State Lawmaker Pushes Bill To Allow More Mental Health Services In Schools

Bernie Tafoya
May 17, 2018 - 12:09 pm

CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- A state lawmaker pushing a bill for more mental health services in schools said his proposal might have made a difference in Dixon prior to Wednesday’s school shooting there. 

State Representative Emanuel “Chris” Welch’s proposal (HB 4208) originally called for having psychologists and social workers being hired in schools to replace school police officers. The bill has since been amended, giving schools the choice of whether to have police in them, but providing grants to schools that want to hire more mental health professionals.

"Let’s notice these led flags early and treat them before something bigger happens, which I think could have happened in Dixon," he said.

“What happened in Dixon been totally avoided had this young man not been expelled for smoking marijuana. This could have been avoided had this young man been provided mental health services for the depression that I understand he had been experiencing for the last month, two months."

Welch’s bill calls for putting mental health professionals in schools that have the highest number of student arrests and discipline incidents. 

Rep. Welch said Dixon Police Officer Mark Dallas no doubt saved lives Wednesday and is a hero.  He said everyone should be thankful for what Officer Dallas did.