CounselorsEmpowerACA Government Affairs Blog

The ACA Government Affairs team strives to keep the counseling community connected with important legislative news, updates, and announcements that affect the profession. Questions? Want to get involved in our advocacy efforts? Email us at 


Mar 18, 2019

The School-Focused Debate: Safety Technology v. Mental Health

Nearly a quarter of a million students have experienced gun violence at their schools since the Columbine High School shooting in 1999, according to a Washington Post analysis. And 2018 had the highest number of school shootings since at least 1999, the newspaper reported.

The American Counseling Association strongly supports legislation that addresses mental health services in schools. ACA is supporting H.R. 1109, the Mental Health Services for Students Act of 2019, introduced by Representatives Grace Napolitano (D-CA) and John Katko (R-NY).

ACA needs your help to see this bill become law. You can learn more about the measure on the ACA Government Affairs blog and you can contact your members of Congress about supporting the bill by going to the ACA Take Action page and clicking on “Support H.R.1109, the Mental Health Services for Students Act.”

The Specifics: Safety Technology v. Mental Health

Spending on metal detectors, alarms and cameras is prevailing over spending on school mental health providers in Texas, according to a recent Pew article examining the debate on this issue and related actions in several states.

Mental health remains in the mix, however.

“So far, physical security measures are garnering the lion’s share of dollars in legislative spending proposals,” the article states. “But mental health advocates say they’re confident that Texas will make the first substantial investment in school mental health services in decades.”

In other states, significant steps are being taken to address mental health in schools. In 2018, New York began requiring mental health education for K-12 students and Virginia began requiring this education for high school students. South Carolina and New Jersey are considering similar proposals. Other states, including Washington and Minnesota, are considering significant increases in publicly funded mental health services.  


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