Despite calls by the Governor, Lubbock ISD lacks funds to add mo

Despite calls by the Governor, Lubbock ISD lacks funds to add more counselors

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LUBBOCK, Texas -

After the Santa Fe school shooting, Governor Abbott wants to add more counselors on campuses.

Texas is one of 20 states that does not require them. Regardless, the governor wants districts to focus on student mental health. 

According to the American School Counselor Association, Texas has the fifth best student to counselor ratio in the country. At Lubbock ISD, each high school has five counselors, each middle school has two, and elementary schools has either a part time or full time counselor. 

"House bill 5 went into effect a few years ago, we added a counselor to our high school," Superintendent Kathy Rollo said."There's a great deal of planning and preparation around college pathways that's required in that role, so we added that counselor to take some of the administrative duty off the counselor so they have more time to actually counsel students."

Rollo said student mental health has always been a priority, but with recent tragedies involving school shootings, it is an issue that needs to be addressed. 

"I absolutely believe our campuses are safe, can we do more? absolutely," Rollo said."We are absolutely always looking at our policies, plans, making sure we are improving those. It's not a one and done thing. It's something we will always continue to look at and try to improve upon." 

She believes counselors are a key component for creating a safe environment for students. 

"They truly love and care about our students and are committed to making sure students are successful," Rollo said. "They look for signs when they see students who are alone, who are not engaged in extra-curricular activities. I think that's why the governor is calling for increasing counselors because he knows the important role they play and it's difficult when you have a large case load or we have schools in Texas that don't have counselors." 

It does not just fall on the counselors. More teachers within the district are using the practice of restorative circles', a way for students and teachers to talk openly. 

"The students start their day in a circle and they address conflict resolution, they talk about problems that their having and it just gives everyone a chance to really be collaborative in solving real world problems that kids face everyday," Rollo said.

With the right funding, Rollo would like to add more counselors but at this point, she believes the well being of the students are being met. 

"The need is ever growing, we know that but we're definitely doing what we can to help make sure we're addressing that and looking at new things to try to," Rollo said.

In addition, Rollo said teachers are going through training this summer through the foundation, I love U Guys. It focuses on crisis response protocols.  

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