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Mason City, IA: District plans for therapy dog in every school for "mental wellness program"

Feb 29, 2020, Cincinnati Enquirer: Mason City Schools' newest hire has four paws and a wagging tail Mason City Schools' newest intern is a yellow Labrador retriever named Lucy. Lucy will provide one-on-one support to Mason Elementary School and Mason Intermediate School third through sixth grade students, according to a release from the district. Lucy will also be available during the schools' group therapy sessions. Lucy will soon be joined by another furry faculty member, the release states. Gibson, a 4Paws For Ability service dog, will provide therapy and reading support to all 2,200 Mason Early Childhood students. District officials state they hope to eventually have at least one therapy dog at every school as part of its mental wellness program. The program is growing based on community concerns regarding student mental health…. In addition to therapy dogs, Mason City Schools mental wellness team includes a mental wellness supervisor, three mental wellness coordinators and a district social worker. Mason High School students also have the option to take Hope Squad, a district-funded, peer-to-peer suicide prevention class….


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