Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) recently introduced the Mental Health in Schools Act, which, if approved, would expand access to mental health services for students who need assistance. The proposed legislation was drafted in response to the recent mass school shootings in Newtown, Connecticut, and Taft, California. The legislation will be introduced in the House later this month by Congresswoman Grace Napolitano (D-CA).
The bill would provide $200 million in grant funding per year over a period of five years; schools would be permitted to apply for $1 million per grant-year, based on their school’s population. The Mental Health in Schools Act would provide resources to schools and allow for collaborative efforts between school offices, local authorities, and community outreach programs for services, school staff training, and methods of identifying possible threatening situations. Franken, Napolitano and Sue Abderholden, executive director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, agree that this type of legislation is long overdue and mental health deserves to be provided due diligence following such tragedies.
In conjunction with the proposed legislation in Congress, the National PTA released a statement endorsing this bill and asking for members to notify their representatives for support. This follows their statement supporting President Barack Obama’s gun violence prevention legislation. The National PTA believes that Franken’s proposed legislation is a significant step toward ensuring the safety and well-being of our nation’s children.
Do you believe this to be a step forward in curbing gun violence within our nation? Is it enough?