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Forum targets student safety, well-being ADVERTISEMENT

Forum targets student safety, well-being

WATKINS GLEN--Watkins Glen Central School District held the second session of the student safety and well-being community forum series Tuesday, April 17 in the elementary school auditorium. The series was established in response to concern for school safety after the Parkland shootings in Florida. A team of school psychologists and counselors addressed issues concerning mental health services and psychological safety in the district.
The team of student support services professionals was introduced by teacher, Sarah Woodward. The presenters included school psychologists, Melissa Snow and Katie Richardson, guidance counselors, Alyssa Hoobler and Christin Bresett, and youth prevention counselors Peter Frei and Kayla Johnson. The school has two additional guidance counselors and a social worker. Each team member gave a description of their role in the district and the programs and supports they offer students. Frei and Johnson said that they address alcohol and substance prevention with students at risk while also helping with other issues the students are navigating. Katie Richardson noted the school has a strong team of professionals who work hand in hand to help students.
Christin Bresett noted the school uses data supported programs and works to lessen the stigma that is sometimes attached to mental health issues. The school utilizes the model of positive behavior, intervention and support, a program that offers a three tiered approach for students. In addition to PBIS and counseling services, the school offers peer mediation and mentoring programs.
Schuyler County Mental Health Clinic Director Ashleigh Wedding also addressed the importance of the relationship between the clinic and the school. She noted that the close physical proximity and cooperative relationship between the agency and the school means that students have access to enhanced mental health support in difficult times. Wedding also noted the clinic has a nurse practitioner who works with young clients with medication concerns.
Kelahan commented on the importance of bringing mental health issues to the public eye and how crucial it is to partner with community agencies. Kelahan said, "We will not be the school that lets a student slip through the cracks. We couldn't live with ourselves."

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