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Update On 3D Bullis & Origins Of ‘Mental Health’ In Schools

By Charlotte Thomson Iserbyt
Former Sr. Policy Advisor, U.S. Dept. of Education; author of the
deliberate dumbing down of america, 1999; updated/abridged version 2011

Exclusive To Rense

I have done much research on the origins of "mental health" programs in the USA, including in the schools. An important bit of research included in the Updated version of my original version of the deliberate dumbing down of america follows: Following is included in 3D Update, 2011.

In 1946, Time magazine (November 16) wrote an article about a man named Col. H. Edmund Bullis who was conducting a “new program in preventive psychiatry” in classrooms in Delaware. These programs were sponsored by the Delaware State Society for Mental Hygiene. Col. Bullis called them “human relations in the classroom.” In 1949 Col. Edmund Bullis wrote a paper that was presented at a Joint Session of the American School Health Association and the Maternal and Child Health, Public Health Nursing, and School Health Sections of the American Public Health Association at the 75th Annual Meeting in New York (October 27, 1949). The paper was published in the American Journal of Public Health, September 1950 (pp. 1113-1117). Some important excerpts follow:

If our Human Relations Class project continues to be as successful as our experience to date indicates, we hope that from their better understanding of their own emotional strengths and weaknesses, most of these boys and girls completing three years of weekly Human Relations Classes may progress toward emotional maturity.

The theory on which these Human Relations Classes are operating is that little can be learned about personality problems except through emotional experiences and that ordinary teaching or lecturing or giving advice fall far short in providing the kind of insights that come out of life encounters with emotional problems. While it is impossible to furnish children in classrooms with real life situations to discuss, to learn, and to understand, our efforts and techniques are to endeavor to create as nearly as possible these actual “life situations.”

Our weekly class generally starts with the teacher reading a stimulus story which features emotional problems. The students are then encouraged to discuss freely the emotional problems presented in the stimulus story, to give an appraisal of the solutions effected in the story, to speculate on the motivations lying back of the behavior of the individuals in the story. In this retelling of emotional experiences—often bringing out in to the open problems they have never discussed before—a better understanding of their actions often results. The students also gain insights by listening to their classmates tell freely of how they met certain emotional problems.

We have been pleased to find out that that the instructions given in our lesson plans are practical enough so that teachers who have never witnessed one of our demonstration classes have no difficulty in successfully conducting our Human Relations Classes.

Col. Bullis's book Human Relations in the Classroom—Course I, published in 1947, contained the following excerpts in the preface:

In 1932 the President of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching said to Dr. C.M. Hincks, distinguished Canadian psychiatrist and to me, “You in the mental hygiene field are making little real progress with educators with your philosophical lectures, pamphlets and books. Our teachers need something to help them meet the every day pupil adjustment problems of their classrooms. They need simple mental hygiene manuals and practical lesson plans to help their students to gain insights regarding their emotional problems.”

In 1940, I resigned as Executive Officer, the National Committee for Mental Hygiene, to endeavor to work out practical means of introducing the teaching of positive mental hygiene principles to normal children in public schools. I wished to develop and try out positive mental hygiene lesson plans, which from the beginning I called Human Relations Lesson Plans.
At this time, Dr. M.A. Tarumianz, outstanding psychiatric leader of Delaware, invited me to come to Delaware to start this experimental work under the auspices of the Delaware State Society for Mental Hygiene. Shortly after, the Committee on Research in Dimential Praecoz ( financed by the Supreme Council, Scottish Rite Masons, Northern Jurisdiction)and Mrs. Henry Ittleson of New York City also made grants to my work. This combined financial support made it possible for my capable teaching assistant, Emily E. O'Malley, and I to carry on our experimental work in a number of schools in the State of Delaware in Nassau County, New York, and in Brooklyn, New York. We had enthusiastic cooperation from the Delaware State Department of Public Instruction, the New York City Board of Education, Hofstra College, the University of Delaware and the superintendents, principals and teachers of the schools in which we were trying out our Human Relations classes….

Present indications lead us to believe that starting in September of 1947, a large percentage of the sixth grade classes in the public schools throughout the state of Delaware will have weekly Human Relations Classes based on the lesson plans in this book. During the coming year we expect to develop and try out Human Relations in the Classroom—Course II, for those classes which have had Course I. In addition, we hope to experiment with Human Relations Classes in primary grades, in youth organizations and in religious education.
Obviously, Col. Bullis and his fellow Mental Hygiene Society members have been very successful. Some of the “Human Relations Lesson Plans” bear a strong resemblance to teaching strategies contained in federally-funded and developed Curriculum for Meeting Modern Problems (The New Model Me) and other controversial National Diffusion Network programs resisted by parents in the 1970s to the present. These programs were so damaging and outrageous that the U.S. Senate passed unanimously the Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment and subsequent regulations for enforcement—which due to change agent chicanery and opposition—were never enforced at the local level.
For over sixty years those who have wanted to experiment with our children in classrooms all over the country have had tools produced with support from tax-exempt foundations, the government, and, at least once, a Masonic organization. Did we know? Did we inadvertently support experimentation with our children and their emotional health in public school classrooms, youth organizations and in our churches?
In closing this chapter, I would like to share with you some thoughts from our Librarian of Congress James Billington. In Billington's book, Fire in the Minds of Men: Origins of the Revolutionary Faith (Basic Books, Inc.: New York, 1980) in chapter 4 he explains some of the problems we have had:

The story of the secret societies can never be fully reconstructed, but it has been badly neglected—even avoided, one suspects—because the evidence that is available repeatedly leads us into territory equally uncongenial to modern historians in the East and the West…. In what follows I will attempt to show that modern revolutionary tradition as it came to be internationalized under Napoleon and the Restoration grew out of occult Freemasonry; that the early organizational ideas originated more from Pythagorean mysticism than from practical experience; and that the real innovators were not so much political activists as literary intellectuals, on whom German romantic thought in general—and Bavarian Illuminism in particular—exerted great influence... This author is concerned that many of the problems we have encountered in education in this country may have many of the same roots.
Charlotte's comment - The Skull and Bones Order at Yale originated in Germany.
As this book goes to press, our nation is experiencing demonstrations and protests by “student-led” groups angry over “capitalist oppression.” These demonstrations, which are spilling into the streets of foreign cities as well, call to mind James Billington's Fire in the Minds of Men and his remarks (above) related to the origins of revolutionary movements. As we stated in the preface to the deliberate dumbing down of america, “The United States is engaged in war . . . it has been fought in secret—in the schools of our nation, targeting our children who are captive in classrooms.” We may be seeing, in these demonstrations, the results of this war against our children's consciences and intellects. As Edward Hunter, the man who coined the term “brainwashing” and wrote Brainwashing: The Men Who Defied It, said of this war, and in regard to finally standing on principle and actively going up against evil: “There is no ‘behind the lines' any longer.”


Charlotte Thomson Iserbyt
Former Senior Policy Advisor
U.S. Department of Education


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