Washington State Students Can Now Take Excused Mental Health Days

Washington joins 11 other states that specifically allow students to take excused mental health days off. From Crosscut:

“Schools can now accept mental health symptoms in the definition of an excused absence, just as they do physical health symptoms. It formalizes allowing students to take days off to care for their mental health, including for counseling and behavioral health appointments.

The law does not allow students to excuse themselves, and each district will come up with its own requirements — for example, if a parent or doctor note will be needed to determine whether an absence is excused.”

One principal acknowledged,

“. . . it’s a change that’s been needed. ‘If a kid breaks their leg, we wouldn’t expect them to take part in PE. But I don’t think there’s an equivalent for a student with debilitating depression.'”

The new rule also enables schools to collect information on its overall mental health, which can inform how they might respond in other ways.

I’m not sure much more information is needed to conclude families, teachers, and administrators are woefully unprepared to adequately help students’ with their mental health challenges.

Week One’s Highlight

Fall semester is off to an excellent, largely mask-free start. Of course it takes more than one or two class sessions to get a true feel for your students’ personalities, but all signs point towards a great semester. The most notable demographic shift of the last few years seems to be accelerating—a significant increase in Latina students. I have half of the football team in one writing seminar (slight exaggeration) and half of my students in my other one want to become writers which is exciting.

Some context. For those newish around here, earning a chili pepper, signifying hotness, on the website “Rate My Professor” is my primary career objective at this point. The one unchecked box. And with each passing year, the Las Vegas oddsmakers say my receiving one is less and less likely.

The highlight of the week happened Tuesday morning when I descended the stairs of our house. Since I’ve been slumming it for months unshaved in t-shirts that could double as bike rags, the Good Wife was impressed with how much I had cleaned up. As she moved in for a steamy back-to-school smooch, she said the nicest thing ever. “I would give you ten chili peppers.”

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Monday Required Reading

School starts tomorrow, so time to buckle down. Plus, Scottie loves assigned reading.

  1. I want one.
  2. Turns out, it’s really hard to scare a seal. Bonus trivia, the Byrnes clan is celebrating the fact that eldest daught lives 5 miles from the Ballard Locks as of today.
  3. Effective altruism has gone mainstream.
  4. The six forces that fuel friendship.
  5. How does it feel to be a teacher right now?
  6. Guilty as charged.

School Is Back In Session

This was a slide from a “Student Mental Health” presentation yesterday. 

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In light of these findings I’m thinking of reinstituting one of my fave parts of kindergarten—nap time. Sleep pads will not be provided, bring your own. Class is one hour and forty-five minutes long. How much time should I designate for napping? 

Also, I am going to begin class by announcing that everyone is going to get an “A”. 

Here’s hoping these adaptations and being my normal chill self promote improved student mental health.

 

Why Do People Have To Live Outside?

I receive a weekly culture/media newsletter from the Guardian’s Gwilym Mumford. This weeks highlighted Chat Pile’s new album. I’m not a heavy or “agit-metal” fan, but after reading Mumford’s description of their song “Why” I gave it a listen.

Damn right the protest song is alive and well. Give it a listen below.

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