“I said ‘no’ not because I don’t care about children, nor because Central has children and they don’t. , because I believe in caring for every child, and I want to make sure we are doing the right thing for every student,” he said.
Board member Doug Levinson said the vote for the clinic was “easy” aimed at helping students without access to health care and that it’s the right thing for children. rice field.
“A lot of these kids are new to the clinic,” he said.
He said the district’s strategic plan supports student health and calls for all students to have access to a variety of supports and a sense of belonging.
“We’re teaching them lifelong skills. And making health care accessible. Isn’t that the system we want to instill in our children as they move forward?”
The director said some parents were uncomfortable with school clinics out of concern that they would not be able to obtain consent.
Director Andrea Heinz said she was disappointed that Marilak had rejected the option of having the clinic outside or near the school, which she lobbied for.
“I thought it was a happy medium because it might still be too close for some parents, but it was close enough for other students who needed access. It may be open during the summer as well, not just when you are there, which makes it even more accessible.”
School officials wanted the clinic to be inside the school for safety reasons.
Board member Levinson said Marilac proposed excluding certain practices and treatments in its agreement with the school district and referring students to appropriate facilities outside the school for that treatment. was not discussed by the Board of Directors.
“Crushing it now doesn’t give much hope that it will happen,” Levinson said.
Discussions involve the community for weeks
Over the past few weeks, students, school staff, teachers, and many health professionals have been working to ensure that medical services are available for students who cannot get medical care outside of school or whose parents are unable to visit them. He strongly advocated for the construction of the clinic, emphasizing the urgent need.
Many students spoke about the current teenage mental health crisis.a Recent CDC Reports We are seeing unprecedented levels of hopelessness and suicidal ideation among US high school students.
However, Colorado law allows minors to access reproductive and mental health services without parental permission, yet students feel uncomfortable with access to reproductive health services. Older residents and some parents to remember objected to this. Almost all other services require consent. Others argue that the voter-approved bond paying the new high school should have specified that the school had a clinic.
In 2018, a needs assessment was conducted by the Colorado School Health Association. It showed that both Central High School and Grand Junction High School benefit from school-based health centers. The impetus for Central’s clinic came in 2017, when the community was rocked by an opioid overdose and several teen suicides.
In 2020, the Warrior Wellness Center, a school-based health center operated by MarillacHealth, opened at Central High School. An analysis of her more than 4,000 visits at Central High’s student-based clinics found that fewer than 1% of her were eligible for contraceptive services. Most visits are for routine ankle sprains, sports physicals, concussion evaluations, strep tests, and depression and anxiety tests.
Levinson said he read hundreds of emails he received. He said one side is largely based on misinformation, fear-based issues and hypotheses. One, he said, is largely data-driven and student-centric with an expert perspective.
“It’s an inevitable decision because it makes a statement about what we value and what we don’t.”
Board member Kari Scholtes pointed to research showing a 30% reduction in suicide and depression risk in schools with school-based clinics. She said it was a contradiction that one district high school had a clinic and another high school didn’t.
“It feels more political than it is based on beliefs and values, which is really disturbing,” she said.
Board Chair Haintz said she and Jones are investigating how to address the mental health needs of all students by contracting MindSprings, a large mental health care provider in the Western Slope. said.
“Hopefully by the beginning of the next school year, schools may have the resources to provide mental and behavioral health counseling that children can do from the privacy of their own homes,” Heinz said. Told.
According to Levinson, the MindSprings option has been around for years and has never materialized.