House Committee on School Safety – Student Health Meeting Overview

The House Select Committee on School Safety – Student Health Working Group met on April 9, 2018.

NC School Counselor Association:

The North Carolina School Counselor Association President-Elect, Tim Hardin provided an overview on what counselors do, why counselors are important, and what resources they need moving forward. He reported that North Carolina’s ratio of counselors to students (1:386) is better than the national average (1:400). However, they would love to see one mandated a full time certified school counselor in every NC public and charter school. This would move NC closer to the recommended ration of 1:250.

NC School Psychology Association:

Heather Boling, President of the North Carolina School Psychology Association, presented to the committee on what psychologists do traditionally, and some other roles that they may fill as needed. She stated that there were 12 school districts with no school psychologists. She recommended that the committee consider an increase in access to services for mental health, increase pay for school psychologists, and enact reciprocity for NC licensure to fill the gaps.

School Psychologists: Needs and Licensure Reciprocity:

Lynn Makor, Consultant for School Psychology for the NC Department of Public Instruction presented an overview on school psychology training and licensure for the state. There are 5 training programs in the state and all of the programs are nationally approved. However, she stated that more programs are needed, or more recruitment from other states is necessary in order to fill the 74.9 reported vacancies.

School Based Mental Health: Recommended Programs

Kym Martin from the NC Center for Safer Schools presented on mental health training programs, school/mental health partnerships, care protocols, and school based health clinics.

Mark Benton, from DHHS, presented on improving mental health services in schools. He noted that over 10% of those under 18 are estimated to be struggling with mental health or substance abuse. DHHS is currently looking into a school nurse study that reviewed funding and ratios. In the future, DHHS would like to look into more training, technical assistance, and increasing the number of counselors, psychologists, social workers, and nurses.


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