Beginning next school year, Washington K-12 students will get unlimited “mental health days” off from school

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OLYMPIA, WA – Beginning in the 2022-2023 school year, K-12 students in the state of Washington will be able to take off as many “mental health days” as they deem necessary.

This rule came from the passage of House Bill 1834, which was recently signed into law.

The bill explained:

“After hearing from youth across the state of Washington, the legislature recognizes that students’ mental health is a component of their physical health and that students’ mental health can affect their ability to learn. 

“The legislature finds that school districts are not consistently recognizing student absences for mental health reasons as excused absences. 

“Therefore, the legislature intends to require that student absences for mental health reasons be categorized as excused absences.”

The bill was passed unanimously by both the House and the Senate in early 2022.

HB 1834 called for the superintendent of public instruction to adopt policies including mental health reasons for excused absences, and to work with a specially organized advisory committee to publish the associated guidelines.

No medical diagnosis or doctor’s note will be necessary for a student to take a mental health day off from school.

According to the Seattle Times:

“Absences will be excused for students experiencing symptoms related to mental illness or challenges with their mental health condition, and for medical appointments related to mental health. 

“Those can include counseling, mental health wellness and behavioral health treatment — including inpatient or outpatient treatment.”

The bill summary offers an explanation as to how the COVID-19 pandemic affected students, saying:

“Students are struggling with their mental health now more than ever. 

“COVID-19 has had an indescribable impact on the well-being of Washington’s young people forcing them to have part-time jobs, worry about sick family members, miss out on traditional extracurriculars and other experiences. 

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It continues:

“Many students need mental health days; at times, they need a break from the overwhelming amount of school work and social responsibilities they experience. 

“Some students feel like they can no longer push through the endless responsibilities. While this is not the experience of every student, it is the experience of some. 

“When mental health is heavily involved, where life and death is sometimes contemplated, that should mean everything.”

Indeed, according to CDC data from March of 2022, mental health of students suffered greatly during the time of COVID-19 and its attendant regulations.

For instance, 37% of high school students reported “poor mental health” during the pandemic.

44% reported feeling “sad or hopeless” during the last year.

Also during the pandemic, 55% experienced “emotional abuse by a parent or other adult in the home.”  Such abuse included “swearing at, insulting, or putting down the student.”

11% reported physical abuse.

Interestingly but unsurprisingly, during an era in which remote learning was the norm in many areas, the CDC found that “school connectedness” – that is, “a sense of being cared for, supported, and belonging at school” – meant that youth were less likely to experience sadness, hopelessness, or thoughts or attempts of suicide.

Unfortunately, the CDC reports that only 47% of students “reported feeling close to people at school during the pandemic.”

To his credit, Washington Governor Jay Inslee in March of 2021 declared a mental health emergency for the youth of his state, recognizing increased mental and behavioral health needs during the pandemic.

In his declaration, he called for more in-person learning, and even set-minimums for in-person learning for K-12 students.

The policies of HB 1834 appear to be a continued effort to assist students in the realm of their mental health.

However, the passage of the bill of course brings up the question of abuse.  After all, unlimited “mental health days” can be a tempting notion for students who simply do not wish to show up to school, and may, in fact, contribute to the disconnect from school that so many students are reported to have been feeling.

As it stands now, only time will tell whether we will see an improvement in students’ mental health as a result of the new policy, or a higher (and excused) absentee rate among K-12 students in Washington.

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LET Unity

Law Enforcement Today Executive Director pens an “open letter” to whining and entitled college students in America

Originally published June 5, 2022

Dear College Students,

I remember the stress of college. The anxiety of papers due. The uncertainty of relationships. The concerns about what I was going to do after graduation.

I get it. It’s tough.

I also remember professors who challenged our perceived notions of “right” and “wrong.” I recall being exposed to movies, books and papers that I massively disagreed with. Looking back, I can visualize the heated debates between people with different perspectives. I can almost hear the yelling, the screaming, the passion and the CHALLENGES.

You’re studying and learning during the Industrial Revolution of our generation. It’s exciting. It’s encouraging. It’s liberating. And yet somehow, it’s also leading to your wussification.

Before you get all offended and run to your “safe place,” understand that I pulled that word right out of one of your trusted resources of knowledge – urbandictionary.com.

Here’s the first hit for the word:

wussification (verb): The act of turning one into a wussy.

The mother has been wussifying her children from young age. 
The wussification of American children is notable.

I’m sorry. I hope you didn’t mistake this letter to be one that would tell you how wonderful you are and that you’re going to make the world a wonderful place. No, my friends, that’s not what this letter is at all. This is an open letter to all those of you who are whining your way through college looking for a safe place and an entitled hall pass.

I come with a very simple message. When you cast off that safety blanket and enter into the real world, this thing called life is going to slap you faster than you can say, “Do you want fries with that?”

I recently saw an article about these so-called “marginalized students” at the University of Arizona issuing 19 pages of demands.

Then, of course, the students at Emory University who needed counseling because they didn’t feel “safe” when they saw writing in chalk that said “Trump 2016.”

To all those of you looking for your “safe place,” I have to wonder: How the hell do you walk out of your dorm (or your parents’ basement) without getting hit by a bus every day?

So on behalf of CEO’s across the country, I’d like to share with you a few lessons that you might want to learn before graduation.

1. The Business World Doesn’t Give A Damn About You

No, really – it’s true. You saw something on the internet that you found offensive? You’ve got the sniffles? Your boyfriend broke up with you? Well, that sucks. Deal with it. I expect you to get your work done on time. Hit traffic that made you late for the fourth time this week? You should have learned after the first time that you needed to leave your house early.

Listen, even the best bosses have their breaking points. Excuses might fly in college, but they’re NOT going to fly when we’re paying you to actually get things done.

2. The Only Safe Place Is Your Home

In the real world – and especially the business world – we’re going to challenge you. We’re going to push you. We’re going to demand that you consider other perspectives. We’re going to rip your ideas to shreds from time to time. And we’re going to insist that you play nicely with others to find ideas that actually work and implement them.

We’re going to get really pissed when you don’t deliver, and we’re going to get even more pissed when you cost us money because you weren’t willing to hustle hard enough to get the job done. And if you slack off enough, there’s no “bell curve” that’s going to save your ass from a big fat pink slip.

Lucky for you there are enough people working in the unemployment office who’ve also been wussified by the system to make sure that even though you were fired for not showing up to work, you’ll probably still get to collect unemployment and sit on your ass.

3. There’s No Such Thing As “Free”

I get it. You’ve been told that money grows on trees, that education should be free for all and that everything in life should be handed to you on a silver platter.

But welcome to the big kids’ playground. You want that health insurance? It’s going to cost you. Oh, you don’t want it? That will cost you too. You want an apartment? A house? A car?

Believe it or not, you need to actually come up with some money for that! Oh, and you can quit your whining about taxes. Because SOMEONE has to pay for all of that “free” stuff – and now it’s you, sucker.

4. If You Don’t Want To Be A Victim, Then Don’t Be

In college, any time your feelings were hurt, you were a victim. If you were challenged, the challenger was a “bigot” and you were the poor person who had their feelings hurt. Here in the real world, we expect you to be challenged and to understand that humility is just as important as bravado. Selflessness is more important that selfishness.

The content of who you are as a person is more important than the color of your skin or your socio-economic background or your sex or your weight or your religious affiliation.

5. Success Is Hard Work

We’re not going to give you five breaks a day. You’re going to have to work nights and weekends from time to time. You want to make “the big bucks”?  Then consider a nine-hour workday to be a part-time job.

You’re most likely NOT going to graduate college and find a six-figure job. Hell, you’re going to be lucky if you find ANY job … and you should be grateful when you find it. Grateful … and prepared to work like a maniac to get ahead. Because in the real world, you don’t get a pass just because mommy and daddy are paying your bills.

So, ladies and gentlemen, enjoy the remainder of your time being gentle little snowflakes. Revel in the time you have at the world’s most expensive daycares across the country. Because soon, you’ll be in OUR world. And it’s about to get real.

_____________________

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