Mental Assessment ‘Rhithm’ Backpedals After LISD letter and Texas Scorecard Article
By Carole Hornsby Haynes, May 3, 2022
Rhithm’s website once self described as providing an App that performs a “biopsychosocial assessment.”
Numerous parents in the Lewisville, Texas school district were alarmed over the use of Rhithm in the classroom, so on November 5, 2021, I sent to the school board a letter to which a number of parents added their names (see letter below). Superintendent Kevin Rogers responded via email on November 19, 2021, denying our charges (see letter below). He stated:
“I do not believe it serves any purpose to try and refute all the statements in your letter, as it is clear you are not interested in the truth or even any information that is counter to the claims you made. You are entitled to your opinions, but I want to be clear that those opinions are not based on any factual information about LISD.”
What was there to refute? We reported facts – not opinion. However, the school board‘s intent was to shut down the public, especially parents. Dr. Rogers also claimed that, since I did not have children in a district school, I did not have the right to file a demand or even a complaint. Dr. Rogers seemed to forget that my state and federal taxes help to support Lewisville ISD, regardless of whether I have children in the district.
Deciding that the public needed to hear about this issue, I wrote a commentary that was published on November 30, 2021 by Texas Scorecard, “Public Schools Practice Medicine Without a License.” Shortly afterwards, Rhithm did some fancy backpedaling.
First, they changed the homepage description. Their “Assessment” now is for “Mental, Emotional, Energy, Physical, Social.”
Second, they added a Parent FAQ where they rebut our charges in the LISD letter, including denying their App performs a “biopsychosocial assessment.”
“Rhithm’s check-in tool is not a biopsychosocial assessment, is not a mental health assessment, nor does it provide diagnostic data.”
Rhithm’s rebuttals to other charges in the LISD letter can be read here. Rhithm provides ancillary services for SEL purveyors by collecting data and providing apps for classroom mental assessments on children. Rhithm’s mission is to “bring data into your work to understand how your SEL implementations are working.”
Social and Emotional Learning has become a huge business and an emerging profession. SEL is the vehicle for pushing radical sex curriculum and Critical Race Theory into K-12 classrooms. The outstanding documentary, Mind Polluters lays this out clearly.
Taxpayers are paying for the academic education of children, not for mental assessments nor a mental health curriculum to illegally smuggle in leftwing ideology. Neither do taxpayers expect their dollars to provide a captive audience for big corporations to enrich themselves still further. Parents must reassess whether they want their children in this dangerous environment that seeks to change student worldviews, create mentally unstable children and train little revolutionaries. A far superior choice is free market education.
November 5, 2021
Lewisville Independent School District
Dr. Kevin Rogers, Superintendent
Dear Dr. Rogers and Board Members:
Recently the Lewisville Independent School Board adopted the Rhithm App despite concerns voiced by parents.
By Rhithm’s own website, the App performs a biopsychosocial assessment. By definition, biopsychosocial (BPS) framework is an approach that emphasizes the importance of a systemic view of the individual and an integration of biological, psychological, and sociocultural factors on human development and functioning. A BPS assessment is typically conducted by therapists and counselors at the beginning of therapy and assesses for biological, psychological and social factors that can be contributing to a problem or problems with a client.
Why is this assessment being given during classes by teachers who are not trained as therapists and counselors? If these are for children who have difficulties in school, why do all children require such serious assessment? Most children come to school ready to learn and without major behavioral problems.
“Note about Children: As required by applicable law and our Terms of Service, children under the age of 13 in the U.S. (and a higher age if required by the applicable law in another country) may only use our Services with the express prior consent of a parent or legal guardian. If you are a Teacher, School Administrator, or District Administrator you must obtain all necessary parental consents before allowing students to use the Services.”
However, all children in grades K-12 are being assessed without the “express prior consent of a parent or legal guardian.”
“TITLE 2. PUBLIC EDUCATION - SUBTITLE E. STUDENTS AND PARENTS - CHAPTER 26. PARENTAL RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES Sec. 26.009. CONSENT REQUIRED FOR CERTAIN ACTIVITIES.
(a) An employee of a school district must obtain the written consent of a child's parent before the employee may: (1) conduct a psychological examination, test, or treatment, unless the examination, test, or treatment is required under Section 38.004 or state or federal law regarding requirements for special education...”
Only teachers, school administrators, and district administrators are allowed to see the data in real time.
Why not parents?
Rhithm discloses that it uses data according to FERPA. Since the unconstitutional gutting of FERPA, third parties claiming they need the data for educational purposes can access the information without the prior consent by parents for those under 18 and without parents knowing how the data will be used or with whom it will be shared.
The Rhithm website states that student data will not be used for marketing or advertising. However, a student’s Personal Information will be shared with “third parties to provide services to us or you in connection with the Services but [we] “will not share any user’s assessment data without first obtaining the appropriate consents.”
Since parents are not being asked to give consent for their child to be assessed by Rhithm, they also are not being asked to give their consent for this sharing of data.
Rhithm also “may share Personal Information with its parent, subsidiaries and affiliates, and investors primarily for business and operational purposes.”
Although Lewisville ISD has denied teaching Critical Race Theory in violation of Texas House Bill 3979, its tenets are being taught under various euphemisms. Some of the code words for race-based Marxist CRT are anti-racism, systemic racism, white privilege, white fragility, racial equity, white supremacy, diversity, inclusion, equity, culturally responsive teaching, social justice, action civics, colonialism, et al.
LISD has recently created a new position, the Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. LISD is using CASEL as its SEL provider in tandem with Rhithm. The CASEL website lists several Critical Race Theory terms in its five core “Competencies with Equity Focus” including cultural competency, diversity, inequity, equity, racial equity, and inclusive.
Psychological manipulation of a student’s values and thinking is found in the “Self Awareness” core competency with the explanation, “awareness of beliefs, mindsets, and biases” and “how they influence one’s behavior.”
Soviet-style collectivist worker training that was brought to American schools by socialist John Dewey is found in the “Relationship” core competency: “collaborative problem-solving” (Project Based Learning).
Also in violation of Texas HB 3979, LISD is receiving $37,525,350 in federal grants through the American Rescue Plan 2021 (ESSER) which have Critical Race Theory requirements. ARP requires the spending of at least 20 percent for “evidence-based” interventions that “respond to students’ academic, social, and emotional needs.” This must include “free, antiracist therapy for White educators.”
Good teachers have always built social skills into their classes. Helping children behave and work with each other is second nature to teaching. The real purpose of SEL programs is to psychologically manipulate a student’s beliefs, values, and worldviews toward socialism. It has become a vehicle for the Marxist based Critical Race Theory to indoctrinate students.
We as taxpayers do not intend to pay for these programs that attack the very foundations of our Constitutional Republic. Taxpayers rightfully expect our money to be used to provide an academic education for our children yet schools are now mental health and indoctrination centers. Public schools have become toxic and mentally unhealthy places for us to entrust our young. Over the past few months, the number of parents who have exited the public education system has increased by more than 300 percent. Unless schools make major changes immediately, that percentage will continue to increase.
As outlined in this letter, LISD has illegally implemented various programs and we demand that those be immediately canceled and all student data deleted with notification sent to all parents. We further demand the immediate implementation of an academic curriculum that is free of Marxist indoctrination and any Common Core (or its various euphemisms) lessons and instructional materials.
Sincerely, the undersigned*
Carole Hornsby Haynes, Ph.D. - Education policy analyst/curriculum specialist
*Parents names withheld here for privacy
November 19, 2021
Kevin Rogers, Superintendent Lewisville Independent School District
Dear Dr. Haynes,
I appreciate you reaching out and sharing your concerns with me and the LISD Board of Trustees. I’ve copied the Board on this response as well.
The assertions contained in your letter are patently false, and we categorically reject your claims regarding social emotional learning being tied in any way to critical race theory, which the district has never and will never teach in our schools. I do not believe it serves any purpose to try and refute all the statements in your letter, as it is clear you are not interested in the truth or even any information that is counter to the claims you made. You are entitled to your opinions, but I want to be clear that those opinions are not based on any factual information about LISD.
In your letter, you demand the elimination of Rhithm and SEL in our schools. Only families with students in LISD are permitted to challenge our instructional materials, and even then, only for their student(s). Any family wishing to opt out of the Rhithm app should follow the district’s established procedures, by submitting in writing a request to their student’s principal. LISD will receive written confirmation from Rhithm verifying the data has been disposed of and that verification will be provided to the requesting parent.
I do believe it is important to correct the misinformation you stated regarding the district’s approach to data privacy and security, which we take very seriously. LISD has executed a Data Privacy Agreement with Rhithm which is much more stringent than Rhithm’s general terms of service and supersedes Rhithm’s terms of service, which you referenced. This DPA prohibits Rhithm from sharing the data with 3rd parties. Further, Rhithm has earned the IkeepSafe Certification. iKeepSafe audits educational technology vendors to confirm their products, services, and systems are compliant with state and federal data privacy laws.
LISD is operating with the best interests of students in mind and within the legal requirements of data privacy laws, and will continue utilizing the Rhithm system as part of our adherence to Texas House Bill 1386 and Chapter 120 TEKS Character Development.
Kevin Rogers, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools
Lewisville Independent School District