Courtney: School-Based Health Clinics are as Important as Infrastructure When it Comes to Safety

He said it will be a hot post-Newtown topic in Washington.


U.S. Rep. Joseph Courtney was intrigued by this question: Is the school safety debate all about infrastructure or does it run deeper?

He hesitated. Then the 2nd District Democrat became animated.

"Some do not think the federal government should be involved in the schools at all," Courtney said. "But I wrote to Rep. John Kline (the Minnesota Republican who chairs the Education and the Workforce Committee). He has a tough caucus, but in my letter I mentioned that the incident in Connecticut has obviously heightened parents' and educators' concerns about whether the schools need more help."

The result?

"It took a while, but his staff said he would make a commitment for committee hearings," Courtney said.

Courtney is serving as the top Democrat on the Education and Workforce Committee’s Workforce Protections Subcommittee.

He said it is still unclear what direction Kline might take the committee in terms of federal assistance for school security infrastructure projects.

One direction in which the Democrats want to move points toward school-based health clinics. He toured a school in New London this week to promote the concept and is following a decision in Vernon to put together a request for proposal to set one up. 

"School-based health clinics are helpful," he said. "They are pretty solid programs that involve school psychology, counseling, and those types of services."

Courtney continued, "It is as important as infrastructure. It can target young people. a group that has a pretty high concentration of illness. School-based health centers have staff, but you canals also refer students to adolescent psychiatrists in more complex cases."

The premise, Courtney said, is to help with, "Identifying kids who are struggling." He paused. "Who are … ill."

Courtney said even the National Rifle Association is behind the concept of mental health services. He said it was still early to tell what type of funding might be available for school-based health clinics. 

"But this is a real opportunity to get people working together," Courtney said.

Steve Bristol February 01, 2013 at 04:19 PM
Attention parents with school-aged children: If this is adopted, make sure you instruct your children to run to the school psychologist claiming a problem if their grades fall below where you want them. There is one warning, though...you might just get implicated in child abuse complaints filed against you. Just one more disgusting step away from anything resembling personal or parental responsibility. It also trivializes cases where there truly ARE issues that need to be dealt with. As one teacher friend lamented to me some time ago...schools are rapidly becoming childhood assisted living facilities. I couldn't be happier my sons are done with K-12.. Steve
Jay February 01, 2013 at 11:11 PM
Right on. The easy access to these health "professionals " by children raises the question of Mandatory Reporting by school nurses. You can image some seven year old telling the nurse about mommy and daddy fighting and what happens next. It actually was encouraged by the nazis and communists. It also opens the door to more money being spent on more "heros" working at public expense "fixing " things.. Go to a real health professional and there are serious limits on them picking up a telephone.. Think about it = if you have a kid in school you can have a knock on the door and find a social worker and cop standing there because junior told a story to the nurse...
Jim Braun February 02, 2013 at 12:36 AM
You two got that out of the story? The most unbelievable part I came away with was that Slow Joe got animated.
Jay February 02, 2013 at 01:02 AM
Let us remember what caused this - a mother who home schooled her "disturbed " son, left him alone for three days while she went to "spa" with Her cache of weapons. The school had this Man in the system for only a few years and then he disappeared..Happen again? Yes something like it will happen again but just how much are we willing to spend and change to meet this and other future whatevers? They are rare and violence across the country is decreasing dramatically. Latest study indicates the root of much of it was lead in the enviorment and not lead bullets.


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