DOTHAN, Ala. (WDHN) — Parents are used to signing permission slips before their child goes back to school and now you can expect another one for mental health counseling.
Over two months ago, the state department of education implemented a requirement for schools in Alabama that are receiving mental health funding to develop a mental health counseling opt-in form for students under the age of 14.
“We do support parents rights and do hope for parental involvement into their children’s education and well being,” Dr. Dennis Coe said.
Some children’s well being took a toll over the past two years or more dealing with the COVID pandemic.
“We have really taken charge in providing social emotion and support and mental health services for not only for our students but our teachers also” Dr. Coe said.
Dothan City Schools recently hired a mental health coordinator which is new to their school system – another requirement for all schools next year.
Right now, the school is continuing to offer an array of mental health services for children in need.
“From stress, anger management, we deal a lot with grief we have a lot of trauma type therapy that we offer and provide,” Dr. Coe said.
But children will miss out on those services if a form is not signed and on file.
As of right now, the school system has decided to table the mental health policy for 30 days, so parents can review the guidelines and provide input in case the policy needs to be changed.
The school system will revisit the policy at a school board meeting next month and they hope to have the permission slip sent out to parents by Thanksgiving.