Schools and childhood roundup

  • Stop active-shooter drills in schools: “Preparing our children for profoundly unlikely events would be one thing if that preparation had no downside. But in this case, our efforts may exact a high price.” [Erika Christakis, The Atlantic] “Lockdowns and active-shooter drills have led to officers firing blank rounds to simulate live fire, mock executions of teachers, and students tearfully writing out wills while hunkered down. …Last year, The Post reported an estimate that the odds of a child being fatally shot while at school any given day since 1999 was 1 in 614,000,000.” [Jonathan Blanks, Washington Post/Cato]
  • After ordeal with Child Protective Services based on drug test fluke, Western New York mom “is certain of one thing, she’ll never eat a poppy seed again.” [WROC]
  • Answer: no. “Should access to a public education be a constitutional right for all children?” [Jessica Campisi, Education Dive; Mark Walsh, Education Week, covering AEI debate on holding of 1973 Supreme Court case of San Antonio Independent School District v. Rodriguez against such a federal right]
  • Pay attention to the politics of schools of education, because they help determine what you’ll see in the classroom down the road [Jay Schalin, Martin Center] More: University of Washington’s Secondary Teacher Education Program “is a 12-month immersion in doctrinaire social justice activism.” [Quillette]
  • “The Regressive Effects of Childcare Regulations” [Cato video with Ryan Bourne]
  • “Court revives Obama-era rule that incentivizes racial quotas in special ed” [Liam Bissainthe]


  • Re: poppy seeds. The article linked has a surreal feel to it. And I think that stems from a creeping acceptance of low-level tyranny in this country. The bottom line is that we have rights in this country, and there’s no “for the children” override. They went “easy” on this woman because she, understandably, knuckled under to these government thugs. Had she “resisted” (i.e., contested this nonsense) they would have ratcheted up the pressure and could possibly have yanked the kids away just to make a point. (No matter, of course, that the kids would have been permanently harmed.) And even if she had fought, there’s no guarantee that she wouldn’t have been in front of some statist judge whose reaction would have been either to let it all play out or to have some negative reaction to a woman fighting bureaucrats who are “just doing their job.”

    The hospital’s statement is infuriating. And it should provoke a lawsuit that bankrupts it.

    • I’m curious as to what the causes of action would be in the lawsuit you envision?

      • I’d probably just get the complaint from Pennsylvania a few years back. The hospital patd up.

        But to answer your question–I’d cite confidentiality laws–obviously, a positive test would be an exception to those laws–but here the test wasn’t positive, it was negative. (Or almost certainly so, as those tests all have thresholds specifically to deal with these sorts of issues.) Thus, by disclosing the results (even falsely), the hospital violated those laws.

        Libel/Slander may also be a possibility.

        I’d also consider suspending the doctor’s license.

  • I couldn’t agree more SPO. What I want to know was there a “mandatory reporting” law in place that required the hospital to notify the authorities, a hospital rule or somebody acting on their own? Apparently it said on the test result form that the test result was for “treatment use only”. If it was mandatory reporting, this would let the hospital off the hook.

    Children’s Service Departments have been given too much authority with little or no oversight. That’s something that needs to be resolved.

    • Jim,

      The State, in its public proclamations, seems to take a “broad view”.

    • I doubt the doc and the hospital are off the hook. First off, I wonder if, in NYS, drug use while pregnant constitutes child abuse.

      Second, and more importantly, doctors have to know about test thresholds for opiates. So it wouldn’t reasonable/good faith.

      I hope she sues all involved into bankruptcy.

      The other thing I’d love to know—when, exactly, did CPS know or have reason to know that its intervention was unfounded? If they kept her under a cloud for more than an hour, they should be criminally liable. In the Pennsylvania case, the woman was kept from her child because CPS waited for a court order. That was actionable, and it should have resulted in criminal interference with custody (or even criminal confinement) charges.

      If these agencies are going to yank kids over these test results, they should be held to high standards already existing. If the agency knows there’s no cause, upon that knowledge, it has to act immediately (like within the hour). Bureaucratic process should not be the parent’s problem.

      • I wonder if the Doctor / hospital felt constrained by vague laws requiring them to report “suspected child abuse” without much room for discretion or judgement. This could be a case of “sued if I do / sued if I don’t”

  • From the underlying story, it doesn’t appear that the investigation affected her legal custody and control of the child, so I’m not sure how far that would go. The concept that public entities have to either identify specific evidence or announce an end to a particular investigation within a certain period seems to have become popular but is not the law anywhere as far as I am aware. As to libel or slander, if they reported accurate information (like providing a copy of the test) that wouldn’t fly. Generally the report is immunized if there is even minimal evidence supporting the suspicion, as the general concept is that that the agency charged with investigating then determines whether there is sufficient information to justify further action. It just doesn’t seem likely that there is a cause of action here that would survive, unless the state has case law or specific statutes/regulations creating one.