LEE COUNTY - The Lee County teacher's union is praising the superintendent's proposal to hire additional mental health professionals in the wake of the tragedy in Connecticut. Matt Grant
This proposal comes just as Lee County Sheriff Mike Scott said his office Baker Acted 161 kids last year at the county's elementary, middle and high schools.
While budget cuts over the years forced the district to eliminate a number of positions including counselors and nurses the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary is putting pressure on many communities to rehire mental health professionals.
The teacher's union supports the idea saying cutbacks forced the district to eliminate counselors that could identify mental health issues in young people and get them help early on.
"As our budgets have been cut over the years," said Donna Mutzenard with the teacher's union, "the first people that are cut are usually school nurses, social workers, counselors. Our counselors have been cut way back in our schools."
Sheriff Mike Scott also supports the idea of hiring additional counselors. Last year, he says his deputies Baker Acted 161 kids deemed to be a danger to themselves or others.
The issue of hiring additional mental health professionals is still in the discussion phase. The cost is expected to be a concern.