Killingly High School students say they believe their mental health needs are still being ignored
Killingly High School students say the school-based mental health center recently approved by the Board of Education does not meet their needs. Students responded by rallying at Davis Park Saturday and holding sit-in at Killingly High School Monday.
Students who would like to receive help at the mental health center must have parental consent. Parents would need to identify their child has a need to go to the clinic and they would be required to approve treatment.
Elizabeth Alves, a Killingly High School junior, said the requirement could be detrimental to students who do not have supportive parents.
“This school system has done nothing to help me and nothing to help others who suffer just like me, every single day,” Alves said. “I am extraordinarily grateful to be in the place that I am now — to say that I have healed and that I have supportive parents.”
“But some people come from a place where they simply can’t afford therapy. Some people come from a place of abuse where they can’t rely on their parents. It is time to change. Everyone here wants change,” Alves said.
The Killingly school board in April voted to approve a contract for the mental health center — a turnaround from last year when the board had rejected the plan.
Sharon Jankowski, a junior at Killingly High School, said she and other students believe their mental health needs are being ignored and that the school is refusing to give them the resources they need.
“Teenagers vocalizing their mental health issues is not a joke and it should be taken seriously as it’s commonly not taken seriously because we’re teenagers and the stereotype is that we’re moody and bratty and we’re just teenagers. But we’re having very real problems,” Jankowski said.
The rally and school sit-in took place after the state medical examiner revealed a Killingly High School student who died in a crash last week on I-395 in Plainfield took her own life.
Julia Revellese, a former Killingly student who helped organize the rally, said that due to the student’s passing, students have had more counseling services in the past week than they’ve ever had. Due to the fact that the newly-approved center has no definite implementation date, students said they are demanding resources now.
If you or someone you know is in crisis, call or text 988 to reach the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline. Learn more here.