Too Many Problem School Kids? Hire More Counselors!

In its ongoing transformation from an organization dedicated to protecting civil liberties into an organization dedicated to advancing social justice causes, the ACLU has issued a report, “Cops and No Counselors,” which makes the case that “the lack of school mental health staff is harming students.” (The study was picked up obligingly by Richmond’s WRIC TV.)

The ACLU, which has taken the lead in instituting a social justice model of school discipline in Virginia schools, argues that Virginia should reallocate resources from law enforcement and “school resource” officers to more mental health counseling.

The study documents that 86% of Virginia students attend schools that fail to meet the benchmark of American and Virginia school counselor associations of at least one counselor per every 250 students. As WVIR notes, mental health support for schools was a focus of the General Assembly this year. Among other measures enacted, the budget set aside $12 million to cover the cost of hiring about 250 more counselors across the state, enough to reduce the ratio of counselors to high school students from 1-to-350-to 1-to-325.

Another bill requires counselors to spend 80% of their day working with students. Apparently, counselors aren’t doing enough counseling.

“They’re spending a lot of their time doing administrative tasks and doing things like testing instead of spending the majority of their time providing mental health services,” said Ashley Everette, a policy analyst with Voices for Virginia’s Children. “There aren’t enough of them.” Virginia needs to invest in health services within schools “because schools are where children typically are.”

Bacon’s bottom line: Schools, once envisioned as places where students learn to master reading, math and other academic subjects, is increasingly regarded by social-justice activists as an incubator of social reform. It is falling upon schools to ameliorate the affects of an increasingly dysfunctional society and increasingly prevalent disabilities, such as autism and ADHD, of unknown provenance. As always, the interests of the afflicted students are paramount and the interests of non-afflicted — I don’t dare say “normal” children, for fear of transgressing some progressive taboo — are subordinate. I have yet to see an ACLU study of the effect of school-discipline changes on the quality of education provided students who behave themselves and play by the rules.

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14 responses to “Too Many Problem School Kids? Hire More Counselors!”

  1. Steve Haner Avatar
    Steve Haner

    Apparently the House GOP Caucus is dominated by SJW’s too, Jim. This their latest Twitter message, minutes ago:
    VA House GOP
    “Providing more mental health support in the classroom was a major focus of the General Assembly session. Many of the ideas formed from the House Select Committee on School Safety”

    One counselor per 325 pupils does not sound like an overload to me…Clean out some other central office positions and maybe we can get it to one per 250….

    1. They based their recommendations on study group recommendations, which are geared to preventing another Columbine. Columbine-like massacres usually are perpetrated by severely disturbed and/or alienated middle-class white kids — a very different problem than problems arising from predominantly black schools where discipline is a greater issue. Maybe we do need more counselors to spot potential shooters. But, again, that’s a very different from from schools referring to many disciplinary problems to law enforcement.

  2. LarrytheG Avatar

    Don’t rule out pandering by the GOP… but yes… the GOP is all over “social justice” issues these days also.

    And Jim, apparently fails to see the connection between Civil Liberties and Social Justice.. ahem…

    If you have a society where entire groups of people – believe they are not getting an equal bite at the apple – is that not a problem?

    And if we say it actually can be a problem – that makes us “Social Justice Warriors”?

    I think Jim has jumped the shark lately.. I guess it’s his advancing age where many Conservatives lurch even further to the right as they enter the age of geezer. GET OFF MY LAWN you freaking social justice fools!

  3. LarrytheG Avatar

    re: ” But, again, that’s a very different from from schools referring to many disciplinary problems to law enforcement.”

    no, not really. it’s a matter of degree and if you let a problem fester – it gets worse.

    what is our goal with education? It’s MORE than to “get educated”.

    It’s to have youngsters grow up and be able to care for themselves and their own families. If we cannot accomplish that in our society – we have problems.

  4. Steve Haner Avatar
    Steve Haner

    Jim makes an excellent point when he complains that a handful of students, either with discipline issues or special needs, can greatly diminish educational opportunity for the rest of the class. The point he is missing here is this is an attempt to address that by bringing in additional manpower to take the pressure off the classroom teacher. I see the ACLU’s point that calling the cops is the go-to step too often. You on the other hand are just being a partisan when you accuse the GOP of “pandering” when it does something against your stereotype.

    Sadly it has become the job of the schools to try to replace the family as the source of civil behavior, but the schools are not very good at that. And now the parent or parents are often fighting back when the school tries. “You can’t do that to my kid!”

  5. NorrhsideDude Avatar

    Can we hire surrogate parents for the kids instead? I’m not sure a once a week school counselor visit will do It for these kids.
    That “life ain’t nothing but b1tche$ and money” lifestyle is not paying dividends. Nor is the trailer park meth model…. But dads and discipline is way over rated anyway.

    1. LarrytheG Avatar

      I understand where NSD is coming from and if you want to take race out of it – so that it really does apply to certain folks of low education, low income and low expectations, I totally agree.

      Before too many of us got on the race track , there was the term “trailer trash” and it aptly describe folks who never got brought up “right” themselves and then produce offspring that then get inflicted on the public school system.

      One or two of them in a classroom can and do wreak havoc and the color of their skin matters not one whit.

      But we have other folks who have to turn that into a race issue and it really does blows things up in terms of trying to work through it in a real world way.

      The bottom line is that there are more than a few kids who need “more” than just “education” and yet we blame the schools for the problem – just about every other day here in BR.. it seems.

  6. LarrytheG Avatar

    re: partisan.

    Let me explain. If “we” are going to start labeling people who care about these kinds of issues – as “social justice warriors” – which typically is a partisan phrase in itself if you listen to the dialogue would we say that folks on the right who say they abhor “social justice warrior” activism are then “pandering” if they too take up the cause?

    In other words, the folks on the right are playing both sides of the street by first marginalizing the folks who take up these issues – then they turn around and join in themselves but not before condemning all those “social justice warriors”.

    So he’s the deal – why are we using that term “social justice warrior” in the narratives here in the first place if not for partisan purposes?

    I find that concept especially pernicious when discussing issues that are framed often by race, i.e. blacks are more “disruptive” and have more that need “extra education” that costs “more”, etc.

    I just think the phrase “social justice warrior” tilts the conversation from the start in a partisan way and I call it out.

  7. Steve Haner Avatar
    Steve Haner

    I’m not going to defend Jim :). But you accused the legislators of pandering, when I know (and you should) that many of them are career educators who act in the best interests of the children and are willing to plow in more money when it has a chance to work. Most bills and issues down there are not partisan at all. Directing more funding into school counselor positions probably didn’t spark one speech about SJW in the House of Senate. Plenty of other grist for that mill.

    1. LarrytheG Avatar

      re: career educators who are also legislators?

      If they have a long history of those efforts AND they’re not among those using the social warrior moniker – I AGREE.

      But I do ask – for those who tend to impugn the schools, accentuate the issues with discipline and academic performance – in racial terms – if those folks suddenly get on board with the “more counselors are needed”, etc.. then it has a bit of a taint to it.

      We have LOTS of problems these days with education – from higher ed down to schools in low-income places like Richmond (and in Henrico) that are cast by some in terms of those who are concerned about race and social justice, etc.

      I just think that framework is not helpful in addressing the issues where we cast people who want to be involved and find solutions as “social justice warriors”. Why that pejorative? What’s the purpose of framing issues in that way?

      I’m sensitive to the term “do gooder” myself. I think some of the problems we have – will take a lot more than “caring” and “wanting to help”. But to characterize those who have more commitment to deal with the issues – and actually do want change – as ‘social justice warriors” in my is using a pejorative to undermine and marginalize them at the front of a conversation.

      And basically what I’m saying is if that is something you do .. later on.. if you also want to actually get involved on a substantiative basis – does that make you one of those social justice warriors also?

      I just find the term offensive and counter-productive.. it’s a bomb-throwing word in my view.

      1. Conversely, Larry, I take issue with this statement — “for those who tend to impugn the schools, accentuate the issues with discipline and academic performance – in racial terms.” The implication here is that I am racializating K-12 issues. Almost every time I post on the subject, I am responding to someone one the Left who has racialized the issue first. Identity politics has become the heart and soul of the Democratic Party, and I find it immensely destructive. The Racial Oppression Narrative advanced by liberals, progressives, Democrats, do-gooders, social justice warriors, or whatever else you want to call them is, for the most part (not entirely, but for the most part) harming minorities far more than it is helping them. I would like to America move toward a color-blind society. But now, I hear, calling for color-blindness is just another form of racism!

  8. Is the use of “social justice warriors” helpful in advancing the conversation. That’s a legitimate question, Larry, and one that I wrestle with. I am uncomfortable with applying broad-brush labels.

    Let me ask you, what term would you use to describe the movement and philosophy that is oriented around the idea that America is an endemically racist nation and views every issue through the prism of race?

  9. TooManyTaxes Avatar

    And Ralph Northam remains in office unscathed by his blackface appearances and clear lies of denial. It’s all about politics.

    1. Steve Haner Avatar
      Steve Haner

      If his legally-mandated replacement were not a suspected rapist, he’d be gone.

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