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Would Mental Health Counselors Help Keep Palm Harbor Schools Safe?

The Pinellas School Board is considering hiring mental health counselors who would evaluate students identified as potential security risks and make sure they get treatment, TBO.com reports.

The Pinellas County School Board is considering hiring mental health counselors to evaluate students identified as potential security risks in an attempt to keep schools safer in the wake of the recent Connecticut shootings, TBO.com reports.

Board member Renee Flowers, who floated the proposal at a board workshop Tuesday, told the news site the counselors would talk to students identified by school guidance counselors and follow up to be sure they get help if needed.

The board has asked the school district to review its policies to see if such a proposal is possible, TBO reports.

Flowers said officials would still need to figure out how to cover the cost for students who aren't covered by insurance, and that parents would need to give their permission for their children to be evaluated.

School officials are also looking into the feasability of installing electronic door locks and buzzers in every school, according to TBO.com.

State Rep. Carl Zimmermann (D-Palm Harbor), whose district includes Palm Harbor, Dunedin and Tarpon Springs, has drafted legislation that would change the locks on all classroom doors so that they lock from the inside.

Pinellas schools each have their own security and crisis plan in place, in case of emergency, district officials told Patch shortly after the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT, in December.

Read more in TBO.com's story.

Do you think having mental health counselors in Palm Harbor schools would help keep students safe? Post a comment below and join the conversation.

Darlene Schueler January 25, 2013 at 02:21 AM
We have counselors, therapists, a system called RTI to help students with issues. Teachers spend countless hours documenting and referring students for help. A better plan would be to speed up systems already in place. One more person won't make it better. Not if we keep dragging our heels about getting help for the students already identified. Free up counselors to counsel instead of being used as clerks to count FCAT materials, clerks to schedule courses, and similar duties that pull them from the precious few minutes available to actually talk to students.

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