Killingly BOE looks to new committee for student mental health options

Amid a state complaint investigation into how the district addresses the mental health needs of its students, the Killingly Board of Education this month formed an ad-hoc committee to explore possible counseling options.

The board last week approved the formation of the committee and appointed four members to the body, though there was no immediate discussion on when meetings would begin.

Board vice-chairman Kelly Martin, named chairwoman of the new committee, said the purpose of the group will be to “get together and start talking about the alternatives that we started talking about but never finished.”

In April, about a month after the majority of board members rejected a plan to bring a school-based health center to the high school, members raised alternative proposals to the grant-funded center.

Killingly BOE looks to new committee for student mental health options

Options floated included the introduction of the “Rachel’s Challenge” peer-mediation program; incorporating an anti-bullying plan; offering tele-health counseling; and hiring more health-based staff, including therapists. Since that initial discussion, only the Rachel’s Challenge proposal has been discussed in depth.

Several health center advocates previously said the proposed alternatives, while admirable in theory, would not be comparable in practice to having professional behavioral health specialists available to students at the high school.