Loudoun, VA: School board to spend more on mental health; 'number one concern' of school principals

Updated: Jun 9, 2018

Feb 1, 2018, Leesburg VA, Loudoun Now: School Board’s Adopted Budget Would Achieve Universal Full-Day Kindergarten The $1.202 billion budget Loudoun’s School Board adopted tonight includes money to deliver the county to a goal it’s been chasing after for almost a decade: universal full-day kindergarten. … During their closing comments, several board members commended Williams for drafting a budget that goes a long way in offering supports to students facing depression, stress and other mental health concerns. The School Board left intact $3.2 million that Williams recommended to expand mental health services for middle school students through support teams made up of school counselors (17 additional would be hired), social workers (seven additional) and psychologists (seven additional). Last year, the board created and staffed mental health teams at each of the high schools, when Loudoun saw an increase in suicides among teens. “The reality is public education has become the safety net for children in many ways,” Hornberger said. “I think until those other safety nets are in place, if we don’t support them who’s going to? And I think they directly support our students’ ability to learn.” Morse said that it’s difficult for children to access mental health support outside of school. “What we’re seeing is if there’s no bridge between the children and mental health services, they are not going to use them. They are going to suffer, and their community is going to suffer,” he said. “A lot of people are focused on fiscal security, but the biggest risk to our students is mental security—hands down. From all the principals that I spoke with, that was their number one concern.”