Keeping Johnny Quiet

I doubt that there is a schoolteacher who hasn't at some time wished for a magic formula to quiet an overactive child in his classroom. Well, it seems to some that the formula has arrived, but it's not so magic. In fact, it has been in use for ten years or more, but its use is just now coming to light. Where a child is found to be "hyperactive," a doctor prescribes a drug that keeps him calm and supposedly makes him a better learner. The "underactive" child, too, is given a drug to stimulate his responses to what the teacher is teaching. Realizing that one or two offbeat youngsters in a classroom can greatly increase the teacher's work load, teachers more and more are asking that these drugs be administered.

This is a situation that calls for more wisdom than can be expressed through righteous indignation. The problem exists because teachers want help and because parents, recognizing that one child's disruption of a room takes away from what the other children gain, are giving their consent. This is not something that is being done thoughtlessly. Dangers are seen. The presence of unknown factors is recognized, but where the procedure is being followed, the balance between negative factors and positive results appears in the eyes of those making the decisions to be on the side of the positive.

Important Points in the Healing Work
June 12, 1971

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