Killingly School Approves Rachel’s Challenge, Parents Continue Fighting for Mental Health Center

Killingly, Connecticut (WFSB) – Parents and students at Killingly High School continue to fight for a mental health center.

About 15% of middle school and high school students made a suicide plan, according to a survey conducted at a school in Killingly.

Parents and students have been fighting for months to add mental health centers to high schools to address this mental health crisis.

A majority of school boards say they are blocking high school clinics from opening and are exploring alternatives.

“We were talking about alternatives to school-based health centers and generated lists,” says Killingly Superintendent Robert Angeli.

One of the proposed alternatives was a program called Rachel’s Challenge. The program is named after a Columbine shooting victim.

A workshop where children can learn empathy, self-confidence and resilience to bullying.

Rachel’s Challenge will be approved at Wednesday’s school board meeting and will go into effect at the beginning of the school year.

Parents hope that the program is only a stopgap measure for mental health crises and plans to build mental health centers will not be ignored.

“While I hope it will make some difference for our students, it’s about the issue we’ve all been battling for months: giving children who are already struggling with mental health issues the help they need. It doesn’t help you cope,” says Kristine Cicchetti, Killingly’s parent.

The Department of Education is also seeking answers as to why mental health centers were rejected after the board promised to spend more than $3 million on them.

The board will meet with the Ministry of Education by the end of August.

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