Lee County school district supports student mental health, physical safety

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The School District of Lee County. Photo via WINK News.
Credit: WINK News.

Education leaders are committing to make sure students are safe physically and mentally.

The School District of Lee County plans to partner with SalusCare to help students get the mental health help they need.

Changes are also expected to come to in-school security, including the addition of stronger doors, panic buttons as well as steel posts.

MORE: Lee County school district – Safety and Security of School Buildings

We spoke to Melanie Pena, a senior at Cape Coral High School, who said these security announcements are important, as well as the commitment to student mental health.

“I think that’s a great idea,” Pena said. “We actually discussed this a week or two ago. We were talking about how the number of professionals and the number of people with credentials in mental health are kind of spread thin in this area.”

Tuesday night, Lee County School Board passed the mental health awareness training grant. It would specifically benefit high schools the District identified as at-risk and in lower income areas. The goal is to train some staff and community members to identify early warning signs of certain behaviors and connect them to resources both in school and in the community.

Pena says this would be a great asset at her school.

“It would be really helpful to have people with a background on mental health that could be just helping us out,” Pena said. “Because this year has been really difficult. So many of us are facing difficulties we’ve never seen before.”

None of these measures are going to be installed instantly. Both projects are going to take at least two years to see and implement.

The board also passed adding safety and security upgrades such as panic buttons, gates and security cameras to make some schools safer. It’s made possible by a state grant of more than $1.4 million.

“I think it’s really important that we do discuss security and mental health awareness and how those go together,” Pena said. “I see it fit that if we are strengthening our mental health awareness that we should also strengthen our security.”

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