Statement on Senate Report on Safe Schools & Mental Health

For Immediate Release
Contact:  Stephanie Rubin, [email protected], 512-473-2274

AUSTIN – Today the Senate Select Committee on Violence in Schools and School Security chaired by Senator Larry Taylor released its interim report with recommendations for legislative action. Following the release of the report, Stephanie Rubin, CEO of Texans Care for Children, issued the following statement:

“The Senate report suggests that Senators and Lt. Governor Patrick are interested in making progress on student mental health, although we won’t know how serious they are until we see what bills they pass and how much funding they provide during the next legislative session.

“We strongly support the report’s recommendations to improve student access to mental health professionals, both in school and in the community. Yet, the best way to protect students from violence is to prevent youth from considering violence as a solution to their problems in the first place. The Senate report fails to address how the state will help districts put in place school-wide strategies known to prevent violence and associated risks like suicide and substance abuse.

“We’re glad to see momentum building for action on student mental health. In recent years more school districts have put mental health programs and services in place. Legislators filed several important bills during the last session. Last year the Governor created the Hurricane Harvey Task Force on School Mental Health. And now Texans are calling for student mental health services to help reduce violence, including the disturbing number of attempted suicides among high school students in Texas. We hope state leaders build on these efforts and take real action, with meaningful increases in state funding, to support student mental health.”