Home System list Mental health tops list of concerns for students at Montgomery Co.

Mental health tops list of concerns for students at Montgomery Co.

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“There is no doubt that the Magruder shooting changed us,” Himanshu Gediya, a Magruder high school student, told board members at Thursday’s meeting. “This entire school year has changed us.

Students in Montgomery County schools have made it clear to the school board that they want easily accessible mental health services, which they say is sorely lacking.

“There’s no doubt that the Magruder shooting changed us,” Himanshu Gediya, a Magruder High School alumnus, told council members at Thursday’s meeting. “This entire school year has changed us.



Himanshu was referring to the January shooting in a school bathroom that seriously injured a student. This incident and a number of episodes of violence in schools across the county this school year have fueled new discussions about the role of police in schools.

But at Thursday’s board meeting, students focused on the need for better counseling services over a police presence in schools.

Another Magruder senior, Grace Simonson, reiterated that ease of access to mental health services at school remains difficult: “If students don’t feel the real benefit of your work, then what’s the point- he ?”

Elena Davisson, a Magruder junior, said the counseling and mental health services provided after the January shooting were temporary and students were expected to return to normal routines soon.

“Instead of listening to the Magruder students, I guess we all collectively decided to only listen to the moms on Facebook or Twitter complaining about (school resource officers) being pulled from schools,” he said. she said, referring to the public safety shutdown. program that had posted ORS in schools.

Currently, police officers are assigned to school groups as CEOs or community engagement officers, but are not stationed inside school buildings.

After the Magruder High School shooting, Montgomery County Public Schools Superintendent Monifa McKnight said the role of police in and around school buildings would be reconsidered, with CEOs given access to school workstations.

“I think it’s appropriate to support schools in their efforts to be safe and secure,” Montgomery County Council Chairman Gabe Albornoz told reporters on Monday.

Students who spoke at Thursday’s meeting reiterated their preference for the focus on mental health support.

“Is adding ORS going to fix problems after they’ve already happened,” asked Baba Cisse, a junior at Albert Einstein High School. “An officer would not be my first choice,” to talk about mental health issues, he added.

“You heard screams in Blair and Northwest. You heard Magruder’s voices screaming. You heard the voices from across the county screaming. So I ask you, will you stand up and hear the cries for help,” Cissé said in closing, drawing applause.

Board member Shebra Evans spoke directly to the students when responding to the testimony.

“I just need you to know that we care, we hear you, we listen to you,” she said.

A former council chairman, Evans told students that better mental health support has been a budget priority in recent years. But, she added, “I’m just going to be honest. We never do enough. »

The school system plans to hire up to 50 school psychologists and counselors and has offered positions to 15 recent applicants.

But board member Lynn Harris echoed some of the frustrations expressed by students when she noted that similar concerns had been brought to the board several times during the school year.

“They tell us what they need,” Harris said of student feedback, adding that the same concerns brought before the board again indicate “this is a pervasive problem that we don’t know about.” ‘have not yet resolved’.