Parents find solace with Hendry district schools mental health plan after mass shootings

Reporter: Gina Tomlinson
Published: Updated:

In a matter of hours, President Donald Trump will visit the families of the victims gunned down in two separate mass shootings. His visit comes as both shootings have reignited the debate over mental health concerns – something school districts in Southwest Florida are ready to deal with.

For parents like Michael and Marisa Gonzalez, the tragedies in Dayton, Ohio, and El Paso, Texas, are on their minds.

The couple have two kids and are happy with the Hendry County District Schools plan to adopt a mental health plan.

Hendry district schools has two licensed school psychologists, one Board Certified Behavior Analyst, two behavior technicians, ten school nurses and fourteen school counselors working full time last year. There are additional employees working part time.

”At least if there’s more counselors and stuff like that at school,” Michael said. “They can go to somebody they can talk to them.”

It is additional help that was not there before Dominic Aguilar graduated from LaBelle High School.

”I feel like its good for teenagers to talk about certain things,” Dominic said. “I feel like there’s some kids that wouldn’t be open to it.”

Dr. Laura Streyffeller, who is a licensed mental health counselor, said schools need to make it comfortable for kids to come seek help with everyday problems.

”Because your on overload,” Streyffeller said. “Because you’re stressed. Because your boyfriend or girlfriend broke up with you.”

Streyffeller said paying attention is the best help out there.

“Kids are feeling so disconnected, and not noticed,” Streyffeller said. “Counseling needs to focus on helping kids feel connected and safe and have tools and not so overwhelmed.”

It is something Dominic would have welcomed when he was at school.

”Like an equal sense of just like, ‘hey, you know, we can talk to you,'” Dominic said. “‘You can talk to us.'”

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