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ACLU: Schools Need More Mental Health Professionals, Not Police

By Amir Vera, CNN - March 23, 2019

Public schools need more mental health professionals and fewer police, according to a recently released report by the American Civil Liberties Union.

The report found that nearly one-third of public school students, more than 14 million, are enrolled in schools with police but without a counselor, nurse, psychologist or social worker. The shift in resources comes as schools reassess their security measures in the wake of repeated school shootings and as local, state and federal governments make more money available to fund officers on campuses.

But the "severe shortage of the staff most critical to school safety and positive climate" makes schools vulnerable, the ACLU said in the report titled "Cops and No Counselors: How the Lack of School Mental Health Staff is Harming Students."

The report uses 2015-2016 data from the Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights to compare access to school-based mental health services to access to law enforcement officers and security guards in 96,000 public schools.

"A key finding of this report is that millions of students are being underserved and lack access to critical supports," the nonprofit said in the report. "These glaring deficits in mental health staff for students are inexcusable, especially in comparison to the number of reported law enforcement in schools."

Source: CNN

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