This news story bolted me upright in my desk chair today. When I read about the shortage of guidance counselors my heart sank. We must do better at funding these resources that can make a difference for our nation’s youth. Anything less is unconscionable.
I am just guessing that the number of sports-related employees did not fall by the same percentage in the city schools as guidance counselors.
Thirty-five public-school kids have killed themselves in the past three school years, the Department of Education revealed — an unpublicized trend that Chancellor Carmen Fariña only hinted at last week when she told principals in a private meeting that 10 children had taken their lives during her first seven weeks on the job.
The 2011-12 school year saw nine suicides, with 14 in 2012-13. So far this year, with a third of the term left, there have been a dozen, DOE confirmed.
Meanwhile, schools’ safety net for troubled youths is shrinking. The number of social workers, guidance counselors and psychologists assigned to public schools has fallen 7 percent since 2008, going from 5,676 to about 5,300, according to DOE data.
“It’s scary,” said Dr. Roy Lubit, a child psychiatrist. “A small decrease can be devastating.”