The Pandemic Windfall Must Support Students’ Mental Health, Too

The implementation of the health care overhaul is expected to drive up the cost of tuition at public and private colleges in the U.S. by $8.3 billion from 2010 to 2019, according to a new report. This translates into about $1,075 per full-time student. That means students will pay higher tuition, which translates into increased debt load for graduates. (emphasis added) Humanities and Social Sciences

Schools are struggling to cope with the demand to provide mental health services, as a result of the growing pandemic. So far, little has been suggested to offset that pressure. Yet, schools have a unique opportunity to make a difference in students’ lives, for years to come, by focusing on mental health programs.

Most students will return to school full time this fall. But the children are not well.

The return of students to the classroom comes after more than a year of crisis that has left millions of people unemployed across the country, nearly 600,000 Americans dead, and at least 3 million children without access to educational services. Studies show that many students feel more stressed, isolated and depressed than before the pandemic.

Many students have problems and are more likely to misbehave, making them more likely to be considered for disciplinary action. But these social and emotional problems students face are exacerbated when schools rely on typical punishment systems (e.g., school police, suspension, restraints, corporal punishment) to regulate student behavior. Instead, schools should take the opportunity to use federal American Rescue Plan Act funds to invest in long-term recovery efforts and comprehensive services that provide holistic support to students.

Punitive practices are unfair, do not solve problems, and can have a lasting negative impact on the student’s future. Over the years, researchers have found that elementary and middle school students who have received punitive measures in school are more likely to have academic problems, school dropouts, and involvement in the criminal justice system later in life.

In recent years, some states and districts have begun to take steps to reform their criminal justice systems, but for too many students it was too late. In the 2015-2016 school year, 290 600 students were referred to law enforcement or arrested, and 120 800 students were removed from school with or without educational supervision. These trends continue and disproportionately affect black and Latino students.

States and districts have a unique opportunity to act and offer students additional services that support rather than punish them. ARPA provides $123 billion in state and local education funding, with a greater emphasis on student wellness and social and emotional learning. The bill requires that at least 20 percent of local education agency funds, or $22 billion, be used to address learning disabilities with evidence-based measures that meet students’ academic, social, and emotional needs. States finally have the opportunity to use federal funds to make significant investments in alternative sentencing that can better meet the SEL needs of students.

States and counties can use ARPA funds to invest in trained personnel who provide direct services, such as. B. counselors, community advocates, and social workers. Funds can also be raised to invest in SEL programs like CASEL or other evidence-based initiatives that help educators teach positive behaviors and give students tools to overcome challenges. Ultimately, any investment by the District in student support is strengthened by the continued involvement and contribution of families.

District and state leaders face many challenges, but they must focus on the SEL needs of students and avoid punitive systems that perpetuate systemic inequities. Until students feel physically and emotionally safe at school, all efforts to improve school performance will fail.

Photo: Getty Images Signature, licensed from Canva.

This source has been very much helpful in doing our research. Read more about children’s mental health 2020 and let us know what you think.


About the Author: Prateek

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