Introduced by Representatives Schiavone of Shelburne, Allard of St. Albans Town, Gervais of Enosburg and Young of Orwell
Subject: Education; special education; health; children and families; psychotropic drugs
Statement of purpose: This bill proposes to prohibit school personnel from recommending use of psychotropic drugs; prohibit public schools from requiring a child to take a psychotropic drug as a condition of attending school; require that a child receive supplemental services prior to being identified as a special needs student; create an informed consent process regarding the use of psychotropic drugs prescribed to children; and prohibit the department for children and family services from taking custody of a child because a parent or guardian has refused to consent to the administration of a psychotropic drug to his or her child.
AN ACT RELATING TO PSYCHOTROPIC DRUGS AND SPECIAL NEEDS SERVICES FOR CHILDREN
Sec. 1. 16 V.S.A. § 1387 is added to read:
§ 1387. PSYCHOTROPIC DRUGS
(a) Advice regarding the use of psychotropic drugs for any child is the sole responsibility of medical professionals following standard medical practice, testing, and evaluation of the child. No public school personnel are to suggest or recommend use of such medications.
(b) No public school shall require a child to take psychotropic drugs as a condition of attending school.
Sec. 2. 16 V.S.A. § 2944(g) is added to read:
(g) Supplemental tutoring or teaching approaches such as traditional phonics-based reading instruction shall be implemented prior to a determination that a child requires an individual education plan based on symptoms of learning difficulties, attention deficit, or other behavioral symptoms.
Sec. 3. 18 V.S.A. § 12 is added to read:
§ 12. PSYCHOTROPIC DRUGS; INFORMED CONSENT
The department of developmental and mental health services shall develop a thorough, plain English guide that includes the effects, side effects, and contraindications of the most commonly prescribed psychotropic drugs. A link to this psychotropic drug guide shall be prominently placed on the department’s website. Prescribing physicians shall copy the drug information from this guide, and a parent or guardian shall attest that she or he has read and understands it prior to the first prescription being written for a child. The attestation shall be placed in the child’s medical record. If the parent or guardian is illiterate in the English language, the physician shall explain the drug information before the attestation is signed. The psychotropic drug guide shall be created and prominently placed on the department’s website within three months of this act becoming law and shall be updated annually.
Sec. 4. 33 V.S.A. § 4921 is added to read:
§ 4921. PSYCHOTROPIC DRUGS; REFUSAL
The refusal of a parent or guardian to give consent to the administration of any psychotropic drug to his or her child shall not, in and of itself, constitute grounds for the department for children and family services to take a child into custody nor for a court to order that a child be taken into the department’s custody, unless the refusal causes the child to be neglected or abused as defined in subdivision 4912(2) of this title.
The Vermont General Assembly
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