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State Lawmakers Think School Counselors Should Spend More Time Counseling

What will it take for Virginia schools to be more secure? A panel of lawmakers recently looked at the issue and made a number of key recommendations.

School counselors spend too much time administering standardized tests and not enough time counseling students. That could be the key to identifying mental health problems in the classroom. That’s according to the Select Committee on School Safety, which says the General Assembly should realign the roles and responsibilities of school counselors.

“That does not require school divisions to put into place that recommendation."

That’s Jim Livingston at the Virginia Education Association. He’s concerned about that word “should.”

“We believe that this is an absolute must, and that the General Assembly should provide the funding or is obligated, we believe, to provide the funding in order to make this happen.”

Delegate Michael Mullin of Newport News is a member of the select committee, and he says implementing the recommendation is critical.

“One of the things we need to make sure of is that once these recommendations turn into legislation that it requires us to provide the funding to local school districts to increase the student-to-counselor ratio so that we’re at one counselor for every 250 students.”

Lawmakers will have a chance to accomplish that goal when they meet for the next General Assembly session in January.

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.