1/31/2021: Excused Mental Health Absences In Schools

Maybe Sundays will become “Uplifting News Sundays.” This news includes some great movement forward – & like usual, it’s way more than just what the headline says.
I read up on a bunch of articles to get the down & dirty. Here’s what’s happening: lawmakers on the STATE side of things have been looking to make changes w the health of kids in mind. This yr, legislation proposed in Utah & Arizona would add mental or behavioral health to the various reasons students can be absent from class, similar to staying out w a physical illness.
Within the past 2 yrs, similar laws have been put in place in Oregon, Maine, Colorado & Virginia.
A new proposal from Rep. Mike Winder in Utah specifically would allow absences for students to deal w other kinds of “mental pressures” to further normalize treating a MH concern, just like a physical one. How amazing is this quote/understanding from the Rep: 
“If a student has a panic attack today, bc of some drama going on at home, that’s not mental illness necessarily.  But maybe they need that day to catch their breath & maintain their mental health.” I want to look to the heavens & say Thank You! MH on a continuum! Not just “sick or healthy.” What a concept!
This proposed Utah Bill passed out of committee Friday, & will move to the House floor. In it MH days would be treated like any other excused absence. Children would still need to make up missed work, & parents would still need to submit the reason for the absence but there would now be this new designation/reason.
In an existing Oregon law, students can utilize 5 excused absences every 3 months, & those can be EITHER physical sick days or MH days.
A spokesperson for the Granite District, Ben Horsley, in Utah (who based their law on the Oregon one) – said the schools there are already allowing that, but the bill would help “codify existing practice” & expand it to other districts in the state.
6 states now! Naming conventions matter! Details matter! Not “more” days off…just making it “normal” to take off days for a legitimate HEALTH reason!

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