NARFE to meet
The North Shore Chapter of the National Active and Retired Federal Employees (NARFE) will hold its monthly meeting on Wednesday, Oct. 3 at 1 pm at the Peabody Community Life Center, 75R Central Street, Peabody. This very important business meeting will include election of officers for the coming year. Refreshments will be served. For further information, contact Mike Evers, 781- 842-3619.
Clark, Merkley Announce Legislation to Put Mental Health Counselors in Every K-12 Public School
Marking National Suicide Prevention Week, Congresswoman Katherine Clark and Oregon’s Sen, Jeff Merkley recently introduced the Elementary and Secondary School Counseling Act, a new bicameral legislation that would help fill the critical unmet need for school-based mental health services providers in elementary and secondary schools in America.
“We know that for kids to succeed, schools can’t just be about test scores,” said Congresswoman Clark. “We must invest directly in school nurses, social workers, and counselors who are central to fostering safe schools and promoting the long-term health and welfare of young adults.”
“Mental health care is essential health care, full stop. But right now in our schools, we’re treating it like an optional afterthought,” said Merkley. “That’s unacceptable, and it puts our students’ lives at risk. This National Suicide Prevention Week, let’s commit to ensuring that every child in America has access to the mental health care they need.”
In addition to Merkley, the legislation was cosponsored in the Senate by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO), Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), and Sen. Angus King (I-ME).
The recommended student-to-counselor ratio is 250 students per counselor, but currently the national average is 482 students per counselor and this average continues to rise. For school psychologists the recommended ratio is 500 to 700 students per provider and 250 to 1 for school social workers.
This disparity between students’ need and available resources can have critical consequences for young Americans. Mental illness affects 20 percent of American youth. Approximately half of all lifetime cases of mental illness begin by age 14, and more than a third of students 14 and older with mental illness drop out of school. Fully 90 percent of youth who die by suicide had a mental illness.
Youth with access to mental-health service providers in their school are 10 times more likely to seek care than youth without access, but school districts across America lack the investment and resources to provide students with the in-school treatment and care they need. Young people often find themselves waiting months for mental health treatment—an unacceptable delay, particularly at a vulnerable stage of life.
The Elementary and Secondary School Counseling Act would tackle this crisis head-on by finally providing the necessary resources for schools to provide the mental health counselors their students need and rely on. Specifically, it would establish grants to states to help ensure that every school can meet the recommended counselor-to-student ratios.
The Elementary and Secondary School Counseling Act is endorsed by the National Education Association, the National Parent Teacher Association, the National Association of School Psychologists, the School Social Work Association of America, the American School Counselor Association, and the American Psychological Association.
State Police seek sex offender
The Massachusetts State Police have added four fugitives to its list of Most Wanted Sex Offenders and one has ties to Revere.
Troopers from the State Police Violent Fugitive Apprehension Section are actively searching for these fugitives, all of whom have previously been convicted of violent crimes and have failed to abide by their requirements to register as Level 3 sex offenders. Any member of the public who sees or has information about them is urged to call the Violent Fugitive Apprehension Section immediately at 1-800-527-8873 or to call 911.
In Revere, Michael Joslin, 54, classified as Level 3 Sex Offender by the Massachusetts Sex Offender Registry Board, currently in violation of his Lifetime Sex Offender Registration requirements in Massachusetts and also wanted by the Orange County (Fla.) Sheriff’s Office for failure to register as a sex offender. In 2006 Joslin was convicted of two counts of indecent assault and battery on a child under 14 for two sexual assaults on the same victim in Fitchburg. He has additional convictions for breaking and entering in the nighttime and larceny from a person. Joslin is white, 5 feet, 7-inches tall, weighs about 220 pounds, with brown hair and hazel eyes. He has tattoos on his upper right arm, upper left arm, right arm, right forearm, and left forearm. Possibly homeless, Joslin has past ties to Fitchburg, Revere, Chelsea, Brockton, Boston, Worcester, and Orlando, Fla.
Pleasure Island Walking Tour
On Sunday, Oct. 7, Friends of Pleasure Island President Bob McLaughlin will conduct a free walking tour of the former Pleasure Island amusement park site at Edgewater Office Park, located off Audubon Road in Wakefield (Rte. 128, Exit 42). The tour will be held from 10:00 a.m. to noon, rain or shine. This event is open to the public and does not require reservations. Participants will meet in the first parking lot on the left after entering Edgewater Office Park.
For more information about this tour or other events celebrating the unique history of Pleasure Island, please contact Bob McLaughlin at [email protected], or go to www.friendsofpleasureisland.org.