SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The Springfield School Committee heard students’ concerns Wednesday night as they fight for mental health services.
In a budget hearing at Central High School, students proposed $4 million in additional spending to address teen mental health. They’re fighting for more adjustment counselors, wellness centers, in-school suspensions and discipline, annual professional development training, and extracurricular activities.
A Pioneer Valley Project survey reveals how the Covid-19 pandemic seriously impacted Springfield teens. Teens reported higher amounts of anxiety, depression, and suicidal thoughts.
LaTonia Monroe Naylor, Vice Chair of the School Committee, told 22News, “An obligation I think for all of us to be able to make, is making sure all of our students receive the support that they need. It may not be equality right, so we’re not looking for them to get exactly what somebody else may be getting. We’re looking for them to be met at their need.”
The committee is scheduled to vote next Thursday at Putnam High School. If supported, funding will be allocated through the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund, a federal program administered by the Department of Education in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.