One thing that CCDF-USA Research and Analysis Division along with our Education Division has discovered over the past year is that there are a few proven trends happening within education, regarding the focus on mental health for minors. As our team has been researching all agenda items being presented to various school boards, there are several programs that are alarming, and we want the citizens to be aware.
The first program we want to highlight for you is called “Hazel Heath.” Hazel Health is a Silicon Valley–born telehealth company that provides primary, urgent, and mental health care services to “historically underserved communities”, according to their CEO, Josh Golomb.
According to a recent Polk County Public School news release “when a student is in school, the school nurse or designated staff uses an iPad to help them talk directly with a medical professional over live video. Parents are notified when the consultation will take place, but if the parent is unable to attend, the video call proceeds without them, and they receive a written summary of the consultation afterwards. The call is not recorded.”
During Hazel Health virtual visits, students can receive treatment for common ailments (such as stomach aches and headaches), as well as mental health counseling. Hazel Health offers on-demand physical health services that include medical treatments for issues like asthma or headaches, as well as providing prescriptions and over the counter medications. Hazel Health’s mental health services include therapy visits to discuss anything from anxiety to family relationships and bullying.
Earlier this year, Hazel Health launched its Early Assessment Response and Treatment protocol (Hazel Heart) to expand their mental health services with the goal of connecting students directly to licensed therapists at school for evidence-based counseling.
It all seems innocent, especially when you look at the consent forms and the website for Hazel Health, but after our research team dug deeper, we found that there is much more to it than what they advertise. Who are the providers, medical and mental health professionals, and medical resources that Hazel Health uses to treat students? Two quick searches online yielded interesting answers to that question:
On December 7, 2021, Hazel Health announced a collaboration with Nicklaus Children’s Hospital, South Florida’s only licensed specialty hospital exclusively for children, to provide streamlined pediatric specialty care to more than 500,000 K-12 students in Florida. One of Nicklaus Children’s Hospital’s specialty departments is the Gender Variant Program, a program that focuses on providing “comprehensive psychological and medical support for children with gender variance.”
Keyunda Washing, a member of Hazel’s healthcare team, is a mental health counselor who is licensed to provide online care in the state of Florida. She has indicated online that her practice is LGBTQIA-friendly and offers a transgender-safe space.
In addition, Hazel joined with 40 other cross-sector health care organizations to participate in the Health Evolution Forum’s “Health Equity Pledge” program. This program has committed to collecting, stratifying, and reviewing data from their patients (i.e. our children) about race, ethnicity, language, and sex with the goal of identifying disparities, diagnosing the root causes, and instilling accountability for eliminating these findings more effectively. In other words, any depression that stems from those things, they claim to be working to eliminating them but don’t disclose how.
So, here again we see that there is a disturbing focus being placed on the sexuality of our children, all wrapped up in a pretty, yet sinister package labeled “Healthcare.”
Nearpod is a web-based educational tool used to promote active learning and student engagement in the classroom. It uses interactive PowerPoint and Google Slide presentations and activities to teach lessons on a wide variety of topics.
According to a recent agenda item packet presented to the Polk County, Florida School Board, due to a drop in proficiency in several core subjects during the 2020-2021 school year, several interventions are being implemented to address this drop, including the approval of an $860,000 contract with Nearpod.
The reason that Nearpod is of concern is due to its antiracism resources that it has interwoven throughout its vast catalogue of lessons and activities. Just a quick search through their website revealed a blog post titled Racial Justice Resource Guide: for educators and students engaging in antiracist teaching and learning, where the first image you see is of Black Lives Matter activists. This post provides various links to lessons that tie racial justice and antiracism to core subject areas like English language arts, math, and science. There are lessons titled “The Racist Origins of US Law” that are exposing students to the false ideology that the American legal system is fundamentally racist.
Another search revealed a lesson for kindergarteners titled “Antiracism with the Sneetches” that uses a Dr. Seuss book to teach children that some persons or groups are given privileges solely based on their physical characteristics. The lesson has the children imagine a playground that only red-headed people are allowed to play on and asks them how this makes them feel. It also divides the classes into two groups, where one group (who has stars on their bellies) are given special class privileges while the others are not. The children are then asked if they can think of any situations in real life that are like being in the privileged group.
On October 17th, 2021 in Texas, a concerned CCDF-Denton Education Division volunteer discovered an item on the Lewisville Independent School District (LISD) Board meeting agenda to approve an app called Rhithm for $200,000 for a 5-year contract with the district. This volunteer looked up what that app was and was quite disturbed at what she found. The app plays a video for students to “prime their mind” for that day’s assessment about their personal feelings and emotional health. This is a “Social Emotional Learning” app. The online tutorials and videos on the Rhithm website and YouTube channel were very concerning as they show this app is essentially collecting biopsychosocial data on students and providing potential health alerts and mental health diagnosis on the students to the school. The CCDF-Denton volunteer immediately contacted the Board as well as “Mom’s for Liberty” to ask that they table this item until further research is done. The Board President, Tracy Miller, agreed verbally to table it.
At the Board meeting on October 18th, 2021, there were a panel of “experts” brought in from Rhithm to give a presentation to the Board about how beneficial the app is and why the district needed it. They did not table it as promised and voted very quickly to approve it.
After further investigation our team discovered that LISD was using Rhithm in the school as of September 2020 as a trial/test/pilot program. This was long before discovering that there was a 5-year contract about to be signed. When CCDF-Denton and Moms for Liberty inquired to LISD as to why parents had not been given an opt-in form to have a psychological assessment program given to their children, we were told that an opt-in form was not required because opting into iPad usage automatically meant you opt into every program installed on the device. We were told it is impossible for them to do opt-in forms for each app.
CCDF-USA Legal team has this case and will be looking into the legalities of biopsychosocial assessment on students without parental consent, specifically, the Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment that states in part: (b) Limits on survey, analysis, or evaluations: no student shall be required, as part of any applicable program, to submit to a survey, analysis, or evaluation that reveals information concerning— (1) political affiliations or beliefs of the student or the student’s parent; (2) mental or psychological problems of the student or the student’s family; (3) sex behavior or attitudes; (4) illegal, anti-social, self-incriminating, or demeaning behavior; (5) critical appraisals of other individuals with whom respondents have close family relationships; (6) legally recognized privileged or analogous relationships, such as those of lawyers, physicians, and ministers; (7) religious practices, affiliations, or beliefs of the student or student’s parent; or (8) income (other than that required by law to determine eligibility for participation in a program or for receiving financial assistance under such program), without the prior consent of the student (if the student is an adult or emancipated minor), or in the case of an unemancipated minor, without the prior written consent of the parent.
The CCDF-USA team has also “followed the money” with Rhithm, and the data collection goes all the way to China. We have the financial trail that implies they also have access to all the student data, which our team will dive deeper into, and we will keep you all informed!
Here is a link to the Article that Carol Haines wrote for Texas Scorecard regarding Rhithm. After this article came out and after our public outcry, Rhithm scrubbed the web of any mention of their app being a “biopsychosocial assessment” and instead replaced that with “this is NOT a biopsychosocial assessment.” Fortunately, our team was a step ahead and saved the info, as well as the videos of the company stating the exact opposite.
Once again CCDF-USA is extremely pleased at all the work that is being done week after week. The overwhelming amount of “bad news” we are all surrounded with doesn’t seem so grim now that we are building such a strong presence within our CCDF-USA counties. Every story that we inform you on is being handled and addressed. The information that the County Director is currently working on that we provide in our newsletter has been stepped through our “Matthew 18” process. As a reminder those steps are as follows:
- Go to the individual(s) responsible in private
- Inform the citizens
- Engage Media Network
- Engage CCDF-USA Legal Team