By P J Klosinski
“ARTICLE 8. Education. Section 1. Knowledge and learning, generally diffused throughout a community, being essential to the preservation of a free government; it shall be the duty of the General Assembly to encourage, by all suitable means, moral, intellectual, scientific, and agricultural improvement; and to provide, by law, for a general and uniform system of Common Schools, wherein tuition shall be without charge, and equally open to all.”
Education, what is it? In Indiana, the constitution limits the formation of a system of common schools open to all to encourage by all suitable means moral, intellectual, scientific and agricultural subjects. Note the qualifications of knowledge, learning and a general and uniform system equally open to all.
What is contained in the laws controlling the Common School System?
The state of Indiana has laws in place which require that each school corporation “shall include in the school corporation’s curriculum the following studies: Language arts, including: English; grammar; composition; speech; and second languages. Mathematics. Social studies and citizenship, including the: constitutions; governmental systems; and histories; of Indiana and the United States, including a study of the Holocaust in each high school United States history course. Sciences. Fine arts, including music and art. Health education, physical fitness; safety; and the effects of alcohol, tobacco, drugs, and other substances on the human body”.
SB 435 proposes to add to the shall include curriculum; “mental health wellness education, including topics relating to any of the following: Anxiety disorders. Hyperactivity disorders. Eating disorders. Self-mutilation. Depression. Schizophrenia, the causes, prevention, and cure and control of mental illness without stigma or emotional harm.” Subjects perhaps sensitive to some parents and students but education and information related. And not inconsistent with the limits of the education section of the Indiana Constitution.
Has the Indiana Common School System exceeded limited authority?
SB 435 also proposes to add to the may provide existing code. Currently “The governing body of a school corporation may provide for the inspection of students by a school physician to determine whether any child suffers from disease, disability, decayed teeth, or other defects that may reduce the student’s efficiency or prevent the student from receiving the full benefit of the student’s school work.” May differs from shall because may has no requirement by state government demanding a uniform system available to all. May provides for the discretion of governing bodies of school corporations to decide what if anything is to be provided.
Why are governing bodies of school corporations allowed to provide with taxpayer dollars medical inspections to determine health conditions of students?
Where does the education section of the Indiana Constitution provide for anything except knowledge and learning?
Here once again the State has circumvented the constitution by not requiring but allowing each school corporation governing body to determine the may provide for by a school physician independent of any uniform standards even though medical inspection standards are not provided under education.
Should school systems be provided with the cover of a shadow may law to determine the medical conditions of students?
A new section to this may provide “law” would now extend this medical intrusion to include; “The governing body of a school corporation may provide mental health screenings to students if the written consent is received from the student’s parent or guardian. The department shall provide a school corporation with resources regarding mental health wellness upon request by the school corporation.”
What exactly does this law provide? When in doubt check with the source.
The response I received from the House was that the parents had to provide written permission and that any determination as to whom or how the screening was to be done was already in the current code. I specifically requested attention to the current code section covering the existing memorandum of understanding between a school corporation and referrals, documentation and diagnosis of mental health issues. This section allows that a school corporation may enter into an agreement for mental health services with authorized providers and may refer a student upon written consent of a parent or guardian. This section contains qualifications for providers, what may not be included in the referral and the confidentiality of the records.
No such language covering the qualifications of the medical examiner, the disposition or content of the school records only that permission must be in writing is referenced in the part added to the “law”.
The Senate needed time to research my question as by this time I had quoted code in writing so there would be no misunderstanding as to what I wanted to know. I also requested permission to use direct quotes. The Senate response verified my concerns.
(Senate response) “The entire bill is a “may” provision which means schools are not required to offer mental health screenings. If a school chooses to offer screenings, there must be parental consent. This bill does not create distinct programs unless a school corporation enters into two separate contracts; for example, the school goes to outside practitioners to obtain services. Still, they can do so only with parental consent.
The person performing the screening would depend upon what the school corporation decides to do. If the school already has a physician on staff, it will most likely be this person who completes the screening. If there is not a school physician, then the school will most likely bring in an outside physician to perform the screening. This will depend on the school corporation and parental consent.
To clarify, just because something is in a bill does not mean that it is in State code. Unless we know which School Corporation and specifics of that Corporation’s methods, it is difficult to tell how Section 21 of the code would apply. If the information obtained would be covered under current code, it would remain that way. No action regarding a screening will be taken without the permission of a parent or guardian. This bill just gives schools a second avenue for health screenings, and no action is required by the school corporations.” (End Senate Response)
So to review each school corporation is determining if it will or will not enter into the programs, who it may employ for these services what information is obtained and what is done with it, in other words, no uniform system open to all equally. If the Education section of the constitution allowed for medical services to be provided to students they would be required to be on an equal basis for all students not on differing standards as determined by each school corporation.
Why should unequal medical services even be a question under providing for knowledge and education?
Why would a parent grant written permission to a school corporation to perform medical services on their child? Note both the House and Senate made it clear that it would only be done with written permission.
Why are Education expenses a major cost of the Indiana budget?
The Hierarchy of Law controlling Indiana government includes the Constitution of Indiana and all statutes of the general assembly of the state in force, and not inconsistent” with the Constitution. The language is ordinary and plain laws cannot be inconsistent with the constitution. The solemn Oath elected officials are required to take binds them as our representatives to abide by the same rule of law governing all.
Why when the Indiana Constitution states in “ Section 25. No law shall be passed, the taking effect of which shall be made to depend upon any authority, except as provided in this Constitution.” does government refuse to retreat from the position that government is in charge of providing medical services under the authorized provision of education?
Since no law shall be passed without authority except as provided in the constitution can lawmakers sworn to uphold the law pass something in a bill which is not in state code “law” thereby effectively eliminating the required passage of a law and only providing unauthorized power to school corporations using the justification for taxpayer expenses and government intrusion into the medical condition of students because it is only a may provide and because it is only being done with written permission?
Remember there currently exists in code “law” covering the requirements for mental health screening referrals and yet the addition of this intrusive medical procedure performed by a school is not bound under law and is subject to the determination of each school corporation.
“The Legislative authority of the State shall be vested in a General Assembly, which shall consist of a Senate and a House of Representatives. The style of every law shall be: “Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Indiana”; and no law shall be enacted, except by bill.” Indiana Constitution Article 4.
It shall be the duty of the General Assembly to provide for by law for a general and uniform system of Common Schools.
Do we have education exclusively being financed through education taxes or has Indiana determined that for the good of society the education budget, standards and limits can be violated simply by telling the school corporations they may provide for something without a law?
Is this the education equality and tax justification satisfactory to all Hoosiers?
When parents turn their children over to a school corporation what are the limits of what the parents are allowing?