Schenectady, NY: District hires psychiatric nurse practitioner,social workers, counselors

Mar 4, 2018, Schenectady (NY) Daily Gazette: As educators, lawmakers focus on school safety, some districts eye resource officers—'It helps keep people sharp, it helps calm people down in crisis situations' Montgomery County sheriff’s deputy C.J. Rust walks his beat inside the halls of Amsterdam High School, where he graduated in 2010 and now serves as the school’s armed protector. He meets with administrators, discussing specific concerns if necessary, assists in training and drills, patrols schools entrances, visits health and other classes, and meets with students in his office and around the school…. “I believe there is a need for school resource officers all across the nation,” Rust said in an interview Friday, when he spent the snow day on routine patrols, assisting struggling drivers and at accidents. … Outside New York City, statewide less than 35 percent of schools last year reported “having a police officer or other safety officer” present at school on a regular basis, according to the state Education Department. Those numbers cover more than just school resource officers — so even fewer schools would report having an armed law enforcement officers in school. … Educators widely point to mental health services as the true front line of fighting back against school gun violence. Calling for more funding for social workers and therapeutic approaches to behavioral problems, district officials discuss the importance of developing a stronger mental health safety net for all students….. Starting next school year, districts will be mandated to include more mental health matters into their health curriculum, an effort to help students become more aware of the social and emotional strains and stresses in their lives. Schenectady schools recently hired a psychiatric nurse practicioner to head up a team of social workers and counselors housed in an isolated wing of Keane Elementary School and charged with handling serious student cases from around the district.