Support Organization Backs Out of FISD


Eleanor Burns

Being a student of FISD, I understand the struggles teens undergo. The constant stress of grades is overbearing. Balancing school, extracurriculars, work, family, and a social life becomes very draining. It is no shocker that one in three teenagers struggle with mental health. There are expectations from teachers, friends, and parents that often add up to be impossible to meet. With Fredericksburg being such a close-knit community, outsiders even have expectations.

Mental health issue has become more prominent in our generation as we grow up with social media. Having an outlet where we can discuss our problems is an important resource for students now more than ever. Along with the growth of mental health issues, many students in our community struggle with financial issues. This is often associated with home difficulties and discourages students from putting in any effort at school.

On Oct.10, the school board met and discussed a contract with Communities In Schools (CIS), which is a non-profit organization that strives to offer support for children and empower them to stay in school. They team with schools to provide counseling to individuals and groups, arrange tutoring and extra academic help, and most importantly provide for mental health needs. The organization states that it has had outstanding results for 40 years throughout 1,186 campuses.

FISD board members decided to postpone their final commitment to the organization until Friday, Oct. 14, due to concerns from some community members and to gain more information about the organization.

By the end of the week, however, when CIS felt as if they were met with unsupportive accusations from some members of our community, they backed out of the negotiation before FISD was able to close on the deal.

CIS had offered to provide two licensed and certified counselors for 16% more than the salary we give to one counselor within our schools. In my opinion, this was a great deal, especially in light of the fact that we have not been able to hire a social worker. We currently have less support than needed to support students and families who struggle with access to the resources they need to succeed. Furthermore, it would take some of the load off our already overwhelmed counselors.

Mental health issues can start at an alarmingly young age, allowing a need for help throughout all campuses. Many kids don’t know how to handle what may be going on in their home life. FISD needs more mental health support and access to help. With constant stress, it would be beneficial to have someone to guide us through the growing stage of our lives. For all our students to care about school and their successes, more encouragement from the community and school is necessary.

Although I feel like CIS would have been an incredible opportunity to help students, it is crucial that the community knows that help and support are still wanted. Over everything else, students’ interests and needs should be considered the first priority when our community makes future decisions.