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Louisiana: State senate working on bill to allow outside counselors to treat students in school

May 9, 2018, KALB—TV, Baton Rouge, LA: Bill for private counseling of children at school passes Senate committee http://www.kalb.com/content/news/Bill-for-private-counseling-of-children-at-school-passes-Senate-committee-482237291.html A bill that would let children be treated by private counselors during school hours passed without objection at a Senate Health and Welfare Committee meeting on Wednesday. The bill would prevent public schools from prohibiting outside behavioral health experts from treating students if the parents asked to use them instead of just relying on school counselors. Behavioral health services are provided when an evaluation by a psychologist determines that a child has a psychiatric disorder and the behavior interferes with the child’s ability to learn in a classroom. … The bill was written by Rep. Vincent Pierre, D-Lafayette, and the House has passed a similar version. The bill now heads to the Senate floor. Under the bill, outside counselors would need to pass background checks by the Louisiana State Police. The services would be performed mostly during recess or lunch time, or during classes if medically necessary…. Scott Richard, executive director of the Louisiana School Boards Association, said the measure could eliminate jobs for school psychologists. “School-level professionals are concerned that the legislation will interfere with services by injecting potentially multiple private providers on campuses where current professionals are working,” he said. Gautreaux responded that school counselors “are overtasked with a whole bunch of duties so they’re not able to get to everybody.” He said the bill would ease the load on existing school psychologists. …