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Florida needs more school psychologists, resource officers

MiamiHerald / Just two days after the Parkland massacre, a couple of high school girls were injured by a drive-by shooting outside Middleton High School in Tampa.

Sen. Darryl Rouson, D-St. Petersburg, visited the school shortly after to see what he could do. He said he was shocked to learn the school’s 1,600 students had only one psychologist, who worked only three days a week.

“It’s virtually nonexistent what school districts are doing to help the mental health of our students,” Rouson said.

Middleton’s situation is not uncommon in Florida, where school mental health programs have been chronically underfunded and short-staffed for decades. Yet Florida’s leaders are pointing to this same depleted system, as well as relying on cash-starved programs for resource officers, counselors and social workers, as a way to treat and identify students who pose possible threats.

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