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Florida: State senator calls for $100M to be used for school mental health screening and services

Feb 15, 2018, Winter Haven (FL) News Chief: Mental health money sought as state reels from shooting http://www.newschief.com/news/20180215/mental-health-money-sought-as-state-reels-from-shooting/1 Less than 24 hours after a troubled gunman killed 17 people — most of them teenagers — at a Broward County high school, a top state senator released a plan Thursday to steer $100 million to public schools for mental-health screening and services and to boost funding for school safety programs…. “We have to address the things that we can take immediate action on that aren’t steeped in controversy, such as being more aggressive on mental health and illness, making sure we are taking steps, physically, at our schools to make it more difficult for a perpetrator to conduct this type of activity. … Galvano’s proposal would more than double the $40 million now earmarked for a Senate plan that would create a special category for mental health in the annual funding formula for Florida’s 67 school districts. Under the proposal (SB 1434), school districts, as well as charter schools, would have to develop mental-health plans that would be submitted for review to the state. The mental health plans would have to include partnerships with at least one community program or agency to provide “prevention, diagnosis and treatment services for students.” The services would be aimed at reducing social, emotional or behavioral problems in at-risk students and could deal with issues such as bullying, trauma and violence. “How do we get help to the kids that have issues, so that it doesn’t escalate to where we are now. That unites us. There is no one that disagrees with that concept, no one. It’s just a question of how we do it, and how much money we put into it,” Sen. Kathleen Passidomo, a Naples Republican who’s sponsoring the legislation, told the News Service on Thursday. …