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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: May 3, 2019 04:07 PM
From: Senator Jay Costa
To: All Senate members
Subject: Increasing Access to School Counselors, Psychologists, Social Workers and Nurses
Arguably now more than ever, we need to be sure our students have access to trained, professional support services in every school district across the Commonwealth. Research shows the overwhelming positive impact of ensuring every student feels supported by at least one caring and adult, and for so many, that need is met in school. However, in time of elevated need, required teaching, and mandated testing, it is unreasonable to expect teachers to fill all of these voids- and of course, teachers are not counselors. That is why it is integral for every school to have a full compliment of counselors, psychologists, social workers, and nurses.

Quite simply our schools are incomplete without these professionals there to help.

Our legislation requires school districts to evaluate their needs based on school population and requires a necessary complement of school counselors, psychologists, social workers, and nurses to ensure that access to help is never a problem and that case load management is never an issue.

Whether for undiagnosed mental health, the impact of trauma, the challenges of isolation, or the anxiety often associated with today’s learning, our kids need access to timely and professional support. This bill also requires proper privacy procedures and parental involvement in this area.

This bill is a companion to a House Bill authored by Representative Miller.

We hope that you join us co-sponsoring this important legislation and making sure that these services are in place for every student in Pennsylvania.

Introduced as SB650