For years I have been working within the vaccine awareness community as an activist for health freedom, hoping to improve the lives of children. In doing so, I have met many heroes—men and women who are not afraid to address the shortcomings of vaccination despite the personal and professional repercussions that sometimes follow. These people are doctors, scientists and parents of injured children who share current vaccine news and studies, as well as ideas. One of these heroes and thought leaders is Anne Dachel from Age of Autism who for the past few months has provided our community with over two thousand news articles written about what she calls “The Decline of the Modern Student.”
SOMETHING IS HORRIBLY WRONG
“Evidence that something is horribly wrong with today’s children is worldwide and it’s growing. U.S. health officials have been silent on these issues for years, but I see a change happening. Actually, it’s been several years in the making, but it’s just now in the news everywhere,” says Dachel. Recent headlines read, “Special Needs Student Population Still Rising,” “Suspension Rates on the Rise,” “Handcuffing of Kids with Disabilities ‘Excessive Force,’ Judge Rules” and “Suicide Rates for Teenage Girls at All-Time High.”
Stress, mental illness, anxiety, depression, and learning disorders—they are plaguing our children at ever-increasing levels. Schools are having trouble accommodating these students while suffering endlessly with discipline issues, violence, expulsions, stressed-out teachers and budget shortfalls. According to the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, up to 15-20 percent of children and adolescents aged three to eighteen are inhibited by mental problems such as anxiety, depression and behavioral issues, while the use of antidepressants by young people aged fifteen to nineteen rose 44 percent among boys between the years 2004 to 2013, and by 48 percent among girls in the same period. Similarly, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) here in the U.S. says one in five American children currently has or had a “seriously debilitating mental disorder.”
Sadly, education today is not what it once was. IEPs (Individual Education Plans), sensory rooms, seclusion, restraint and suspension are now the norm in the U.S. In the U.K., according to Simpson Millar (Education Law Specialists in London), there are more than two hundred sixty thousand children and young people registered as having special education needs, and in England, they are building nineteen new schools for autism spectrum disorder (ASD) students.
According to Dachel, a veteran schoolteacher for more than thirty years and mother of an adult autistic son, “Schools aren’t focused on academics like they have been in the past. Today, they are busy addressing mental health issues and providing an atmosphere where children are simply able to function.” She says, “It’s clear as an educator that our kids are falling apart and we cannot delude ourselves into believing things are like they were twenty-five years ago. What we have for schools today is a combination of nursing home, walk-in clinic and special education department.”
Do a search for “schools, behavior,” “schools, special education,” or “schools, clinics,” and you’ll find an endless supply of articles featuring stories about the mental health problems currently crippling our schools and students. Obsessive-compulsive behavior, social anxiety, panic disorder, agoraphobia, separation anxiety, generalized anxiety, post-traumatic stress, eating disorders, etc. are widespread. Additionally, “calming area,” “self-selecting place,” “therapeutic day school,” “asthma zone,” and “medically fragile” are the new catch phrases found in these stories. Sadly, all of these sick and disabled children are changing what we’ve always thought of as public education, and it’s not only a disaster for students and teachers, it’s breaking the budget. Schools everywhere are in crisis, scrambling to find money to pay for infrastructure and services, as evidenced in articles in Great Britain and Scotland. Jan. 23, 2017, BBC News: “School Budgets Near Breaking Point, say Head Teachers.” Aug. 18, 2017, (U.K.) Scottish Sun: “Over 650 Families in Limbo After Virtual Autism Support Service in Perth Forced to Close Immediately.”
“What’s happening in our schools—the explosion in special needs students, out-of-district placements, more and more one-on-one-aides, newly added in-school clinics and mental health services—all of this is changing the face of education in America and the cost is enormous,” says Dachel.
Today, the U.S. national average of special education students (SPED) is 13 percent and yet there are plenty of cities reporting much higher numbers. For example, in Woodland Hills, PA, 25 percent of children are SPED; in Staten Island, NY, 24 percent; in Fitchburg, MA, 23.5 percent; and in Waterville, ME, 23 percent. And when we look at other developed countries, we learn that they, too, have exceptionally high numbers. In Ireland, 25 percent have a learning disability, and in the U.K. and the Netherlands that number is an alarming 26 percent. A school district where 13-26 percent of the students have special education needs in the developed world is no longer a rare phenomenon.
WHAT HAPPENS TO THE CHILDREN?
So what happens to these children in school? Many of them are being medicated: May 3, 2016, The Washington Post: “CDC Warns that Americans may be Overmedicating Youngest Children with ADHD,”
Some are being locked in closets: Sept. 5, 2017: Huffington Post: “Schools, Please Stop Locking Kids in Closets.”
And some are being sent home—when teachers are not able to deal with serious behavioral problems including attacks on other students: July 31, 2017, Calla.co: “Surge in Number of Primary School Children Expelled for Attacking Teachers.”
Many articles talk about in-school brutality on teachers as well. According to one story: Sept. 25. 2017, Brampton Guardian titled: “Violent Attacks on Teachers: ‘I’m Afraid to Go into the Classroom,’” there were seven thousand student attacks on teachers in the Regional Municipality of Peel, Canada, last year. The article states, “teachers are wearing protective gear” and “elementary school attacks include teachers being bitten, kicked, scratched, punched and threatened.”
In Britain and Ireland, there have been huge increases in the number of students permanently excluded from school. Oct. 18, 2017, UK Daily Mail: “Unofficial Exclusions Used too Readily to Deal with Special Needs Pupils.” Reportedly, an estimated twenty-six thousand children and young people with autism in the UK were unlawfully excluded last year and as a result denied a basic right to education.
THE BIG LIE
Years ago, when I first started sharing information with Dachel, I remember her repeatedly saying the really Big Lie we are being spoon-fed is the one about autism—which she has written a book about called The Big Autism Cover-Up: How and Why the Media Is Lying to the American Public. Those in power began this lie by saying that autism was “genetic,” but as the number of children with autism skyrocketed from one in ten thousand in the 1970s to one in forty-five in 2015, that lie morphed into an even bigger one of “better diagnosis.” Then we had the neurodiversity movement, which worked furiously to convince the public that brain inflammation and immune dysfunction are normal and acceptable parts of childhood that should be embraced and celebrated.
Now Dachel is screaming from the rooftop about the latest really Big Lie regarding the massive physical and mental health deterioration of our children. No longer able to deny the fact that our schools have become war zones, the media are once again in cahoots with its pharmaceutical advertisers, pushing endless stories blaming the poor behavior, health and learning of our children on “trauma” in the home. Newsweek recently criticized parents for “Adverse Childhood Experiences” (ACEs) within the home, saying one-half of America’s children have experienced trauma: Oct. 20, 2017, Newsweek: “Children’s Mental Health: Nearly Half of U.S. Kids Have Experienced Trauma.” The Washington Post wrote on Oct. 19, 2017: “Almost Half of D.C. Children Have Suffered a Traumatic Experience, According to Federal Survey.” And CNN called out parents for the “toxic stress” they’re causing in children. Oct. 4, 2017, CNN: Little Kids and ‘Toxic Stress’: “We Can Solve This.” By conveniently placing the blame on parents, officials can say they have the definitive answer and ignore looking deeper into what is really making our children so sick. This blame game is reminiscent of the “refrigerator mom” theory health authorities wrongly touted as the cause for the then-rare cases of autism in the 1950s.
Like Dachel, I’m not going to assert that every problem facing children today is the fault of an out-of-control, ever-increasing vaccine schedule—currently seventy doses of sixteen vaccines—but in my opinion, injecting poisons such as mercury, aluminum, formaldehyde, Polysorbate 80, MSG, aborted fetal tissue, etc. into our children beginning at birth and in utero, is the number one culprit adversely affecting our children’s health. That said, we must realize that we are living in a virtual toxic soup. The food we feed our children is not food, the toxins we expose them to are known carcinogens and they spend an unprecedented amount of time on screens and surrounded by Wi-Fi. The average American child spends over seven hours a day in front of a radiation-emitting screen. Do the math, that’s over one hundred days per year of childhood lost to devices!
To be fair, there are of course instances where “trauma” or “toxic stress” can seriously affect a child’s health and education, especially when those “ACEs” include physical and emotional abuse or neglect. However, when overnight there are literally dozens of nearly identical stories blaming bad parenting (parents who discourage open communication, parents who let their children watch TV, parents who yell a lot, parents who are emotionally distant, parents who spank their kids, and helicopter parents) for our children’s poor health, we need to think critically and question who is benefiting from such a well-orchestrated media campaign. As Dachel says, “I’ve heard horrible stories about the home lives of kids. I’ve worked with kids Ma Barker might have raised, but they weren’t like so many kids we are seeing today. This bogus theory was to be expected, and it’s a brilliant move on the part of doctors and health officials who want to shift the conversation away from the vaccine controversy.”
Experts not only blame our children’s poor mental health on bad parenting, but also a range of other health issues including heart, lung and liver disease, cancer, and obesity: Sept. 17, 2017, Worcester Telegraph: “Addressing Childhood Traumas and Their Lifelong Implications.” And then there’s this from the Washington University School of Medicine/St. Louis, Oct. 30, 2017: “Early Childhood Adversities Linked to Health Problems in Tweens, Teens.” These reports say “We’ve known toxins in the environment can contribute to disease, but this study suggests that kids can experience physical and mental health problems from exposure to psychosocial ‘toxins’ too.” So there you have it…now we will blame ACEs for both mental and physical health problems in kids today so we no longer have to look at the environmental factors, specifically vaccines.
WHO IS ASKING WHY?
Unbelievably, I have not read one mainstream news article about our school crisis that objectively asks why our children are doing so poorly psychologically, emotionally and behaviorally—not to mention physically. Why are more than one in two children in the U.S. chronically ill? Seizures, asthma, allergies, diabetes and obesity are all prolific among children in schools today. I included obesity in this list of ailments on purpose, because vaccines cause that too (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/ pmc/articles/PMC4982359). One would think health professionals and the media would want to know why there has been such an incredible explosion of poor physical and mental health in children. In St. Louis up to four thousand students have asthma and six died last year. Sept. 9, 2017, KLPR-TV, St. Louis, MO: Pulse of St. Louis, “Combating Asthma in St. Louis and Alzheimer’s Awareness.” Included in this story is the fact that the district is working with the American Lung Association to educate teachers, students and parents about the condition.
Will this solve the problem? I doubt it. Instead, it will probably just increase pharmaceutical products for affected students—the same way that adding new health clinics to schools will increase vaccination. Aug. 13, 2017, Chambersburg (PA) Public Opinion News: “CASHS Clinic Aims to Offer Student Vaccinations.”
And then there are the stories like this one, Sept. 6, 2017, New York Daily News: “Finally Getting Serious About Dyslexia.” Like autism, we are supposed to believe dyslexia has always been here and as a result of better diagnosing, we’ve finally realized that one in five kids has it. But according to this article, it’s not such a bad thing because lots of really cool people like Bill Gates have it. Here, it’s worth mentioning that dysgraphia (which affects writing ability) and dyscalculia (affecting mathematical processing) are also on the rise.
We’d be remiss not to look at the soaring number of teen suicides in both the U.S. and the U.K. These articles explain just how worried everyone is about it, but are they looking in the right place for answers? Aug. 6, 2017, KSL-Salt Lake City: “Safe UT App Making Inroads Despite 36 Youth Suicides So Far in 2017” and Feb. 19, 2017, Express.co.uk: “Children Committing Suicide Hits 14-year High.” Is it stress? Bullying? Social media? Home life? Maybe. Maybe not.
Coverage of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is also getting a lot of press. This article, July 31, 2017, KRISTV: “ADHD Rising Steadily,” talks about a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimating that 9.5 percent of children ages three to seventeen in the U.S. have been diagnosed with ADHD. The explosion in this disorder is once again explained by better diagnosing, and the recommended best treatment is “medication.”
Could there be a connection between soaring rates of teen suicide and the psychotropic drugs being prescribed for conditions like ADHD? Not according to the CDC—the same agency, which based on their own research, has known for more than a decade that measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) vaccines contribute to autism. Watch the documentary Vaxxed for the whole story.
ISN’T ANYONE WORRIED?
Have we obliviously surrendered to the learning problems and mental health disorders in our children? Do we no longer expect our kids to be normal? Just as with the explosion in autism, it seems no one is really worried. As Dachel says, “No one cares what is happening to our kids, and if you haven’t picked up on that yet, you should join Autism Speaks [an uncritical autism advocacy organization] and pretend that blue lights matter. Our schools, especially elementary schools, are mental wards. We have lots of calls for awareness, policy changes, workshops, better understanding, etc. but these things are not going to put a stop to the increasing numbers of injury. It seems today we expect our children to be injured. We’ve all been schooled to accept the damage, physical and developmental. Given enough time, will the world not remember when physical restraints and seclusion rooms weren’t typical of school districts? Or will we remember a time when behavior coaches weren’t regular members of the staff in elementary schools?”
Dachel used to believe that the number of autistic children would get so high that the media, doctors and health officials would have to recognize that something was terribly wrong. That never happened. “The rate was never a concern. A whole month of celebrations (April), an official organization that is supposed to speak for autism, and a total lack of interest on the part of officials and doctors doomed autism to forever be a medical curiosity we have all the time in the world to figure out.” According to Dachel, the real, undeniable issue happening everywhere is the mental health crisis in our schools. “Try as they might, this can’t be filed away under better diagnosing or ‘these kids have always been here.’ The clock is ticking. They’ll blame social media, stress, trauma at home…but it can’t be dismissed.”
And what about the mental health and wellbeing of our teachers? July 1, 2017, The Telegraph: “Stressed Teachers are Being Offered Electric Shock Therapy to Combat Anxiety and Depression.” According to Leigh Academies Trust in Kent, England, there is now a device being used to “have a positive impact on levels of anxiety, depression and sleep disorders—all symptoms of stress among its staff.” Other adults affected by mental health disorder include university students. Those requiring special consideration in exams due to mental health problems have risen exponentially in the past five years. July 9, 2017, UK Independent: “Number of University Students Claiming Special Circumstances for Mental Health Problem ‘Soars.’” And this article explains that the number of students in higher education with a disability has more than tripled in ten years: Oct. 27, 2017, Independent Irish News (Dublin): “Increase in Students with a Disability in Third-Level—but No Change in Funding.”
Seeing hundreds of stories about schools dealing with increasingly disabled and behaviorally challenged students should make everyone scared about the future. “Teacher shortages, kids suspended, critically ill students, kids who can’t learn normally. It just goes on and on, and will only get worse if we don’t address the real causes,” says Dachel.
How are we going to deal with so many students who can’t function normally? What will the adult population soon look like? Imagine what’s coming next year…in five years…in ten years. Will we somehow learn to adjust? This disaster is a time bomb. Schools are battlefields. This “new normal” should not only give pause, it should cause alarm…deafening alarm.
This article appeared in Wise Traditions in Food, Farming and the Healing Arts, the quarterly magazine of the Weston A. Price Foundation, Winter 2017.