Social Worker Week recognized
Published 7:00 am Tuesday, March 8, 2016
Monday, the Pearl River County School District acknowledged the observance of National School Social Worker Week.
The district has four licensed clinical social workers who support families and faculty with academic struggles, abuse and emotional programs, social worker Paula Russell said.
Denise Rouse added that after working with a community response team they found schools needed to take a proactive role with regard to depression and suicide.
Through a grant named Typical and Troubled, social workers were able to host informational sessions for parents and teachers and identified warning signs, how to get a referral and who needs to know.
“The statistics tell us that there are one in four people that are going to be affected by mental health disorder,” Rouse said. “Ninety percent of those develop them during their teen years. One in five children and adolescents have a mental health disorder and that’s what’s been reported. There could be more out there.”
About 11 percent of youth between the ages of 9 and 17 will have a major mental health disorder, Rouse added. For teens and young adults between the ages of 15 and 24, suicide is the third leading cause of death.
Rouse said a response team consisting of representatives of several agencies including law enforcement, mental health professionals and counselors determined 17 teen deaths occurred last year, Rouse said.
“So we wanted to be proactive in our district,” Rouse said.
They also held an open house and educated parents, staff and students.
“For our students, we did what we called ‘Breaking Free,’” Rouse said. “That was another curriculum where we went into the classroom and get more personal with the teens where we talked about depression, mental health disorders and suicide and what they really are.”
Rouse said they helped teenagers identify these characteristics in friends and family so they could help them.
Research shows that early detection and getting help for students is necessary, Rouse said. When students get the treatment they need, they can lead productive lives, she added.
In other action the board approved:
• The purchase of Heartland Solutions Management software programs for the Food Service Department for $21,900. Food Service Director Sheila Amacker said this program has simpler layout. All applications for free and reduced lunch will be processed electronically. The program also includes a scanner, ID pin pads and has the ability to import student photos.
• The purchase of a police truck for $31,796 to be utilized by the district’s Campus Police Department. The funding will be derived from a Mississippi Community Orienting Policing Grant in the amount of $30,000. The district will pay the remaining funds.
• A $100 donation to the PRC Middle School PBIS True Blue program from the Poplarville Blueberry Jubilee Council Inc.
• The use of the Kenneth Hendricks Stadium and the Thaxton Davis Field House for the PRC versus Picayune alumni game to be held on May 14. The PRC Touchdown Club is hosting the event.
• The election of Jeremy Weir as board president, Natalie Glorioso as board vice president and Rodney Dyess as board secretary.
The board also heard a presentation from the West Union Children’s Choir and members of the NJROTC spoke of their experience during their field trip to Keesler Air Force Base where they rode in a Hurricane Hunter airplane. The cadets thanked the board for that opportunity, which they all agreed was a wonderful experience.
The next meeting will be held on April 4 at 5:30 p.m. in the central office boardroom at 7441 Hwy. 11.