Silicon Valley college board races concentrate on psychological well being and medicines

Candidates for the Santa Clara County college board targeted on scholar psychological well being and addictions at a latest community-hosted discussion board.

Dozens of attendees turned out for a digital discussion board final week hosted by the African American Neighborhood Providers Company, SOMOS Mayfair, the Vietnamese American Roundtable, the Jewish Neighborhood Relations Council of Silicon Valley, and Latinos United for a brand new America. The varsity board aspirants mentioned scholar psychological well being companies and staffing wants, in addition to tackling rising drug use amongst younger folks.

A complete of 12 candidates from three college districts participated within the discussion board. Six out of eight candidates to Alum Rock Union School District participated, together with holders Ernesto Bejarano, Minh Pham and Andres Quintero, in addition to challengers Ricardo Garcia, Minh Nguyen and Omar Vasquez. Each incumbent Linda Chavez and challenger Joseph Corona had been absent.

5 out of six candidates to Franklin-McKinley School District had been in attendance, together with incumbents Manuel F. Martinez and Rudy Rodriguez, alongside challengers Milan Balinton, Marc Cooper and Tammy Lariz. Challenger Steven Sanchez was absent. One in 4 candidates working within the East Facet Union Excessive College District attended: incumbent Lorena Chavez. Incumbents J. Manuel Herrera and Van Le had been absent, together with challenger Peter Pham.

The objective of the discussion board was to make sure voters are knowledgeable about who will lead schooling coverage of their communities for the following 4 years, mentioned Lavere Foster, moderator and affiliate director of the African American Neighborhood Providers Company.

“We need to present our neighborhood with the area to have the ability to interact, take heed to (candidates), ask questions and actually perceive who we’re attempting to elect for sure roles right here in our neighborhood,” Foster mentioned.

Pupil Psychological Well being

All candidates agreed on the urgency of addressing scholar psychological well being, particularly as COVID-19 leaves lingering impacts on households. Anxiousness and melancholy skyrocketed among students in the course of the pandemic. Candidates pushed for a multifaceted strategy to psychological well being service supply, from increasing applications to retaining and hiring extra psychological well being counselors.

Alum Rock Union college district candidate Minh Nguyen mentioned college students’ psychological well being is immediately linked to current teacher shortages. The request for substitute teachers continues to be an issue. In the course of the pandemic, some college districts have requested mental health counselors to fill.

“When college students haven’t got academics they see regularly, after they’re confronted with a revolving door of substitute academics or academics strolling out and in of the classroom… It makes it way more troublesome for them, for any grownup on campus to note seeing them and directing them to those companies,” Nguyen mentioned.

Franklin-McKinley College District incumbent Rudy Rodriguez and challenger Milan Balinton mentioned a scholar’s psychological well being requires collaboration between districts and neighborhood organizations to offer companies, equivalent to on-site household useful resource facilities.

Ernesto Bejarano and Lorena Chavez, homeroom academics of Alum Rock Union College District and East Facet Union College District, respectively, mentioned scholar psychological well being ought to embrace a spread of social-emotional instructional applications and companies, starting from recommendation on quiet areas on campus.

“We’ve a system in place that can assist our college students and employees, assembly scholar wants,” Chavez mentioned. “Typically a scholar simply must go to a quiet classroom, (he) wants a break.”

Districts can work to retain psychological well being employees by offering direct assist via coaching applications, mentioned Franklin-McKinley College District candidate Tammy Lariz.

Substance use

College board hopefuls mentioned inventive approaches to tackling rising substance use amongst college students. In the course of the pandemic, teenage overdose deaths 15-19 12 months olds elevated, together with fentanyl-related deaths. Whereas overdoses on college campuses are uncommon, districts are phasing in on them precautionary measuresequivalent to coaching and distribution of naloxone within the occasion of a scholar overdose.

Addressing substance use begins with schooling, equivalent to classes in regards to the bodily results of drug use, mentioned Franklin-McKinley College District candidate Marc Cooper.

Alum Rock Union college district challengers Omar Vasquez and Ricardo Garcia mentioned college districts can put money into after-school applications to fill the hole between leaving college and returning residence with arts or sports activities actions, so to deal with substance use amongst college students. .

“The hours between 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. are essentially the most problematic occasions for youngsters,” Garcia mentioned. “We have to double down on these after-school applications…I am an enormous proponent of relationships to fight this resurgence of medicine in our communities.”

Substance use can be linked to psychological well being and well-being, mentioned Minh Pham and Andres Quintero, each homeschool academics from the Alum Rock Union college district. Districts can depend on councils, in addition to neighborhood companions to take care of the disaster.

Board members even have a accountability to make sure that districts deal with scholar substance use via non-punitive measures, mentioned Franklin-McKinley College District tenure Manuel F. Martinez. This 12 months Silicon Valley Pain Index reveals college self-discipline disproportionately affects students of color in comparison with white college students.

“There is a mindset that the board can completely set up that claims, ‘That is how we’ll be with self-discipline,'” Martinez mentioned. “Not the whole lot is against the law.”

Contact Mortgage-Anh Pham at [email protected] or comply with @theLoanAnhLede on Twitter.

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