normalisation of society through pseudoscience

This has been doing the rounds on the home ed lists (understandably):


Children who do not go to school

Now, this has been complained about before, at which point they changed three words: “Legally, parents are responsible for
making sure that their child goes to school” was changed to “Legally, parents are responsible for
making sure that their child is educated.

The closest thing I think I could compare it to would be if the  the RCP claimed that refusal of a draft was somehow a psychological problem to be solved, rather than a rational reaction.

The real sticking point is, I think, here:

You and your child’s teachers should encourage your child to
go back to school as quickly as possible. Keeping your child off
school will make the problem worse. If you sort out any underlying
problems, like bullying or school work, many of the symptoms will
improve.

That is a very big “if” right there at the start of the second sentence. What if the problem is the teacher, or the headmaster? What if it isn’t, but the school is unwilling or unable to deal with the source of the anxiety? What if the root of the anxiety is that the child is not suited to the peculiar institution of school?

Note that, throughout, there is no mention that school is not compulsory, that you are perfectly entitled to educate your child outside of school. But you wouldn’t know that from the “factsheet”, and it undermines the whole affair.

Where they used to talk about school phobia, they now talk about school refusal, because there was pressure from both within and without psychiatry to only restrict the term phobia to irrational fears (though there is still talk of school and social phobias around).

Of course, the real problem is that the RCP is acting, as psychiatric organisations so often do, as a socially normalising agent. You can still find some in the field prepared to treat homosexuality as a mental illness, or indeed any sexual preference beyond vanilla heterosexual monogamy.

Yes, this is a factsheet about what used to be called “moral insanity”, when unmarried mothers were institutionalised. It is worth as much.

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