a fragmented 6,700 page police report that is often referred to in pharmaceutical litigation as a “data dump.”
The Sandy Hook Commission at one point criticized the State Police Report in the Connecticut Post.
“But there is one problem: the recently released State Police report the panel must rely on to understand the crime is all but indecipherable, some members of the Sandy Hook Advisory Commission say. Indeed, the report is so disorganized that the commission has sought the help of a Hartford law firm to turn the 6,700 page file — an online collection of hundreds of individual documents, without a table of contents or index — into a searchable database. “I think all of us have gone into the document pages and were just never quite sure whether we missed something or have gotten to the thing that matters most to us,” said Hamden Mayor Scott Jackson, chairman of the commission.”
The 6,700 pages were never indexed or placed in a searchable database as promised by the Commission. In fact, AbleChild had to pressure the Governor’s office to release the name of the legal firm that offered it’s services pro-bono.
Furthermore, according to the New York Times article, “The Sandy Hook experts were struck by a common denominator in mass shootings: the killer’s lack of social connectedness.”
It is easy to illustrate the common denominator with the material evidence that has been disclosed for multiple school shootings, which is more likely the mental health “treatment” itself, the mind-altering drugs.
According to the Citizen’s Commission on Human Rights who published documents showing between 1988 and January, 2013, there have been at least 31 school-related acts of violence committed by those taking or withdrawing from psychiatric drugs resulting in 162 wounded and 72 killed.
The Newtown Panel is expected to deliver their final report to the Governor, Friday, March 6, 2015. We know from the New York Times article, that one panel member took a trip to Japan to deal with producing the long awaited report, while another panel member compared Adam Lanza and all children’s lack of social connectedness and isolation, as serious as taking a lethal dose of heroin in their bedrooms. Very dramatic! Where are the facts to support such a comparison? This type of “expert” authoritarian fear tactics erode informed consent protections for parents.
AbleChild has joined forces with 8 other parent right organizations to oppose these bizarre recommendations given without supporting documentation.
In addition, AbleChild wants to clarify that PA 13-3 was passed before the state police report was released to the lawmakers as well as to the general public.
Within PA 13-3 legislation is a program called “mental health first aid.” Mental health first aid provides training to teachers to screen and identify children without parental consent or the right to refuse. This legislation was passed without open public meetings and is funded by a Presidential Executive Order. In addition within that legislation was a mandate for a “taskforce” that believes the state policy should be just “shy of forced medication.” AbleChild strongly opposes PA 13-3.
AbleChild wants to point out that these screenings are subjective and lack science. Adam Lanza was identified and screened by Danbury Hospital and released as not a harm to himself or others. He was also provided “mental health treatment” at Yale Child Study Center. How does one return deadly mental health treatment and get a refund?
Robin Smith’s son, Kyle, was featured on the September of 2013 Anderson Cooper show to illustrate the dangers associated with synthetic marijuana and other street drugs. Robin also met with the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and shared Kyle’s story to educate the agency on the crisis facing teenagers today.
The Anderson Cooper report, along with Kyle’s story, helped the DEA enter into a dialogue with the Chinese importers to address the deadly synthetic drugs flooding the US market. Robin’s efforts in sharing Kyle’s experience, clearly had a very powerful impact.
In the aftermath, Robin sought the best mental health care for Kyle for his recovery from the severe adverse reaction experienced from using the synthetic drug. So where is Kyle now and how is he doing? Robin asked AbleChild if she could share Kyle’s “treatment” regiment, which includes multiple psychiatric drugs.
“My name is Robin and I am a Maryland resident. This story is about my nineteen year old son Kyle.
In April 2010 Kyle became sick after ingesting the designer street drug “synthetic marijuana”. He immediately started with psychosis and paranoia. We took him to the local emergency room, where we learned from him what he had done. He was moved to a psychiatric hospital the next day and was started on five different psychiatric medications.
Boy, how I wish I knew then what I know now. I am certain I would not be here telling you of our horrific nightmare. His journey since then has been one that I would not wish on another soul. I watched as the “psychiatric world” turned my once handsome athletic son into one of the sickest persons I have ever known.
This is what has happened to him since…………… To date: He has been hospitalized THIRTY SIX (36) times, with very long stays in inpatient hospitals and Residential Treatment Facilities. Many doctors telling us that he was one of the sickest patients on their unit. He has undergone TWENTY EIGHT (28) ELECTRICAL SHOCK THERAPY PROCEDURES, all because of his body being in delirium from all the heavy dosages of antipsychotic medications. He has tried TEN (10) times in trying to commit suicide, two being almost fatal. He has been on THIRTY PLUS (30) heavy psychotic medications, to many to list.
He has had every psychiatric diagnosis available from Bipolar to schizophrenia. I believe he does not have any of them. He has been looked at, probed, tested, been four point restrained on numerous hospital stays to his bed because of the delirium and their (doctor’s fear) of him hurting himself, banged his head for a solid week on a hospital concrete wall which resulted in frontal lobe damage, was assaulted by other patients and has been asked a thousand questions by at least FORTY psychiatrists. He lost all of his High School years. I didn’t get to see my son graduate or have his senior picture taken.
But the saddest part of this story is watching my once vibrant child turn into a sad, non-functioning person. Our dreams for his future are dulled by the constant reminder of what the psych world has done to him and what he has lost. I live in fear every day that I will get that call that he has finally succeeded in taking his life.
I continue to persevere in advocating for Kyle and my hopes are that I can find the help needed in getting him better and back to living his life. That is my only wish. I welcome any help, questions or words of encouragement. Thank you!”
Why is the Sandy Hook Advisory Commission excluding the murder victim, Nancy Lanza, in its “dedication?”
The people deserve a fact-based report on the evidence, not a white-washed narrative to cover up the failures of the Yale Child Study Center, Dr. Paul Fox, and Dr. Robert King and their involvement with Nancy Lanza.
Likely, the Sandy Hook Advisory Commission believes the taxpayers are not smart enough to understand how this mass murder/suicide has been twisted into a marketing blitz, with a focus on increased mental health services.
Obviously, the state believes it is necessary to pick and choose whom to release information, and doesn’t believe the taxpayer is smart enough to weigh all the facts and come to their own conclusions.
This seems like a waste of time, money, and effort as public safety falls to the side.
The full-court press is on for increasing mental health services for children in the state, with a price tag of $400 million, so far. Given that there is zero science to support any psychiatric diagnosis being an actual brain abnormality, one can only surmise that mental illness will skyrocket and the $400 million is a drop in the bucket of the actual costs. This time around will there be any real accountability?
As has become the norm, the Sandy Hook shooting incident is invoked in order to justify the massive increases, despite the public having no documentation to support that Adam Lanza was not receiving, or that he even needed, mental health treatment in the five years leading up to the shooting. To date, no documentation has been made public that would suggest Lanza was, or was not, receiving mental health treatment beyond the brief and unsuccessful stint at the Yale Child Study Center in 2007.
To assume that the children of Connecticut need increased mental health treatment and services, because of what occurred at Sandy Hook, simply is not supported by factual documentation. In fact, because no information about Lanza’s mental health, after 2007, has been made public, why isn’t it just as likely to assume he was receiving the best mental health services money could buy?
More interesting, though, is the fact that the enormous increase in mental health spending does little, to nothing, to provide any accountability of where and how the money will be spent. As far as AbleChild is aware, there is no legislative language that will make any data readily available to taxpayers interested in following the hefty mental health expenditures.
Is it of interest to the taxpayers whether there is a large increase in the number of children being diagnosed with a subjective psychiatric diagnosis? Is it of interest how many of the children newly diagnosed are then prescribed dangerous, even deadly, psychiatric drugs as “treatment?” Furthermore, without some kind of data collection system, how will the state actually know if the funding is going toward the intended purpose?
The state is not known for its willingness to make important information publically available, as is evident in the clamp-down on any specific mental health data relating to Sandy Hook shooter, Adam Lanza. Even when language is written into legislation, mandating data be publically accessible, there is no follow-through.
For example, Public Act 06-196* became effective in June of 2006. The Act mandated that the Department of Children and Families shall, within available resources and with the assistance of the University of Connecticut Health Center:
To date, AbleChild is unaware of any database that would readily provide the information subject to the Act. Why? The public should not have to spend hours, or days, hunting through every state agency to obtain this important information… or whether the database even exists. And this Act has been around for nearly a decade.
Based on what clearly is a failure on the part of state agencies to track this information, what makes taxpayers believe there will be a “better” accounting of the $400 million allocated for new mental health services?
After all, by anyone’s measure, $400 million is a lot of money. Certainly the public deserves some accounting of how the money is spent. Along with all the hype associated with the new mental health services programs, will lawmakers act responsibly and institute a program that will actually track the numbers of children being diagnosed and drugged? And, more importantly, will that information be made publically available on a yearly basis?
Don’t count on it. The state is great at telling the taxpayer what mental health services are needed, but it has a pathetic track record when it comes to accounting for the hundreds-of-millions spent on mental health services.
* Public Act 04-238
An Act Concerning Child Poverty and the Use of Psychotropic Medications with Children and Youth in State Care
Sec. 17a-21a. Guidelines for use and management of psychotropic medications. Database established. The Department of Children and Families shall, within available resources and with the assistance of The University of Connecticut Health Center, (1) establish guidelines for the use and management of psychotropic medications with children and youths in the care of the Department of Children and Families, and (2) establish and maintain a database to track the use of psychotropic medications with children and youths committed to the care of the Department of Children and Families.
(P.A. 04-238, S. 2; P.A. 06-196, S. 112.)
History: P.A. 06-196 made technical changes, effective June 7, 2006.
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.
Look at Psychiatric Drugs, Not Subjective Mental Illness Labels.
AbleChild is fascinated by the “logic” behind New Canaan Police Department’s recent flip-flop regarding firearm permits based on mental health records.
The entire debacle initially was sold as a public safety issue with New Canaan Police Chief Leon Krolikowski arguing that there was grave concern about “gun violence that has occurred in our state as a direct result of individuals that are mentally ill possessing firearms.” Krolikowski reported that he did not have access to the Department of Health & Addiction Services database and, therefore, could not issue temporary state permits.
Within a day of that announcement, Krolikowski reversed his stand when he reported that, unbeknownst to him, police actually do have access to an applicant’s mental health history through the state police department.
What is of interest, though, is Krolikowski’s remarks about the gun violence that has occurred in the state as a result of the mentally ill possessing firearms. Krolikowski did not provide specific information about the number of mentally ill possessing firearms or, for that matter, what mental illnesses were involved.
Is Krolikowski referring to the Sandy Hook Shooting and Adam Lanza? If so, no permits for the firearms used at the Sandy Hook shooting were issued to Adam Lanza. Additionally, neither of Adam Lanza’s mental health issues would have precluded him from obtaining a firearm permit. Adding insult to injury, the State of Connecticut has refused to make public Lanza’s mental health records. Worse still, Lanza’s psychiatrist, Dr. Paul Fox, destroyed his records without any repercussion. Simply put, there is no way for law enforcement (or anyone) to know whether Lanza had some unknown mental illness that would have precluded his obtaining a permit.
While AbleChild supports any effort to protect public safety, it seems there are other actions that could be taken by Connecticut’s law enforcement personnel that may prove more effective in understanding what actually may be behind the increased violence in the state. For example, rather than collect information about an applicant’s mental illness label, law enforcement may find it more advantageous to collect data about the “treatment” being prescribed.
There is overwhelming evidence that psychiatric drugs, prescribed to “treat” mental illness, cause violent behavior. In fact there are twenty-two international drug regulatory warnings that cite psychiatric drugs causing violent behavior, including mania, hostility, violence, aggression and homicidal/suicidal ideation.
Between 2004 and 2012, there were nearly 15,000 reports to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) MedWatch system on psychiatric drugs causing violent side effects, including more than fifteen hundred cases of homicidal ideation/homicide, 3,287 cases of mania and more than eight thousand cases of aggression.
Furthermore, according to a 2011 study from the Institute for Safe Medication Practices, published in the journal PloS One, and based on data provided by the FDA’s MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting System, 31 drugs were linked to reports of violent behavior. Nine of these were psychiatric drugs prescribed to “treat” mental illness, including the antidepressants prestig, Effexor, Luvox, Strattera, Paxil, Prozac and Chantix; Amphetamines used to treat ADHD; and the benzodiazepine, Halcion.
As the mental health industry most often prescribes psychiatric drugs for the “big four” “mental disorders,” which include depression, ADHD, bi-polar and schizophrenia, it would appear that having information about what is being prescribed is far more important than the psychiatric label.
Many states in the nation collect psychiatric drug data upon arrest and, if transferred to the county jail, processing must include this data, as the suspect will be provided the medication while awaiting trial. This data would provide a larger picture of those who are committing violent crime while being treated with a psychiatric drug and also would provide detail about which drugs are most implicated.
Denying Constitutional rights based on subjective psychiatric labels, which are not based in medicine or science, does little to protect public safety. One need only look at recent actions taken by the Russian government to restrict those with “gender identity disorders, disorders of sexual preference and psychological and behavioral disorders associated with sexual development and orientation” from driving in the country to see that restricting basic rights based on subjective psychiatric labeling is a slippery slope.
In the case of Connecticut, today, restrictions are imposed on those who have been labeled with a subjective mental illness and voluntarily or involuntarily committed. The question is whose rights will be restricted tomorrow? If law enforcement is really interested in what is causing the increase in violent crime, Ablechild believes that information can easily be obtained by looking at psychiatric drugs taken by those committing the crimes.
As is typical of “crisis management” by elected officials, the Connecticut legislature responded to the Sandy Hook tragedy without full knowledge of the facts of the incident with ill-advised mental health recommendations that do nothing to protect consumer rights.
In April of last year, the Task Force to Study the Provision of Behavioral Health Services for Young Adults, established pursuant to Public Act 13-3, put forth yet-to-be-approved mental health recommendations that, for all intents and purposes, would institute cradle to grave mental health diagnosing, yet provided no avenue for consumer input.
In other words, the public may be subjected to extremely intrusive mental health services, but will have no way to voice opposition to possible inaccuracies and wrongs committed by the service providers.
For example, the Task Force writes on page xi, number 45, that “…given the current understanding of mental illness to be a biological disease.” This is just wrong. The fact is there is no scientific/medical data to support this statement for any psychiatric diagnosis, including ADHD, depression, schizophrenia, or the alleged bi-polar disorder. Believing in, and having proof of, a psychiatric “disease” is two very different things.
However, regardless of the misinformation provided by the Task Force about what is and isn’t a mental “disease,” the recommendations, if instituted, do not provide consumers the ability to hold service providers responsible. What transpired between Nancy Lanza and the Yale Child Study Center actually is a good case in point.
Recall that Nancy Lanza sought treatment services for Adam Lanza at the Yale Child Study Center beginning in October 2006 – six years prior to the shooting incident. As part of the “treatment” provided, Adam was diagnosed by Yale as suffering from a “profound Autism Spectrum Disorder” and “obsessive compulsive disorder” and then was “treated” with the mind-altering antidepressant, Celexa.
Nancy Lanza “immediately” called the service provider at Yale Child Study Center, complaining about what she believed to be serious adverse reactions to the psychiatric drug. Specifically, Nancy Lanza advised Yale that Adam was “unable to raise his arm” and attributed this adverse reaction to the drug Adam had been prescribed.
Rather than take Lanza seriously and consider that the drug may be implicated in the adverse drug event, the Yale clinician “attempted to convince Nancy Lanza that the medication was not causing any purported symptoms which Adam might be experiencing” and labeled Lanza as “non-compliant.”
Was Nancy Lanza provided information about the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) MedWatch System? No. Had Lanza been provided this basic adverse drug reporting information, at a minimum, the FDA would have been given important information in the event of a future drug review.
Additionally, was Lanza advised by Yale Child Study Center that she could file a complaint with the Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH)? The record makes no mention of providing any such information.
And, to add insult to injury, there is the case of Dr. Paul Fox, Adam Lanza’s longtime psychiatrist who, ironically, six months prior to the shooting incident at Sandy Hook, voluntarily surrendered his license to practice in New York and Connecticut and destroyed his patient records prior to fleeing the U.S. to live in New Zealand.
Despite destroying all of his patient medical records and, in the case of Adam Lanza, Fox destroyed those records almost two years too early, there is absolutely no recourse. A clear violation of Connecticut State law, but no action is prescribed to deal with such flagrant violations. No fines, no penalty, nothing.
Dr. Paul Fox and even the clinicians at Yale Child Study Center are proof that consumers need an avenue of relief. AbleChild believes that lawmakers have a responsibility to provide some level of protection to consumers, especially in light of the overwhelming number of mental health recommendations being considered.
Particularly important is the recommendation listed on page xi, number 44, where it is the intent to scale up “Assertive Treatment Programs that provide aggressive outpatient services, shy of forced medication…”
Clearly the intent of the Task Force recommendations is to severely ramp up mental health “treatment,” which almost always includes psychiatric medication. Nowhere in these recommendations are suggestions for legislative measures that will provide consumers some avenue of relief, alternative treatment options, or information about reporting adverse reactions to prescribed drugs.
Ablechild takes exception to the increased mental health recommendations on a number of levels, including the fact that, given the numerous problems surrounding the mental health “care” Adam Lanza received, the State obviously cannot enforce the laws already on the books. Increasing mental health services without consumer protections in place certainly cannot be called responsible legislative action.
What are the odds that Adam Lanza could be so racked with anxiety and, effectively, be so emotionally and behaviorally paralyzed, that he also could academically match the best in his class? Information provided by the Connecticut Office of the Child Advocate (OCA) and the newspaper, The Newtown Bee, present very conflicting data about Adam Lanza’s academic abilities.
Let’s start with that odd year when Adam Lanza should have been in the eighth grade. Recall that the OCA reports that after his seventh grade year at the Catholic School, “He did not return to school, public or private, in eighth grade.”
Additionally, the OCA explains “the psychiatrist responded with a faxed note that AL was “medically/emotionally unavailable to be tested (CMT).” “According to the psychiatrist, AL could not and was not receiving home-bound or hospital-based tutoring and he was not attending school at all.” (Pg.43)
Okay, so according to the OCA, Adam Lanza was not attending school for the entirety of the eighth grade. This is curious. If Adam Lanza did not attend school for the entire eighth grade, how did he make the Honor Roll at Newtown Middle School for three semesters of the eighth grade? According to The Newtown Bee, Adam Lanza is listed on the eighth grade Honor Roll list for 03/03/2006, 5/11/2006 and 7/20/2006. And it gets even more absurd.
Although Adam Lanza did not participate in any schooling in the eighth grade, (but still made the eighth grade Honor Roll for three semesters) Lanza is allowed to enter the ninth grade at Newtown High School. In the ninth grade, the IEP “Team” wrote “requires removal of the student from the regular education environment because AL requires more intensive service than provided for in a general education classroom.” “However, the services offered were essentially 10 hours of academic tutoring.” (Pg. 61) Despite Lanza’s inability to attend school, according to the Newstimes, published on May 5, 2007 (the Spring of Adam’s ninth grade year) Adam Lanza made the Honor Roll.
According to the OCA, Adam Lanza is so paralyzed by his emotional and behavioral disabilities by the 10th grade that “school staff and Mrs. Lanza were well engaged with each other and making many efforts to accommodate and facilitate AL’s attendance in school.” (Pg. 64) But the other side to this story paints a very different picture. According to The Newtown Bee, Adam Lanza not only made the Honor Roll three consecutive semesters of his tenth grade year, but received “High Honors.” What are the odds?
According to the recently released report on Sandy Hook by the OCA, Adam Lanza “was originally scheduled (8/27/07) to take Sociology, AP U.S. History, AP Chemistry, AP Physics, English, Math, and Latin” for the upcoming 10th grade. But according to the OCA, it was a plan “which did not last beyond a few months.” (Pg. 65)
The OCA also reported that “by February of that school year AL had dropped most of his mainstream classes, including Sociology, History, Chemistry, and Physics and had arranged to complete English as an “independent study.” And, the OCA further said, “It became clear that the recommendations for full time participation in regular classes was a goal that could not be met at that time.” (Pg. 67)
The OCA also reports that “in March, Mrs. Lanza was again contemplating home-schooling AL, but worried that he would later be unable to show (a college?) all of his work with the Technology Club or work study. Summer of 2008 records indicate that AL was to receive Extended School Year Services (ESY), in the form of one-on-one tutoring from school staff.” (Pg.67)
The OCA did not elaborate – did not provide any information – on whether AL actually completed any school work through the ESY program, but does report that for the 11th grade “AL did not reenter mainstream classes in the High School again.” (Pg.68)
Now, let’s consider the names of those Newtown High School students, as reported and printed by The Newtown Bee, who made the “First Quarter Honor Roll,” which is dated 12/21/2007. Listed under “High Honors – Tenth Grade” is… Adam Lanza. What are the odds?
According to The Newtown Bee, “To be included students must be enrolled in five or more courses with a minimum of four courses in areas of study other than independent study and released work experience and have no incomplete grades.”
If the public is to believe the OCA report, Adam Lanza was so racked with anxiety in 10th grade that his educational plan “did not last beyond a few months.” Still, though, this emotionally tormented boy was able to pull off an “overall average of 90 or higher for the marking period and receive a grade of 85 or higher in each course used in determining the overall average.” Seems a stretch, but okay. What about the next semester?
According to The Newtown Bee, Adam Lanza also made the Honor Roll in the Second Quarter and, remarkably, also was listed in the Third Quarter as receiving the “Latin Award – Summa Cum Laude.” Again, all of this was accomplished by a kid whose educational plan for the year “did not last beyond a few months.”
It is beyond incredulous, given his reported emotional and behavioral problems at the time, that Adam Lanza was capable of carrying off such an academic feat, but it is even more astounding that the OCA, after two years of painstakingly combing through his school records, could so blatantly fail to even mention that Adam Lanza had earned such high academic accolades.
And, while the OCA appears to paint the Yale Child Study Center as the smartest guys in the room, based on Adam’s stupendous academic record for the 10th grade, it appears Yale’s diagnosis missed the mark. According to the OCA report, “Yale Child Study Center clinicians did not conclude that AL was “high functioning” or that he definitively had Asperger’s Syndrome. Rather, they found him as profoundly impaired and debilitated by anxiety, with extensive special-education/therapeutic needs.” (pg. 62)
Both scenarios don’t add up. Either Adam Lanza was “profoundly impaired and debilitated by anxiety,” or he was “high functioning” and brilliant. Adam Lanza did not make the Honor Roll for three consecutive quarters of the eighth grade at Newtown Middle School and, at the same time, not attend eighth grade. Either Adam Lanza completed all of the required courses at Newtown High School in order to be listed as being on the Honor Roll and receive “High Honors,” or his educational plan “did not last beyond a few months… and by February of that school year AL had dropped most of his mainstream classes, including Sociology, History, Chemistry, and Physics and had arranged to complete English as an “independent study.”
Is it possible that educators at Newtown Middle and High School made a mistake placing Adam Lanza on the Honor Roll and bestowing “High Honors” on him? If they did, perhaps lawmakers may find it appropriate to revisit the legitimacy of all of those students who were bestowed honors. After all, if a child does not attend school “at all” for an entire year and then is placed on the Honor Roll for three consecutive semesters of that year, there appears to be a major problem with student accountability, to say nothing of the accuracy of the rating system.
One might also argue, given the faculty’s reported knowledge of Adam Lanza’s emotional and behavioral challenges, that it is a stretch to believe someone at Newtown Middle and High School didn’t question Adam Lanza’s placement on the Honor Roll at least once, let alone let it slip for three consecutive quarters.
On a number of levels the OCA’s carefully crafted “story” does not make sense, beginning with the fact that Adam Lanza skipped the entirety of the 8th grade and was allowed by the Newtown School District to move into the 9th grade. The problems surrounding Adam Lanza’s apparent academic accolades only adds to the ever-growing list of oddities in the OCA report.
The only way to truly know the facts is for Adam Lanza’s school records to be made public. Until then, the report is simply a “story” made up by the OCA…and not a very good one at that. Certainly the OCA report should not be used to decide the future mental health programs for Connecticut’s school children.