• UNCC shooting shines spotlight on mental health needs in schools

    By: Elsa Gillis

    Updated:

    RALEIGH, N.C. - A major event planned for weeks in the state’s capital provided a voice to those working to prevent future school shootings.

    Teachers rallied in Raleigh on Wednesday, asking the General Assembly to increase funding for a number of areas. But one consistent theme was the need for more funding and focus on mental health services in schools.

    [RELATED COVERAGE: 'Sea of red': NC teachers march on Raleigh rallying for better pay, more resources]

    That means more funding for counselors, school psychologists, nurses and more. And Tuesday's shooting at UNC Charlotte only heightened what many see as a desperate need.

    [FULL COVERAGE: UNC Charlotte Tragedy]

    “A lot of our students come with their own history of trauma and experiences that are not being addressed,” CMS teacher Daniel Vicario said. “As teachers, we do our best, but that’s beyond our capabilities and they need actual professionals.”

    Nearly every teacher and support staff member we spoke to said the same – there simply are not enough social and emotional staff members employed in North Carolina’s public schools to adequately serve its students. Those that are there, rallygoers said, are underpaid and stretched thin.

    [RELATED COVERAGE: Thousands of teachers hold school day South Carolina rally]

    “It’s not all about teacher pay – not even close,” CMS teacher Steve Oreskovick said. ”It’s about getting the school psychologist, nurses, getting everyone there to help the kids as best we can.”

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