Since the survey was given, two parents have been fighting it ever since. They say too many teens, including their own, are taking mental health surveys without parental consent.
The PHM school system will head to their attorney soon. “With respect to this litigation, it will probably have to work its way through the next few weeks or months,” says Dr. Bob Howard, superintendent of PHM Schools.
The Rutherford Institute, a civil liberties group in Virginia, has filed a lawsuit against the district on behalf of a Penn High School family.
The suit goes back to Teen Screen, a mental health screening given last year.
Parents Michael and Teresa Rhoades objected to the survey when their 15-year-old daughter took it because it violated parental rights.
“Both federal law and Indiana state law require written consent from parents before these kinds of tests can be administrated to their children. The parental rights issue is very important. Parents should be given notice and appropriately sign off on these kinds of tests,” says John Whitehead, president of the Rutherford Institute.
Since the survey was given, the school decided they would change their policy by having parents sign a release form before students take the survey.
Dr. Howard says, “We really thought that this was a matter that fully had been addressed.”
Regardless, the Rutherford Institute is still pursuing the lawsuit hoping to set a standard around the country.
“This Teen Screen program is in effect in 43 states and I would hope that this gives notice to other states around country that they can't bypass parents,” Whitehead says.
The lawsuit was filed today so the PHM school district has yet to determine how they will legally approach the issue.