Editorial: Freeport student counseling takes step in positive direction

August 23, 2018

The idea of providing counseling services to students at Freeport Area School District deserves both a round of applause and a wholehearted “You mean they didn’t have this already?” response.

We have to realize that student counseling can’t just be about picking a college or deciding on a math class for next year. It has to be about giving kids the tools they need to get from day to day and week to week and not just grade to grade.

This isn’t a criticism of Freeport. Good job in making this available. It is flabbergasted shock at the idea that, in a country and a state and a county where we have dealt with the fallout of not having this kind of support, we have not long since looked at things and said, “You know what we need? We need to give the kids someone to talk to. Really, really talk to.”

While the move follows a request made by students in March following the Valentine’s Day shooting in Parkland, Fla., this is bigger than just one shooting, or any shooting. While countering gun control demands with the idea of more mental health care is the frequent one-two punch following a mass murder, we need to look beyond rhetoric.

Penn State has said for years that its students are in dire need of mental health care. The university has beefed up funding and options. The Class of 2016 made it a priority by pouring money into Counseling and Psychological Services as the class gift. A member of the administration and his faculty wife added their own donation to establish embedded counselors.

If our college students need help, of course our high school ones do, too.

And this isn’t just about violence and shootings. Counseling could help with so much more, not the least of which might be the war against opioids the state is fighting with a whip and a chair.

Gold star, Freeport.

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