Kentucky faces shortage of school counselors
More than 100 schools in the Commonwealth are without even a single counselor.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Kentucky is facing a shortage of school counselors. More than 100 schools in the Commonwealth are without even a single counselor.
“The lack of having certified counselors in all of our schools is just one more reason why we really need to be investing in our public schools here in the state of Kentucky,” said Eddie Campbell, president of the Kentucky Education Association.
The Kentucky School Safety and Resiliency Act, passed in 2019, sets the goal for districts to employ at least one counselor in each school and one for every 250 students.
According to the Office of the State School Safety Marshal’s annual report, 48% of Kentucky’s schools are not meeting the 1:250 goal. The statewide counselor-to-student ratio is currently sitting at 1:306.
“We need to make sure that we are reaching that goal,” said Campbell.
Campbell says students need access to counselors in schools.
“About 16% of students in Kentucky between the ages of three and 17 have depression and anxiety,” said Campbell. “It is our school counselors that are there that are safe and secure adults that they can go to to have conversations that will help support them through this trauma.”
Kentucky isn’t alone in the struggle to find school counselors. According to the American School Counselor Association, only two states meet the criteria of at least one counselor for every 250 students. Those states are Vermont and New Hampshire.
There’s also a national shortage of behavioral health professionals overall. The National Council for Behavioral Health reports that 77% of counties across the country have severe shortages.
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