At an emotional meeting in Killingly on Wednesday, the Board of Education voted down a plan for new mental health services to be set up at Killingly High School.
“It’s like a cry for help that’s not being answered, not being listened to at all,” said Alyssah Yater, a high school senior.
Families rallied on the streets before the meeting.
And once inside those in favor spoke about the increasing need to help kids dealing with anxiety, depression and other issues.
“We should give every student every opportunity they need to succeed,” said Seth Varin of Danielson.
Generations Family Health Center would have provided therapists for the program.
Concerns have been raised about if it was appropriate to be in a school as well as the cost.
“You are being told this health center will be free. I am hard pressed to believe that. Nothing is free,” said Isaias Sostre of Brooklyn.
The board chairperson questioned how a mental health survey of students was handled and if the results showing concerns were accurate.
“How do you know they were honest responses? They were dealing with kids. They could have written anything. That’s what kids do,” said Janice Joly, board chairperson.
But many of the board members – even some who eventually voted against the program – stressed they take the mental health issue seriously and that it needs to be addressed.
“This is not a political issue. This is an educational issue,” said Lydia Rivera Adams, a board member.
Board members spoke of exploring other options.
An attempt to bring up an alternative was nixed since the chairperson said the meeting was just focused on the plan before the board.