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Bill Approved to Limit Schools' Authority in Controlling Children with Behaviorial Issues

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The Washington Senate voted today (Wednesday) to forbid school employees from holding children out of activities because their parents refuse to give the kids medication that controls their behavior.

Sen. Ann Rivers (R-Vancouver) says her legislation shouldn’t be needed, but is. She says teachers and school staff sometimes overstep their bounds when they don’t like the way a student behaves.

“The problem that we have is that teachers are excellent professionals, but they do not have medical degrees and are not capable of properly diagnosing illnesses that may or may not require psychotropic meds,” Rivers said.

Her bill requires school boards to develop policies for their districts that prohibit staff from denying activities to students not on behavioral drugs. It does allow staff members to notify parents of behavioral issues, but it doesn’t let them do psychological screening without parental consent.

The bill was approved without a dissenting vote. It now moves to the state House.