The Herald Banner, Greenville, TX

Opinion

March 31, 2013

Tool, not burden

Sen. Bob Deuell recently introduced Senate Bill 460 into the Texas Legislature, a bill that would include the detection and education of students with mental or emotional disorders as part of the training process for Texas educators.

The training would help educators teach and intervene with students that have mental or emotional disorders, according to the bill, and would provide notice to the parents or guardian of the students’ mental or emotional disorder, so they can take appropriate action.

The mental health of our nation’s youth has become a significant issue in America, due in part to its relation with mass school shootings. We agree that educators should be trained in how to recognize mental and emotional disorders and how to interact with students who have these disorders.

 Such training is very necessary and could diffuse potentially volatile situations. Discovering these disorders early in a child’s development could save the student, the school and their parents years of frustration and confusion.

However, in a culture that has become even more reliant on educators to raise its children while increasing its criticism of said educators, it is important that parents take responsibility for identifying any emotional or mental disorders their children have.

Educators play a significant role already in the development of our children, and, since they spend hours upon hours each day with our children, educators are uniquely suited to interact with and examine students’ actions.

This additional training should not increase our educators’ liability, either. Instead, it should be another tool for teachers to assist parents in the education and development of their children.

Educators are already overworked and are treated as if they are surrogate parents. It is up to parents to talk with their children, observe their behavior, and seek help if they notice signs of mental or emotional disorders.

The Texas Department of State Health Services has information and a list of advocacy groups on their website, www.dshs.state.tx.us.

The Herald-Banner can be reached at editor@heraldbanner.com. For more information on Deuell’s bill, visit www.legis.state.tx.us.

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