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April 29, 2004

No Ritalin, No Education?
CCLE Announces Campaign to Return Choice to Parents

In recent years there has been a dramatic increase in the number of American school children diagnosed with ADHD (Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder), and treated with medications like Ritalin or Adderall. In some cases, parents are reporting that school administrators are telling them that their child may not attend school unless the child is placed on psychostimulant drugs.

“Government benefits should not be conditioned on the use or nonuse of a psychotropic medicine,” says Richard Glen Boire, legal counsel for the Center for Cognitive Liberty & Ethics (CCLE), a nonprofit policy center devoted to protecting freedom of thought.

The CCLE today launches “Making Choices for Children,” a national campaign designed to call attention to this issue, and to educate parents on their legal right to make medication decisions for their children, free of coercion by school authorities.

While pro-Ritalin and anti-Ritalin groups have garnered most of the attention in this debate, the CCLE hopes to bring a new perspective to the problem – one that focuses on parental choice, rather than on the drugs themselves.

“Parents need to know that they are the ones vested with the legal power to make medication decisions in the best interest of their children,” says CCLE legal counsel Boire. “Some parents may decide to place their children on Ritalin, and others may decide not to. Our campaign aims to support a parent’s free and informed decision either way.

To that end the CCLE plans to publish a free Parent’s Rights Kit, which will contain plain-language information on informed consent rights and additional resources for parents facing coercive school medication practices in their communities.

The CCLE is also working to educate policymakers on the problem, and supports legislation such as the Child Medication Safety Act (HR 1170), a bill currently before Congress that would block federal education funds from going to schools that condition a child’s attendance on the use of a medication like Ritalin.

To learn more, obtain helpful resources, or to get involved in returning medication decisions to parents, visit the campaign’s website.

Help support this campaign!!

The CCLE is happy to announce the receipt of seed funds for launching our Making Choices for Children campaign, but we must still raise over $100,000 to fully fund this project. Our  work is supported entirely by donations from private individuals and foundations. We need your assistance in order to distribute our informative Parent’s Rights Kit, and to get our policy report written and into the hands of policymakers. You can help by donating whatever you can right now!