TERRE HAUTE, Ind.
(AP) - Some Indiana schools are worried that they don’t have the time or
money to implement all of the mental health training mandated by state law.
required to undergo regular training on suicide prevention, child abuse and
neglect, human trafficking, bullying and CPR. Lawmakers this year added a
requirement for all school employees who come into contact with students to
undergo seizure awareness training. That law takes effect next July.
“It sounds like a
lot, but it is do-able and important,” said Sarah Pesavento, a counselor at
Riley Elementary in Vigo County who trains her colleagues in bullying
prevention and child safety related to abuse and neglect.
Such state laws
often are passed as unfunded mandates, meaning no resources are allocated to
pay for the training sessions, which can cost tens of thousands of dollars,
the (Terre Haute) Tribune-Star reported . And it’s not just a matter of
“The two issues we
struggle with are paying for the programs ... and finding the time to
implement them,” said Rick Stevens, Vigo County School Corp. assistant
director of student services. “It’s time for state legislators to fund their
passed 53 new laws during the 2019 session that affect public education.
Mike Brown, Indiana
Department of Education director of legislative affairs, said lawmakers are
aware of the challenges posed by the mandates but have taken little action
to address them. “They realize that one item here or there, yeah, OK, we can
get that through, but if you go back over the number of mandates we’ve
placed on schools over the past 10 years, obviously it adds up,” he said.