Inslee: Schools need more mental health help

MARYSVILLE – To fully fund education, “wraparound services” need to be in schools, Gov. Jay Inslee told educators and city officials at Marysville-Pilchuck High School March 28.

The state “hasn’t adequately funded counselors” and other mental health support services in schools, he said.

Inslee was at M-P because it has used counselors and mental health professionals to help its students since the shooting 2 1/2 years ago.

“We need to put money in things we know work,” he said, adding his budget he wants the state legislature to pass includes those funds.

The governor said students all over the state need that kind of help because of out-of-school factors “at home – if they have a home.”

Incoming M-P Principal David Rose, who will be taking over for the retiring Rob Lowry, thanked the state for the funds to build the new food commons.

“It’s a breath of fresh air after 2 1/2 years under a dark cloud,” Rose said. “We can feel the comaraderie of our school.”

Inslee added, “The kids are a source of strength.”

The governor took a tour around the food commons, where various learning stations were set up.

Shoultes Elementary School students Bethany Campbell and Amanda Smalley showed Inslee how they are learning computer coding.

“It’s magic what kids do with computers,” the governor said later.

He then looked at robotics built by middle school students.

“I look forward to when you work for Boeing,” he said, smiling.

Senior Jason Cook and other high schoolers showed how the freezing temperature of water can be lowered by adding salt to it.

“Keep studying. We need you,” Inslee told them.

Fitzpatrick Varias of Marysville Getchell High School’s Bio-Med academy talked to the governor about anatomy and physiology and how the body’s parts interact.

Inslee ended his tour talking with workers at the student store.

The governor said he likes how Marysville is teaching job skills to students, even if they don’t earn a four-year degree. He also said he is impressed that Marysville is team teaching and showing studentshow to cooperate and work together. He wants that same type of learning statewide.

He concluded the visit the same way he started it – talking about mental health. He said it’s tough being a teenager, but it’s been even tougher at M-P.

“Dealing with students is a good place to start,” Inslee said of mental health. It helps them “get through troubled times.”