The current Biden administration has announced that they have three initiatives to help support the National Mental Healthcare Crisis facing our youth today.
These initiatives are undoubtedly crucial steps in the right direction, as they recognize the urgent need for support. However, it is important to acknowledge that they alone will not completely resolve all the issues tied to this crisis.
Reflecting on my experience as an administrator in the education sector several years ago, I vividly recall encountering students on a daily basis who were grappling with varying degrees of mental and emotional health challenges. Unfortunately, this trend persisted throughout my career, with the needs of students only growing more pronounced over time. Now they are at an all time high in classrooms across the country and we can see many of the issues in our society.
Realizing the gravity of the situation, I dedicated myself to forging partnerships with external organizations and individuals who could provide additional support to our school. We even made office space available for these groups, enabling them to meet and assist students. These organizations proved to be invaluable, as they possessed the competence to secure parental consent and bill Medicaid for eligible students.
It was primarily the students eligible for Medicaid who benefited from these services, and they will likely continue to be the main beneficiaries under the proposed plans. However, we all benefitted from having these individuals in our building to provide us with a model of how to handle conversations and to model for us.
These interventions undoubtedly made a significant impact years ago, and I am confident they will continue to benefit students. However, if we are to truly address this crisis, we must incorporate additional layers of support and interventions, foster partnerships with families and communities, and move beyond merely applying a bandage to a wound that is at risk of bursting. The alarming rise in suicides, violent behaviors, and crimes serves as evidence of the inadequacy of our current approach.
Enter the “Two Rule School” philosophy and plan—an approach that guides us through each school day, promoting consistency in expectations, learning, and the establishment of a positive culture.
This approach empowers students by teaching them about the choices they have and the responsibility and consequences tied to those choices. The Two Rule School method cultivates problem-solving skills, resilience, relationship-building abilities, self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and much more.
We must address the needs of our children through multiple layers of support, helping them navigate their journey towards success. As I have often said, “Education is something we do with children, not to them.” By working together to meet their needs on a daily basis and showing them that we can help them overcome barriers, we can make a lasting impact.
Achieving this requires a collaborative partnership between the home, school, and community. Only by working together can we bring about the necessary shifts to support all our children as they develop into the leaders of tomorrow. It is not the responsibility of a single entity, but rather a collective effort that will ensure the best possible outcomes for our children. Parents are responsible for their children in every way. We have no rights in taking their responsibilities from them. We have a system to report suspected abuse, which then makes the determination if the child is safe in their environment. Education is a home, school and community partnership.