Nevada may not have enough school counselors. In fact, Nevada’s State School Safety Task Force is recommending legislative action to hire more mental health professionals.
The ratio the state gives for school counselors is double the ration the Clark County School District recommends. But both are higher than what national organizations recommend.
“When counselors and teachers are overworked it affects the kids,” said Rebecca Garcia, a parent.
Garcia is very involved in her kids’ education and she believes having adequate mental health resources will prevent school violence.
“We want to feel like our kids are safe when we drop them off every morning, and one way they can be safer is to have counselors who help them have the skills to be safe and also learn how to report incidents properly,” Garcia said.
“We learned that there are always warning signs,” according to Assemblywoman Jill Tolles, R-Washoe County, District 25.
In a recent presentation before the legislative committee on education, Tolles addressed issues with staffing ratios. The American School Counselor Association recommended a ratio of one counselor for every 250 students. But Nevada’s at one per every 1,000 children.
CCSD is disputing this number, saying it’s closer to 500 for both Nevada and the school district.
Assemblywoman Tolles goes on to say, when it comes to social workers, the national recommendation is the same. But Nevada is at one for every 1,500 students.
And when it comes to school psychologists, the state’s ratio is five times the national recommendation.
“A 2004 study, which I thought you’d find particularly interesting found that 70 percent of threats are successfully mitigated through non-violent intervention,” Assemblywoman Tolles said.
Garcia agrees with Tolles but says it all comes back to money.
“As much as I want to wave a magic wand until we address the funding crisis, we’re not going to be able to make sure that there’s enough support for our kids,” Garcia said.
Assemblywoman Tolles is a member of a School Safety Task Force created by Governor Brian Sandoval, R-Nev., and they are recommending legislative action to fund more mental health resources.