VERIFY: Did Sen. Isakson blame Attention Deficit Disorder on parents?

KENNESAW, Ga. -- A U.S. senator is under fire, Thursday night, as parents on social media are sharing a quote from him saying attention deficit disorder is not a disability.

It was a comment from Senator Johnny Isakson and one that hasn’t gone over well with some parents.

“When he stated that the reason they had ADD and ADHD was bad parenting, I was absolutely offended,” one mother said.

The social media posts being shared specifically reference Isakson’s town hall from Monday night. 11Alive cameras were there so we checked our archive and found almost the exact quote being shared on social media.

This is true.

Listen closely to the senator from Georgia:

“When I chaired the state Board of Education in Georgia for a few years, people always used to talk about Attention Deficit Disorder [ADD] being the big disability,” he said. “That's not the disability, it's the parental deficit disorder that's the problem. Parents aren't raising their kids like they should.

Sen. Johnny Isakson did blame ADD on parents - that’s verified. He was responding to a mother in the crowd who was worried her son would be shot by police.

“I want to see my son who is 23 years old grow up to be a man grow up safely,” she said. “And I'm terrified for him.”

She did not tell the Senator her son had ADHD, but plenty of parents in the crowd have children who do and were extremely offended by the comment.

“He needs to apologize,” one parent said. “That's just absolutely ridiculous.”

Hundreds of people commented online after the town hall but a father responded to the comments head on during the meeting.

“I'm trained as a scientist, I work as a psychologist,” he said. Two to three percent of children worldwide have ADHD.”

ADD and ADHD are protected by the federal civil rights statute under the educations rights act and parents think the senator should acknowledge that.

“It horrifies me that you can cavalierly trash science like that when we're standing in the room with you,” one spectator responded.

In a statement, a spokeswoman for Senator Isakson said he absolutely does not believe that ADD and ADHD are the fault of the parents and said he was merely offering an anecdotal story in support of the speaker at the town hall meeting.

But parents talking about the comment online aren't buying it and they think he needs to apologize.

© 2017 WXIA-TV


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