Jewish Family & Career Services

Op-Ed: “KY Schools Need Mental Health Professionals, Not Armed Officers”


On Monday, February 14th, the Louisville Courier-Journal published an op-ed co-authored by JFCS CEO David L. Finke, Ph.D. and the Louisville Urban League President & CEO Sadiqa Reynolds focusing on HB 63, currently being debated in the state legislature. This bill would require armed officers in all Kentucky public schools.

We state plainly that this bill is dangerous and the focus of the state legislators should be creating opportunities for students to access mental health services, from trained social workers, counselors and nurses inside the school to resources for parents to get help at home. We know there’s a mental health crisis among young people and believe that schools working with local agencies, like JFCS and the Louisville Urban League, will start to confront this issue. From the article:

“In December of 2021, the US Surgeon General issued an advisory on the mental health crisis amongst students in the country. The ongoing effects of the pandemic coupled with the lack of resources available through schools have shown a dramatic increase in already overwhelming numbers for struggling students. According to The Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting, in Louisville alone, since 2020 there has been a 300% increase of pediatric patients admitted for self-harm. Anxiety and depression are significantly higher than before the pandemic due to isolation, uncertainty of the future and losing caregivers or loved ones to COVID-19. Furthermore, the racial reckoning that has taken place in Louisville has brought racial discussion to the forefront of conversation, furthering the stress and despair our Louisville youth experience.”

Read the entire op-ed here.