For most parents, the idea that Child Protective Services could show up at the front door is unthinkable.
That’s because most parents wouldn’t dream of abusing their children. So what if I told you that not allowing someone to supply your child with dangerous drugs could land you on the CPS radar? All because of woke school administrators.
That’s what happened to one family in Maine. Sadly, it’s the kind of scenario capable of repeating again and again in this climate where schools hold the power to make medical decisions for our children, including psychiatric care. This power goes beyond the gender nightmares we write of.
For Eric Sack, the ordeal materialized when he found a baggie of unidentified pills in his daughter’s bedroom.
Immediately alarmed, Sacks questioned his daughter and learned she obtained the pills at school. But they didn’t come from some shady character parked behind the lockers.
This Ain’t the School Nurse
Now, if you’re thinking of Nurse Williams who put a Band-Aid on your ouchie in the school of yesteryear, this isn’t that. These school based health centers are NOT the school nurse. Instead, they are complete medical facilities. I first became acquainted with the idea several years ago when our town’s local clinic put offices on each of our school campuses. It was the best thing ever for flu shots and strep tests. Kids could avoid missing school for simple well-checks and immunizations. The added bonus for hundreds of parents was not missing work.
With seven kids in school, I used the clinic many, many times. But there was always this little part of me wondering just how dangerous it was to let my child go to an appointment without me. I’m their biggest advocate. I am the walking recollection of their entire medical history, allergies, past responses to medications- I am their mother. Thus, I was very reluctant to try out these school clinics.
However, when our PA left the main clinic to administer the school clinic, I knew I could trust her implicitly. Our kids play on the same baseball teams. We go to the same church. Obviously, I live in a small town. As such I have the luxury of knowing the people who treat my children on a more personal level than what most parents get to enjoy. But I digress.
These school based health centers such as the Bulldog Health Center receive funding from the federal Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) under the Health Center Program. Ironically, HRSA is a sub-agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which means your tax dollars pay for it. We’ll circle back to that.
The Never Ending Nightmare
First, Sacks learned the pills were Prozac. While there are a host of Prozac jokes floating around, this happens to be a serious anti-depressant. No child should be taking it without parental knowledge. First of all, the “acceptable” side effects include: shortness of breath, difficulty breathing or swallowing. Agitation, fever, sweating, confusion, fast or irregular heartbeat, shivering, severe muscle stiffness or twitching, hallucinations, loss of coordination. Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea, along with fast, slow, or irregular heartbeat.
Then, there is the dark side of Prozac. It can cause serious side effects such as suicidal thoughts, insomnia and anorexia. Some studies also link Prozac to birth defects in children. But even more importantly, a black box warning explains that the risk of suicide is greatly increased in patients under the age of 25. I’d say Sacks’ school-aged daughter definitely qualifies.
Sadly, eliminating parental feedback took a huge safety net out of the equation for Sacks’ daughter. Her parents would know if other family members might’ve experienced suicidal tendencies on Prozac. Many doctors notice family similarities in these drug interactions. And, according to the New York Times, Express Scripts, a mail-order pharmacy, recently reported that prescriptions of antidepressants for teenagers rose 38 percent from 2015 to 2019, compared with 12 percent for adults. Now remember, this report is pre-pandemic. So, as layman’s guess, I believe a lot of kids are misdiagnosed, wrongly medicated, or over-medicated.
The Moody Blues
Teenagers are going through huge brain growth. Yes, depression and anxiety are real, and they do happen every day, but it’s not always clinical depression. We need to teach our kids a skill my mom calls “pulling yourself up by the bootstraps”. The pandemic only made mental health among adolescents worse, which is a whole other can of worms. Yet, I recently read about a student who was prescribed Prozac and it lead to ten other serious psych meds in her system.
“I should have been happy,” she later wrote. “But I cried, screamed and begged the universe or whatever godly power to take away the pain of a thousand men that was trapped inside my head.”
Intervention for her depression and anxiety came not from the divine but from the pharmaceutical industry. The following spring, a psychiatrist prescribed Prozac. The medication offered a reprieve from her suffering, but the effect dissipated, so she was prescribed an additional antidepressant, Effexor.
A medication cascade had begun. During 2021, the year she graduated, she was prescribed seven drugs. These included one for seizures and migraines — she experienced neither, but the drug can be also used to stabilize mood — and another to dull the side effects of the other medications, although it is used mainly for schizophrenia. She felt better some days but deeply sad on others.
Her senior yearbook photo shows her smiling broadly, “but I felt terrible that day,” said Ms. Smith, who is now 19 and attends a local community college. “I’ve gotten good at wearing a mask.”
She had come to exemplify a medical practice common among her generation: the simultaneous use of multiple heavy-duty psychiatric drugs.
Psychiatrists and other clinicians emphasize that psychiatric drugs, properly prescribed, can be vital in stabilizing adolescents and saving the lives of suicidal teens. But, these experts caution, such medications are too readily doled out, often as an easy alternative to therapy that families cannot afford or find, or aren’t interested in.
These drugs, generally intended for short-term use, are sometimes prescribed for years, even though they can have severe side effects — including psychotic episodes, suicidal behavior, weight gain and interference with reproductive development, according to a recent study published in Frontiers in Psychiatry.
Sounding the Alarm
I have several people in my family that battle severe mental illness, and I can tell you, these psych meds take a toll on the body. This could’ve happened to Sacks’ daughter, had he not found a little baggy and investigated.
This is where the woke kicked Sacks in the gut. Concerned for his children, he contacted the school principal. Sacks had a second concern beyond his oldest daughter’s care. They sent this drug home, unlabeled, no childproof bottle, and he has younger children in the house who were then exposed to danger. The principal declined to be involved in any way, shape or form. Principal Dan Bowers wouldn’t even facilitate a meeting to discuss the concerns (but you can bet he loves the attendance boost he gets from the health center. Meanwhile, the clinic refused to answer any questions.
So, like a responsible parent, Sacks took his daughter out of school that day to set her up with her doctor and a proper therapist.
How did the school react? They called CPS.
Soon after, Sacks was contacted by an agent.
“They called and said it was an emergency situation at my house, that I was pretty near holding my daughter hostage, is what the gentleman that came yesterday told me,” Sack said.
“He had information that only the school and Bulldog Health Center had,” he said.
For three hours, CPS Agent Dylan Wood grilled Sack and his family individually and as a group, including asking questions about Sack’s firearms and where he keeps them.
Wood, Sack said, eventually indicated that the complaint against him appeared to be unfounded.
Imagine how easily that could’ve gone wrong!
The Sacks children could’ve been placed in foster care for a minimum of thirty days while it was all sorted out. Imagine how depressing that would be for all of them.
Ironically, these clinics receive funding under the federal Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). They are a sub-agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. So federal taxpayers dollars were used to potentially endanger this innocent girl’s health and her family’s well-being.
It’s fitting to note that CPS is also a division of the Department of Health and Human Services, which means your tax dollars also paid for the investigation. Had it not been so easily cleared up, they would’ve paid for foster care, Medicaid, and any court costs that would’ve been incurred. In other words, your tax dollars paid twice. And could’ve paid a tremendously higher cost.
Too bad your tax dollars aren’t paying for the police to investigate the wrongful and dishonest report of child abuse by a public official. Talk about breaking the law! But the police are still heavily defunded and under-funded. According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau, state and local spending on police protection totaled $328.1 million in Maine in 2020, or about $241 per resident, the third lowest per capita spending among the 50 states, despite sharp rises in violent crime. It hasn’t gotten better.
Turns out, Sacks will have to meet the clinic in court if he wants to make things right. Sounds like it has the makings of a Supreme Court case if you ask me…because schools taking over parents’ rights is completely unacceptable.