HARRISBURG – Senator Wayne Langerholc Jr. (R-35) and Senator Tom McGarrigle (R-26) announced legislation on Wednesday to increase the ability of school districts to hire professionals to focus on the mental health needs of their students.
“Through conversations with school officials in our districts, it is evident that we need to dedicate serious and sustainable funding to enable our schools to assist their students with mental health needs,” Langerholc said.
“Over the years, schools have reduced the number of guidance counselors yet have increased their responsibilities. This legislation will empower school districts to hire the professionals they need to fill this void,” said McGarrigle.
The legislation will provide school districts options to hire a social worker, school psychologist, or guidance counselor to solely focus on mental health issues.
Funding will come from the current filing fees for civil actions, legal proceedings, and property transfers; as well as, criminal, traffic and summary filings.
“By redirecting these fees to address mental health concerns in our schools, we will be preventing school violence and providing a resource to our schools that they desperately need,” Langerholc said.
“Identifying mental health issues early helps prevent a child from falling behind academically and possibly acting out violently. Our legislation sends the message that the mental health and safety of Pennsylvania students is a top priority,” said McGarrigle.