Article written by Ashleigh Garrison for Chalkbeat.
This article outlines the impact of COVID-19 on students' mental health and how current budget cuts are making it more difficult to treat students from home. While the education department has vowed to address student trauma in the midst of a pandemic and ongoing anti-racism protests, the 2020-21 city budget cuts tell a different story and reflects the economic concerns of state and city government. As it stands, New York City schools already experience lack of adequate funding and a shortage of counselors and social workers. Recent data from 2017 in the South Bronx shows there was only one social worker for every 589 students and figures from 2015-16 academic year, indicate there were only 4.9 support workers for every 1,000 students in the school system as a whole, according to data from ProPublica. School counselor Shana Bennett expresses her concern for her students who have dealt with significant trauma over the course of the pandemic and outlines how adaptive schools counsellors had to be back in March. Whether that be by supporting students and families in getting adjusted, doing grief work for students who have lost friends and family members, and addressing the new worries and anxieties that come with the pandemic. For Bennett and other school counsellors, the larger goal is not money or funding but addressing the needs of students and ensuring their safety and care.
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