Proposition 4 Public Comments Focus on Student Mental Health Services
By Kristin Forbis, Oct 8, 2019
The Uintah School Board welcomed public comment during their October 2nd work session and a common theme emerged. The board provided a sign up sheet for anyone wishing to speak For or Against Proposition 4. While no one signed up to speak against Prop 4, eight people signed up to speak in support of it with multiple comments focusing on the need for mental health services for students. The final comment, made by Uintah County resident and local mental health professional Joslin Batty, had a frontlines perspective considering she is not employed by Uintah School District. Batty employs 7 other therapists and she said their group is “in the schools at least once a week working with [local] children.” Batty explained that they do not get paid to offer those services but that they volunteer their professional time because the schools do not have the resources. Even still, Batty shared, they can only offer on a very minimum scale what is actually needed. Batty expressed concern that arguments against Prop 4, in her words, skip over the emotional and safety needs of kids in the schools. “I’m here to tell you that it is an issue and that we need more people in the schools doing the work that we are there attempting to do and we are only there attempting to do it when it has escalated so far that kids are getting kicked out of school or law enforcement is responding to those issues.” To listen to the entire audio from the work session, visit pmn.utah.gov, select Schools, Uintah County School District, Board of Education, and the October 2nd .mp3.