Proposed Bill Would Create Mental Health Services at CA Elementary Schools

January 14, 2016 16:00 pm · 30 comments

State officials announced legislation aimed at addressing the impact of childhood trauma by bolstering mental health services at elementary schools.

Assemblyman Rob Bonta authored the bill, AB 1644, with support from California Attorney General Kamala Harris and an advocacy organization.

According to Harris’ office, the bill would start a four-year pilot program to aid elementary schools in establishing mental health services for students.

This effort would be particularly focused on schools in communities with higher rates of childhood trauma incidences, according to Harris’ office.

“This legislation will connect our most vulnerable children with the support they need and is a smart investment in the health and safety of our state,” Harris said in a statement.

The bill is said to build on previously existing state efforts – such as the now-defunded Early Mental Health Initiative – to help elementary school students who have experienced trouble adjusting to a school setting.

Without it being addressed, childhood trauma can reportedly leave kids less prepared for school and cause them to be more likely to exhibit anxiety, withdrawal and aggressive behavior.

Addressing these issues is a way of addressing the root causes of crime, according to state officials.

“A child’s exposure to trauma is one of the greatest public health threats of our time, seriously compromising a child’s long-term physical and emotional well-being,” Bonta said in a statement.

An advocacy group, Children Now, is helping to advance the legislation.

Ted Lempert, president of the group, said in a statement that the bill represented a chance to allow young victims of trauma “reach their full potential.”

TIFOKCIS January 14, 2016 at 4:39 PM

Grooming victims AKA liberal voters……..get ’em young.

(C)oncord January 14, 2016 at 4:41 PM

Having worked in the public school system for a zillion years, this seems like yet another vague, useless money pit. What situations do they feel would fall under the heading of “trauma”? Why only schools in “certain areas”? Hmmm, I wonder what “areas” those could be. How is this different from the established methods of Student Study Teams working with children, or IEPs for kids who have a diagnosis of Emotional Disturbance or other legitimate issues? Perhaps using education funding for education might be a useful tool.

Cellophane January 14, 2016 at 5:08 PM

Parents are no longer needed. They can just donate the eggs and sperm and go their merry way.

The State will raise the little darlings.

The Professor January 14, 2016 at 5:26 PM

Call me jaded but this seems yet another ploy to funnel more money to the school system under the guise of helping the kids.

I think that if they start up this program that they should begin with the mental health of those kids who identify as the opposite sex or opposite race.

The Professor January 14, 2016 at 5:28 PM

And I’m very surprised that Marky Mark didn’t propose this. He’s probably slapping his forehead as I type!

fed up January 14, 2016 at 5:41 PM

Agree with 1& 2. Another boondoggle to make someone rich and the taxpayers pay ala Al Gore and Global Warming.

It's a good idea January 14, 2016 at 6:35 PM

One of my nieces teaches in a low-income school in a community where violence is an every day occurrence. Growing up in such poor circumstances is devastating to the children. Every day she deals with children who are aggressive, lack self-control, and have obvious emotional issues. They desperately need additional mental health services for these students. The resources they have now are inadequate. I hope this bill becomes law.

mutts January 14, 2016 at 6:37 PM

Nooooo! No more indoctrination.

ClayDen January 14, 2016 at 7:00 PM

I guess it takes a village……………………

Conservatives Don't understand their platform January 14, 2016 at 7:54 PM

I just watched Jeb explain how fighting mental health issues would br no 1 on his agenda, which has been echoed among many conservatives. The issue only becomes liberal when conservatives realize the liberals are all for that effort. Targeting mental health early should be the goal.

Safety Second January 14, 2016 at 7:55 PM

Ah ho….an other double-speak word, i.e. “TRAUMA,” intended to dupe the dumb ass voters into thinking their favorite career whore politician is saving the world.

Rob January 14, 2016 at 8:08 PM

The NRA always says that shootings are a mental health problem, not a gun problem, so it makes sense to focus and spend resources on Mental Health – perhaps the NRA could kick in a few bucks to help out.

Teacher Man January 14, 2016 at 8:22 PM

#7, Thank you. At least someone agrees with me.

@ fed up #6. You obviously have no clue (concerning the 2nd half of your statement), so I won’t even try to explain because you wouldn’t understand anyway.

Eastbay Babe January 14, 2016 at 8:57 PM

At least now the students can be prevented from having a gun in the future. When will politicians be examined for Mental Health Issues?

Ted K., SuperMax January 14, 2016 at 9:15 PM

Jeeez, really?

Why doesn’t the state just mandate all children under the age of 15 wear diapers?

Russ Sayin January 14, 2016 at 9:21 PM

It sure would be nice to get some funding for Adult Mental Health services. This is one of the areas counties usually slash first from their budget

GuardianOfTheGalaxy January 14, 2016 at 9:41 PM

Hope we as a people can establish what “mental health” means before it’s too late. As it stands, it’s synonymous with criminal. I don’t want these poor kids losing opportunities in life down the road because they were branded as “mentally ill” at a such a young age. Will their mental health evaluations be kept secret and sealed when they become an adult? I hope so or it’s a set-up for disaster.

We already have an education to prison “pipeline” for the lower class. Let’s deal with that problem first.

Also, what’s this hoping to accomplish? A reduction in violence in our schools? Ha! Hope they have some Good Will Hunting level psychologists to face that problem. But those high class psychologists can get much better jobs than being the “school shrink”.

Why not put the money back into sports and arts programs???

Random Task January 14, 2016 at 10:04 PM

Wow so no funding to teach children but tons of money for a MDUSD skimmer to corruptly distribute throughout the district …this is probably proposed by the person who is going to be pocketing the tax money thru personal favors for superintendents and principals of said school district yay another program to hide “funds” and Skim tax money and continue the corruption and misuse of funds that currently make MDUSD a laughing stock money pit that has dragged down this area like a joke or rather punchline for city council members and democrats to throw in your face at election time …you voted for this enjoy the rip off and corruption you beg to have every election time …..yes boys in girls locker rooms and the worst education yet most corrupted funds money pit scam in the state …your educating our children with gang mentality and corrupt sociopathic tendencies to rip of people with lies and mismanagement

ON DA January 14, 2016 at 11:11 PM

Apparently better Mental HEALTH services merits better examination RIGHT??? Or perhaps blissful ignorance status quo satisfies the fleece “ditto”

chickennoodlesoup January 15, 2016 at 12:03 AM

Word to Russ Sayin!! Adult mental health is a huge problem and desperately needs funding. I have a schizo-affective brother who has been hospitalized twice in the last year – once for a mental breakdown/loss of reality and second for a massive septic infection. Both are not his fault as he is not capable of making proper judgement on his own behalf. A stable place to live, in a supervised household, with structure is what many of the mentally ill people need. The cost to the public would be much less to keep him safe and stable than hospitalized at John Muir and other facilities….he’s probably received over $150k in care on the public dime due to horrible, UNDERFUNDED, systems in place. He is 48 and mentally disabled. Please use your vote to help this group of people, it helps them and saves your tax dollars in the long run.

Disgusted January 15, 2016 at 6:27 AM

One principal was famous for accusing parents she did not like of child abuse and filing reports on them. When the school district was approached about this they said they could do NOTHING. She turned in a lot of children and NO claim was EVER proven-NONE> She once accused several parents of bringing guns to school!!! Again-NO ONE EVER brought a gun—but that’s how it’s done in the “more well-to do” school. (HER phrase-not mine). She brought in a buddy who was a psychologist…so CPS had to investigate all the cases. When asked why CPS kept giving her license to turn in parents she did not like-who opposed the horrible job she was doing, she simply called in CPS. Sure hope she’s getting the karma she deserves!

idiot hater January 15, 2016 at 7:58 AM

SOOO glad both my kids are out the California “Educational” System. On their own they decided to go out of state to attend a university. They had their eyes opened to a good education & are thriving. At some point the powers that be need to say stop & get back to basics. That includes music & art.

Justifyable Anger January 15, 2016 at 8:36 AM

Has a study been made to decipher WHY our children are traumatized these days? I know for a fact that this was not true 30 years ago. What is going on that is new? Why can’t our children cope with normal childhood things?

Why aren’t things still normal? Is there a new Norm? Why would we let a new normal of such destructive purposes take over? Why won’t the public and teachers rise up and protest this endangerment that has suddenly entered into our society?

Everyone here knows why. We are just AFRAID to name the beast.

Pyrrhus January 15, 2016 at 8:54 AM

So, we see mass shootings and everyone cries for mental health services to try to identify and prevent said shootings. Yet, when something is proposed to help with this you cry “DEM LIBERULS TRYIN TO BRAINWASH MY CHILDRN!!” Geez people, this isn’t isn’t a liberal or conservative issue. Am I the only one here that is seeing the hypocrisy from Claycord posters? The funny thing is I can predict the comments before I even read them. I wish there was an alternative to Claycord that had a more moderate readership.

Justifyable Anger January 15, 2016 at 9:11 AM

In understand your comments but you are missing the ‘before’. The transition. What happened to our society that caused such radical problems. Maybe we can fix the problem, rather than medicate the symptoms.

Random Task January 15, 2016 at 9:30 AM

Wow ok so all the taxes imposed over the last 12 years and schools don’t even supply pencils and paper teachers are not paid enough to care to teach and MDUSD leaches are only concerned for how much they can skim and get favors for ….now you openly want them to run a system that they grab more money and have no one watching as they declare 3/4 of students mentally challenged and Bilk the coffers. With bogus claims …I believe that is called fraud yet the voters get drawn in with big words and bleeding heart mentality to fork over billions at ever turn ( with a B ..yes ) for special programs that were not needed 30 years ago when school testing was at least on a mid to high level and striving for get higher …yet the new time out generation is turning everything over to corrupt council members and state legislatures like a bunch of ill informed 3rd graders paying 2dollars to an entrepenuring 6th grader for a stick of gum at recess. Fine give it all away but don’t tout your idiocy like a banner of freedom that you have allready voted to take away from everyone stop being selfish and self loathing and stop voting to let others rip us off and then give up our right to stop them. Take a time out and actually look at the waste and corruption plaguing our schools and local government be factual and stop ranting like a clown about how we should all buy your balloons. Be part of the solution and not the idiots creating it …..state taxes are at 10%…..fed is at 33% how much more are you willing gto give away a high population and increased taxes should bring in enough to fund schools and produce bright children yet their parents are not even educated enough to look out for their own well being let alone what the schools district is doing to screw them ….enjoy your fleecing you voted for it

(C)oncord January 15, 2016 at 9:38 AM

@Pyrrhus – I don’t think anyone is against mental health services for those who need it. This bill just seems redundant, with vague terminology, and the money could be used for other things. As I said earlier, I have been working in the public schools for many years. There are already many programs in place that offer these services, which is good, and I support that completely. The programs that are in place now such as SST (Student Study Teams), 504 Plans, and IEPs (Indivdual Education Programs) are very specific and highly regulated. In the case of a student on an IEP, it doesn’t matter what neighborhood that student lives in or the income level of the residents. That school is required to provide the services that child needs. If the school doesn’t have an Occupational Therapist,for example, that school needs to contract out and provide one for that student. The term “trauma” is too vague. A student could be going through a temporary problem – as we all do – and end up labeled as something he is not. Perhaps, as others have said, use the funds for art, sports, music, or field trips. Programs that will benefit all students. Programs to help students with special needs already exist.

Frustrated January 16, 2016 at 7:35 AM

In response to #18. I have worked in MDUSD for over 20 years. While all is not perfect there are a lot of great things happening in MDUSD. If you only look at the negative that is the only thing you will see.

Turn and burn January 16, 2016 at 8:15 AM

Just curious. So if a child is said to have mental health issues at a young age. Ho long does that stigma follow the child for? Into adult hood? What if that child at some point wanted to purchase a firearm but couldn’t because he/she was labeled Mentally unstable at age 11.

Concernicus January 18, 2016 at 6:39 AM

But here’s a hint: Less studies = less reports = less information = less results. The reason mental health wasn’t an issue back then was because nobody recognized mental health as being a legitimate indication of well-being or sickness. That’s not the same thing as, “Oh there wasn’t so much crazy going around when I was a kid!”. That just means your parents were ignorant. They raised you based on ignorance. We’re less ignorant now, hence the disorders and diseases that affect the lives of our fellow man are publicly recognized, as they should be.

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