Mom says school made her give Ritalin to son
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
(August 9, 2002) - MILLBROOK - A mother says her
son's behavioral problems got worse after school officials gave her an
ultimatum: Put the first-grader on Ritalin or he'll be placed in
Patricia Weathers has filed notice that she will sue
the Millbrook Central School District on behalf of her son, Michael Mozer,
for the mental and physical pain she says he suffered for two years starting
Michael, she said, had trouble focusing and was
easily distracted. Officials in the Dutchess County school referred her son
to a pediatrician who prescribed Ritalin, Weathers said.
By the third grade, Michael was suffering from
insomnia, he lost his appetite and was so anxious he chewed his shirt
sleeves, collars and pencils, she said.
School officials suggested more medication, she
said. Michael began taking another version of Ritalin plus Paxil, an
"He was having side effects that were making him
literally psychotic at one point," she said.
Michael's behavior improved on weekends and over
breaks, when she would not give him the drugs, she said. She finally stopped
medicating her son in December 1999 after he told her voices in his head
were telling him to do bad things, she said.
Michael, now 12, was prohibited from entering the
school, Weathers said. She now home-schools him and another son.
In February 2000, school officials filed a complaint
with the state
Department of Children and Family Services, Weathers
said. An investigation cleared her of wrongdoing after independent
psychiatric evaluations found her son's sickness was related to the drugs.
An employee in Millbrook Superintendent W. Michael
Mahoney's office said the district would not comment.
The Department of Children and Family Services
declined comment, citing confidentiality, a spokesman said.
Copyright 2002 Rochester Democrat and Chronicle.