Texas: Governor wants more counselors in schools; educators want him to do more

June 12, 2018, Midland, TX, Your Basin: After Santa Fe shooting, Gov. Greg Abbott wants to put more counselors in schools "After Santa Fe shooting, Gov. Greg Abbott wants to put more counselors in schools. Educators say that’s not enough." was first published by The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan media organization that informs Texans — and engages with them — about public policy, politics, government and statewide issues…. But one part of his plan pushes a softer approach: Hiring more counselors to focus on student mental health. Texas school officials and experts say they're heartened by Abbott's proposal, but they think the governor should go further to improve mental health resources in schools. Simply identifying students who are having a mental health crisis isn't enough, said Tammi Mackeben, president of the Lone Star State School Counselor Association. Teachers, administrators and counselors all need to work together to improve overall student mental health, with counselors ready to step in once problems appear, Mackeben said. … School counselors are often given tasks like scheduling and administrative work, Mackeben said, limiting the time they can focus on students' mental health. A counselor is “the only person on campus who is trained in mental health issues, so we’re trying to get that message out that they are the person on campus to deal with these kind of issues,” she said. Abbott’s plan recommends freeing up school counselors to focus on students' mental health and behavioral needs rather than on tasks like scheduling and college applications. To do that, Abbott recommends allowing schools to shift money toward counseling and mental health services. … For example, Dallas Independent School District uses a method called social and emotional learning, which integrates self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills and responsible decision-making into classroom teachings, said Juany Valdespino-Gaytan, Dallas ISD's executive director of student engagement and counseling services….