Sacramento, CA – Assemblymember Reginald Byron Jones-Sawyer (D-South Los Angeles) introduced Assembly Bill 258, legislation that establishes a grant program that would fund health, mental health and other supportive services for California students.
“The need for supportive services at schools has long been recognized,” said Assemblymember Jones-Sawyer. “This was made even more clear two weeks ago, within the Los Angeles Unified School District went on strike, in part to call for an increase in student supportive services. School-based services allow for the treatment of immediate student needs throughout the school day an can play a critical role in connecting students and their families with our community health services.”
Support staff to student ratios are very low in California, with approximately one nurse for every 2,500 students, and one social worker for every 10,000 students. Districts statewide have sought additional state and local funds to address this shortage, while some advocates have proposed a ballot measure that would reform Proposition 13 in order to increase school funding. Should the measure pass, those funds would be available sometime after 2020.
In further support, Sheri Coburn, President of the California School Nurses Organization states, “The California School Nurses Organization applaud Assemblymember Jones-Sawyer for introducing AB 258, which recognizes the physical, mental, and social health needs of students. Children and adolescents do not leave their health issues at the school’s front door. School nurse assessments and interventions increase and support student health and well-being. Studies have revealed that the addition of full-time school nurses improved the attendance among students with chronic absenteeism. This reinvestment fosters increased school attendance at school and improved health outcomes for youth.”
“All children in California deserve a safe and healthy childhood that allows them to pursue their dreams and meaningful, productive lives,” said Robert Rooks, associate director of Californians for Safety and Justice. “Far too many students are carrying trauma from circumstances beyond their control that, when unaddressed, can impede their successful development and have negative consequences on others. Providing trauma recovery services in school would help students thrive and reduce the cycles of harm, creating safer and healthier futures for us all.”
“California’s educators care deeply about the health, safety and wellbeing of all students and believe meeting the needs ensure they show up to school ready to lean and succeed. Student support service meet a crucial need that extends beyond academics. Peer pressure, bullying at school, family troubles, and drugs use are all barriers to learning,” said CTA President Eric Heins, representing 325,000 educators around the state. “We are pleased to join Assemblymember Jones Sawyer in setting the stage for increasing the much needed support that only school counselors, nurses, and social workers can provide.”
“It is our responsibility to immediately invest in the health and well-being of our youth,” said Assemblymember Jones-Sawyer. “AB 258 provides an immediate and permanent funding source for necessary health and support services that will improve the academic performance and social development of California students.”