MENTAL HEALTH

State BOE finds reasonable cause of Killingly school board failure

Killingly Board of Education file photo
Written by ckv6u

Tea Connecticut Board of Education on Wednesday unanimously voted to empanel an inquiry into the alleged inactions of the Killingly school board related to its reported failure – and accusations of outright indifference – in addressing the emotional and mental health needs of its students.

The decision came seven months after a petition was filed by the Concerned Residents/Parents of Killingly Students group accusing the Killingly board of failing to make “reasonable provisions to implement the educational interests” of the state.

That complaint was made soon after the Killingly board rejected its own superintendent’s proposal to introduce a grant-funded high school-based health center staffed with licensed therapists. The center plan aimed to address a spike in student mental health problems that included suicidal ideation and self-harm incidents.

Killingly schoolsKillingly mental health complaint investigation marked by flurry of legal arguments

State board finds reasonable cause after investigation

The state board’s finding of reasonable cause in the matter was set to be followed by the appointment of three board members to serve on an inquiry, or hearing, panel. Inquiry members will make a final determination on the matter and have the power to force remediation steps. No date was set for when the panel will begin its work.

The board’s decision was preceded by a recap of the state Department of Education’s investigation into the complaint laid out in a 32-page report previously approved by state education Commissioner Charlene Russell-Tucker.

Attorney Michael McKeon, the department’s legal affairs director, spent months interviewing Killingly board leaders, district officials, complainants and others before making his recommendation to Russell-Tucker.

State: Killingly student mental health ignored by BOE

McKeon at times on Wednesday seemed unable to conceal his frustration with the Killingly board. Despite a long-acknowledged need by the board for more student mental and behavioral health interventions, he said members ignored the problem and failed to seek out solutions.

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