Rcms Counselor Imperative

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Editor:

If you think Rim Country Middle School should have at least one full-time trained counselor, please contact a Payson Unified School District school board member. I have already attended two school board meetings regarding this issue. According to the PUSD Web site, the school board can be reached through the superintendent’s office at 928-474-2070. The PUSD school board members are: Barbara Underwood, president; Matt Van Camp, vice president; Rory Huff, member; Barbara Shepherd, member; Kim Pound, member.

I was shocked to learn that there has been a decision in the PUSD to eliminate the one full time counselor position at the middle school.

Consider this: On a survey to middle school parents this year, the absolute worst scoring item was “Does your child feel safe at school?”

We have a known bullying problem in the middle school and high school.

We have a disproportionate number of homeless children in this district, as well as a relatively low income level.

A recent study revealed that Gila County, and specifically Payson, residents are in generally poorer health than the rest of Arizona.

Yet in the face of this, we would eliminate the only counselor position at the middle school? Really? I know there are budget issues, yet based on what we know about the student issues in this district and the needs of our children, that one and only counselor position shouldn’t even be on the table. Simply adding these responsibilities to the positions of already overloaded school administrators is not acceptable.

We should have counselors in the elementary schools. As it is, we are pushing elementary school student issues to the middle school. With no elementary school counselors, and the bare minimum at the high school, it’s imperative that we have at least one full time trained and qualified counselor in the middle school.

Lynnette Brouwer

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