Credit: Allison Shelley for American Education

The California Department of Education will create a protocol for schools to better address student mental health challenges, under a new law signed Friday by Gov. Gavin Newsom.

Assembly bill 309, sponsored by Assemblymember Jesse Gabriel (D-Woodland Hills) and Assemblymember Patrick O’Donnell (D-Long Beach), comes amid a surge in youth mental health disorders related to the pandemic. Depression, stress, anxiety and suidical ideation among young people all increased sharply in the past year, in part due to social isolation and economic instability.

The new protocol will help schools identify students who might need help and connect them with counseling or other services. Teachers, parents, counselors and students will be among those who help write the protocols.

The protocol must be complete within two years, according to the law.

“California was facing a student mental health crisis prior to the pandemic, and the current situation is even more troubling,” Gabriel said. “Our legislation will equip teachers with better tools and resources so that they can help our students navigate these extremely challenging times, particularly as we continue reopening our schools and bringing students back into the classroom after months of distance learning.”

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  1. Brenda Lebsack 2 weeks ago2 weeks ago

    Parents should be notified that mental health workers partnering with school districts and school personnel are now authorized to change a child's gender category (based on a child's request) in the Calif Data System without parent knowledge or consent, no matter the age of the child. https://www.cde.ca.gov/ds/sp/cl/calpadsupdflash158.asp And according to AB 1184, signed by Newsom in September 2021, minors can now bill their parent's insurance for hormone therapy or sex change operations without parental knowledge … Read More

    Parents should be notified that mental health workers partnering with school districts and school personnel are now authorized to change a child’s gender category (based on a child’s request) in the Calif Data System without parent knowledge or consent, no matter the age of the child. https://www.cde.ca.gov/ds/sp/cl/calpadsupdflash158.asp

    And according to AB 1184, signed by Newsom in September 2021, minors can now bill their parent’s insurance for hormone therapy or sex change operations without parental knowledge or consent. Mental Health workers partnering with school districts are authorized to make these recommendations for minors seeking “gender affirming care.” According to EdCode 51101 and the LCAP, school districts are obligated to communicate with parents and inform them about policies that impact their children and their parental rights, however, CovidProtocols have been center stage, while these other changes are left unnoticed.

  2. Sharrone 2 weeks ago2 weeks ago

    This needs to be fully funded. Also Special Education needs to be fully funded.

  3. Lynn Bocca 2 weeks ago2 weeks ago

    Newsom is creating a mental health crisis in schools with his mandates!!! I have already seen students stressed about going back to online learning because they are not going to be vaccinated, while others are stressing about losing certain teachers who are not. Thanks Newsom for attempting to put in place measures to help people whose lives your are single handedly destroying.

  4. Brenda Lebsack 2 weeks ago2 weeks ago

    As a public school teacher in Santa Ana Unified School District, I would like to share a recent experience about our newly hired mental health workers from outside agencies. I asked the young counselor, "How were you trained to define gender identity?" Her statement was, "That gender is a choice." I said, "If a kindergartner comes to you and says he thinks he's both male and female and wants to go by … Read More

    As a public school teacher in Santa Ana Unified School District, I would like to share a recent experience about our newly hired mental health workers from outside agencies. I asked the young counselor, “How were you trained to define gender identity?” Her statement was, “That gender is a choice.” I said, “If a kindergartner comes to you and says he thinks he’s both male and female and wants to go by the pronoun TREE (which is in the Human Rights Kinder book), what are you trained to do?” The young counselor said, “To affirm it.” I said, “If the child says, ‘Please don’t tell my parents, they won’t like this idea.’ What would you do?” She said, “I would not tell the child’s parents.” I spoke to my principal about this conversation, and he said, “Our school must follow the law to make school a safe place for ALL children.” I said, ” So is the new definition of a “safe place” to deceive parents?” My principal did not answer. Parents might want to know the ideologies these new mental health workers in our schools endorse and affirm.

  5. Angela Bradbury 2 weeks ago2 weeks ago

    The real question is will there be funding for it or will this be just another thing to add on teachers ever growing list of things to do. Don't get me wrong I think this is a great idea but without funding I don't think there will be any real change. As a teacher I know we need support systems we can rely on which depends on funding. I am only one person and my … Read More

    The real question is will there be funding for it or will this be just another thing to add on teachers ever growing list of things to do. Don’t get me wrong I think this is a great idea but without funding I don’t think there will be any real change. As a teacher I know we need support systems we can rely on which depends on funding. I am only one person and my day is packed with all of the supports I am putting into place now.