Bill providing mental health resources to schools gets mixed reactions

Senate Bill 266 is working it's way through the statehouse. It would create a school based mental health grant program for schools in Indiana.

Posted: Mar. 4, 2019 10:02 PM
Updated: Mar. 4, 2019 10:18 PM

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WFFT) - More than 400 new laws are still alive as the Indiana General Assembly begins the second half of the session.

Some of those bills include teacher pay, gambling, hate crimes and student mental health.

That the proposal would give schools additional money to help pay for assessments to make sure students have the resources they need.

However, some parents feel this measure has schools overreaching.

"Bringing mental health into the schools, I think that's letting the government and the schools come in and raise your children," said Melissa Hoover, FWCS parent.

Senate Bill 266 is working it's way through the statehouse. It would create a school based mental health grant program for schools in Indiana.

The proposal includes having assessments done at school, with parents' permission.

Hoover doesn't think this proposal is a good idea.

"For them to have the power to label my child or come into my home and take over my parental role is, I just think that's overstepping their boundaries," she said.

Fort Wayne Community Schools said it already has mental health resources in schools, and those programs have been in place for years.

"We really value having mental health for our students," said FWCS spokeswoman Krista Stockman.

FWCS has therapeutic counselors in about 20 elementary schools.

"Those are counselors who come in with a mental health background and work with students who have issues that need to be addressed," Stockman said.

The counselors come after a long partnership with the Bowen Center and other agencies.

Stockman said having those resources available at school helps families who may not have access otherwise.

"With therapeutic counselors in our buildings, they can meet with the students in the building while the kids are at school, address issues as they come up," she said.

Still, Hoover doesn't think this is the time to make mental health a state law.

"I think that it really needs to be researched a little more and written a little more thoroughly so parents can get a better understanding what we are accepting into our school district," Hoover said.

The bill is now in the Indiana House of Representatives for consideration.

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