Locking-up Home Schoolers

Locking up as mentally ill those who refuse to obey a tyrannical state was a favorite tactic of Stalin and his successors. The New Europe is learning to love this reinforcement of government power.

According to Paul Belien, the editor of Brussels Journal, a sixteen-year old girl in Germany has been locked up in a psychiatric ward for "
school phobia" --- resisting state schooling after years of being home schooled. Belien quotes the one-paragraph psychiatrist's report on Melissa Busekros. Judging by her photo, she seems about as healthy and normal as teenage girls get. One "Dr. Siegfried Schanda" --- I'm not kidding, this is not a Franz Kafka or Dickens story --- summarized her psychiatric "disorder" as follows:
"Melissa Busekros was examined by us. She has a childhood emotional disorder, severe school phobia and an oppositional denial-syndrome. Melissa lacks insight into her illness and the need for treatment, and considers herself healthy and her behaviour fully normal. M. needs urgent help in a closed setting if need be, and subsequent special education treatment to ensure schooling."
This diagnosis could mean anything, it is so generic. There are no details, no evidence is presented. "Childhood emotional disorder" could be Melissa's upset about being arrested and taken away from her home. "Severe school phobia" could be unwarranted fear of going to school, which some young children do have. But phobias are unwanted fears that the patient is trying to get rid of --- not voluntary resistance to coercion. A healthy teenager who resists coercive public schooling seems more likely to be vigorously stating her political position, when she has been personally dedicated to being schooled at home.  In the US, psychiatric patients cannot be confined even for 24 hours unless they are demonstrably "a  danger to themselves or others." The burden of proof is on the state, not the patient.  "School phobia" hardly qualifies as a danger to self or other, and being locked up makes no sense for any kind of phobia.

"Melissa lacks insight into her illness and the need for treatment, and considers herself healthy and her behaviour fully normal." This note suggests that there is no "school phobia," but rather a passionate disagreement about what is deemed "healthy and fully normal." Likewise, "oppositional denial-syndrome" sounds like nonsense. All teenagers are oppositional at times --- it's how they develop their personal autonomy. "Denial" is an inability to acknowledge important realities. How one can be oppositional and in denial at the same time is a mystery. It sounds like Dr. Schanda is using psychiatric gobbledygook.

Finally, "M. needs urgent help in a closed setting if need be, and subsequent special education treatment to ensure schooling." This is completely  Kafkaesque. "Needs urgent help" --- why urgently? Is her "school phobia" a threat to herself or others? "... in a closed setting if need be..." A locked psychiatric ward? For how long? Until she gives in?  "... and subsequent special education treatment to ensure schooling." By which kind Dr. Schanda means state schooling, of course, as if there isn't anything else.

On the face of it this looks like classic Soviet-style abuse of psychiatry for political control. The Soviets used to shoot dissidents full of anti-psychotic drugs and mix them together with the psychotic asylum population for "anti-Soviet behavior," which was considered to be a psychiatric "diagnosis." That outrageous abuse of medical power was dropped decades ago, when Soviet psychiatrists were shamed by in the Western media. Psychiatrists all over the world were outraged by Soviet corruption of their field. 

Judging by the public evidence, we are looking at an outrageous abuse of medical authority, a throwback to discredited Soviet political punishment under a thin veil of psychiatric rationalization. The German authorities should be compelled to prove that this is not the case for Melissa Busekros.

International exposure helped bring down Soviet abuses of psychiatry. The European Union is so power-hungry today, so much run by control freaks, that any outsider has to suspect that this is another case of psychiatric abuse to coerce political dissidents by the all-powerful socialist state.

James Lewis is a frequent contributor to American Thinker. He blogs at
http://www.dangeroustimes.wordpress.com/
Locking up as mentally ill those who refuse to obey a tyrannical state was a favorite tactic of Stalin and his successors. The New Europe is learning to love this reinforcement of government power.

According to Paul Belien, the editor of Brussels Journal, a sixteen-year old girl in Germany has been locked up in a psychiatric ward for "
school phobia" --- resisting state schooling after years of being home schooled. Belien quotes the one-paragraph psychiatrist's report on Melissa Busekros. Judging by her photo, she seems about as healthy and normal as teenage girls get. One "Dr. Siegfried Schanda" --- I'm not kidding, this is not a Franz Kafka or Dickens story --- summarized her psychiatric "disorder" as follows:
"Melissa Busekros was examined by us. She has a childhood emotional disorder, severe school phobia and an oppositional denial-syndrome. Melissa lacks insight into her illness and the need for treatment, and considers herself healthy and her behaviour fully normal. M. needs urgent help in a closed setting if need be, and subsequent special education treatment to ensure schooling."
This diagnosis could mean anything, it is so generic. There are no details, no evidence is presented. "Childhood emotional disorder" could be Melissa's upset about being arrested and taken away from her home. "Severe school phobia" could be unwarranted fear of going to school, which some young children do have. But phobias are unwanted fears that the patient is trying to get rid of --- not voluntary resistance to coercion. A healthy teenager who resists coercive public schooling seems more likely to be vigorously stating her political position, when she has been personally dedicated to being schooled at home.  In the US, psychiatric patients cannot be confined even for 24 hours unless they are demonstrably "a  danger to themselves or others." The burden of proof is on the state, not the patient.  "School phobia" hardly qualifies as a danger to self or other, and being locked up makes no sense for any kind of phobia.

"Melissa lacks insight into her illness and the need for treatment, and considers herself healthy and her behaviour fully normal." This note suggests that there is no "school phobia," but rather a passionate disagreement about what is deemed "healthy and fully normal." Likewise, "oppositional denial-syndrome" sounds like nonsense. All teenagers are oppositional at times --- it's how they develop their personal autonomy. "Denial" is an inability to acknowledge important realities. How one can be oppositional and in denial at the same time is a mystery. It sounds like Dr. Schanda is using psychiatric gobbledygook.

Finally, "M. needs urgent help in a closed setting if need be, and subsequent special education treatment to ensure schooling." This is completely  Kafkaesque. "Needs urgent help" --- why urgently? Is her "school phobia" a threat to herself or others? "... in a closed setting if need be..." A locked psychiatric ward? For how long? Until she gives in?  "... and subsequent special education treatment to ensure schooling." By which kind Dr. Schanda means state schooling, of course, as if there isn't anything else.

On the face of it this looks like classic Soviet-style abuse of psychiatry for political control. The Soviets used to shoot dissidents full of anti-psychotic drugs and mix them together with the psychotic asylum population for "anti-Soviet behavior," which was considered to be a psychiatric "diagnosis." That outrageous abuse of medical power was dropped decades ago, when Soviet psychiatrists were shamed by in the Western media. Psychiatrists all over the world were outraged by Soviet corruption of their field. 

Judging by the public evidence, we are looking at an outrageous abuse of medical authority, a throwback to discredited Soviet political punishment under a thin veil of psychiatric rationalization. The German authorities should be compelled to prove that this is not the case for Melissa Busekros.

International exposure helped bring down Soviet abuses of psychiatry. The European Union is so power-hungry today, so much run by control freaks, that any outsider has to suspect that this is another case of psychiatric abuse to coerce political dissidents by the all-powerful socialist state.

James Lewis is a frequent contributor to American Thinker. He blogs at
http://www.dangeroustimes.wordpress.com/