As of Friday, schools no longer have the upper hand in deciding whether children should be given Ritalin or other controlled substances. A new federal law tilts that power to parents, barring states and schools from keeping students out of class in cases when parents disagree with a recommendation to medicate a child.The article follows the familiar story of a typical, mildly disobedient little boy whose adjustment to g-school confinement is considered normal, transitional and temporary by his mother. When she refuses the pharmaceutical intervention the school recommends, the usual threats are issued. Fortunately, she did not give in and instead went to considerable lengths to correct the school's actions in her son's case. Despite the new law, she has decided to homeschool.
The law is provoking an emotional debate over the proper role of teachers and other school employees in trying to help children they believe are troubled. And it is taking effect amid growing concern over the exploding use of Ritalin, the brand name for methylphenidate. Production of that drug has nearly doubled in the United States since 2000, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration.