Belmont Club

Dope for Dopes

Yesterday’s post on the Jimmy Savile abuse scandal at the BBC unleashed a flood of memory of what it used to be like to grow up largely on your own. Some commenters told of roaming miles away on their bikes, of playing “Army” in the woods with bits of World War 2 uniform. It is in marked contrast to today’s childhood, supervised as it is by child protection authorities at every turn.

But times have changed and so must children. The New York Times describes how “social justice” thinkers believe that kids must now be medicated for their own good. Faced with an inability to educate children in public school, doctors are turning to the only thing they have left: drugs.

“I don’t have a whole lot of choice,” said Dr. Anderson, a pediatrician for many poor families in Cherokee County, north of Atlanta. “We’ve decided as a society that it’s too expensive to modify the kid’s environment. So we have to modify the kid.”

Dr. Anderson is one of the more outspoken proponents of an idea that is gaining interest among some physicians. They are prescribing stimulants to struggling students in schools starved of extra money — not to treat A.D.H.D., necessarily, but to boost their academic performance. ….

Dr. Anderson’s instinct, he said, is that of a “social justice thinker” who is “evening the scales a little bit.” He said that the children he sees with academic problems are essentially “mismatched with their environment” — square pegs chafing the round holes of public education. Because their families can rarely afford behavior-based therapies like tutoring and family counseling, he said, medication becomes the most reliable and pragmatic way to redirect the student toward success.

And who’s going to pay for it? They’re hoping the government will.

“People who are getting A’s and B’s, I won’t give it to them,” he said. For some parents the pills provide great relief. Jacqueline Williams said she can’t thank Dr. Anderson enough for diagnosing A.D.H.D. in her children — Eric, 15; Chekiara, 14; and Shamya, 11 — and prescribing Concerta, a long-acting stimulant, for them all. She said each was having trouble listening to instructions and concentrating on schoolwork.

“My kids don’t want to take it, but I told them, ‘These are your grades when you’re taking it, this is when you don’t,’ and they understood,” Ms. Williams said, noting that Medicaid covers almost every penny of her doctor and prescription costs.

Has it ever occurred to their “social justice thinkers” that one possible reason for the failure of kids at school is because the school itself sucks? Or that perhaps the disintegration of the family environment to which the child returns has been smashed beyond recognition.

No. Of course not. It couldn’t be.

Recently the Florida educational authorities made the news by adopting explicitly racial standards for their schools.

On Tuesday, the board passed a revised strategic plan that says that by 2018, it wants 90 percent of Asian students, 88 percent of white students, 81 percent of Hispanics and 74 percent of black students to be reading at or above grade level. For math, the goals are 92 percent of Asian kids to be proficient, whites at 86 percent, Hispanics at 80 percent and blacks at 74 percent. It also measures by other groupings, such as poverty and disabilities, reported the Palm Beach Post.

The plan has infuriated many community activists in Palm Beach County and across the state.

“To expect less from one demographic and more from another is just a little off-base,” Juan Lopez, magnet coordinator at John F. Kennedy Middle School in Riviera Beach, told the Palm Beach Post.

Infuriated? Isn’t that exactly what the activists have been fighting for all along? One standard for this group, another standard for that group? They just don’t want it to sound that way.

And now the social justice thinkers have a new plan to spread fairness: they’re going to dope up the non-Asian minority kids.

On the Rocafort family’s kitchen shelf in Ball Ground, Ga., next to the peanut butter and chicken broth, sits a wire basket brimming with bottles of the children’s medications, prescribed by Dr. Anderson: Adderall for Alexis, 12; and Ethan, 9; Risperdal (an antipsychotic for mood stabilization) for Quintn and Perry, both 11; and Clonidine (a sleep aid to counteract the other medications) for all four, taken nightly.

Why would you stimulate the Asians if they’re already doing 90%? Doesn’t make sense. So by exclusion you’re going to stimulate the guys who are doing 45%. What could go wrong? What damage could that cause? How much damage has been caused already in the supposed process of ‘helping’ the underprivileged?

Such nasty questions.

If the advocates of this policy didn’t mean well you might be tempted to suspect them of effectively advocating a crime. How did society go from protecting children from drug abuse to pushing it on them? How did it come to this?

Because times change and so must we.


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