Student mental health crisis overwhelms schools, superintendent says

Screenshot from Lynn Cota presentation to Senate Health & Welfare Committee Jan. 26

By Guy Page

Public school mental health crisisFranklin Northeast Superintendent Lynn Cota Jan. 26 told the Senate Health & Welfare Committee about the growing number, magnitude and complexity of the pandemic-related mental health crisis in Vermont schools. In particular, Cota said schools statewide are now seeing more:

  • violent outbursts
  • episodes of vandalism
  • sexualized behaviors in students in pre-k through 12th grade
  • significant disruption
  • students running away from schools
  •  increased threats of harm to self and others 

“The increase in demand is outpacing the level of resources that we have within the state,” Cota said. “So schools are really right now serving children in the general education system who are exhibiting behaviors and mental health challenges that far exceed anything that we would have previously considered manageable.” 

The wait list for placements in alternative schools for troubled youth are a year or more longer, Cota said. 

Cota said the public schools need help from Vermont’s other service providers. That’s why she supports S197, to create a “Coordinated Mental Health Crisis Response Working Group for the purpose of developing and articulating a predictable and coordinated system of response to mental health crises among law enforcement, emergency medical service providers, emergency departments, health care providers, and community mental health service providers.”

Other school news:

Schools short 400 subs, need is growing – Vermont public schools have more than 400 openings for substitutes, an upswing of about 16% in the past three weeks, according to the latest issue of the 802 Newsletter

Several states are considering untraditional methods of finding substitute teachers as the nationwide staffing shortage continues, newsletter editor Steven Berbeco reports. For example, Oklahoma’s governor recently issued an executive order permitting state employees to work as substitute teachers while still receiving their normal salary and benefits.

School shootings – Education Week is tracking school shootings in 2022 and reports four school shootings so far this year, with the most recent one in Maryland. As a reminder, Vermont Dept. of Public Safety and the Agency of Education operate an anonymous school safety tip line for students, school staff, and their community: calling 1-844-SAFE4VT; texting SAFE4VT to 274637; or online at

DC says support refugees – The U.S. Department of Education recently released a Dear Colleague letter about supporting “vulnerable Afghans as they safely resettle in the United States.” The letter includes links to resources and policy clarifications about flexibility in spending federal funds. 

In December, the Vermont Refugee Resettlement Office Afghans (and family members)  who assisted the US military and partners were evacuated due to threats in August 2021. Vermont plans to welcome a total of 230 Afghans in Vermont. As of Dec. 14 the office had welcomed approximately 75, many of whom were placed with host families in Chittenden and Washington County as long term housing is sought. Since then, refugees have arrived in Rutland and Brattleboro. 

16 replies »

  1. Leftist policies & ideologies do NOT work! What will it possibly take for these abject morons to be capable of understanding??

    Tiny tots are “sexualized”? No kidding, you mean showing children pictures of boys giving boys oral sex, telling boys they can choose to be girls, or taking children to a “drag queen” story hour at the library might not be a stabilizing idea???

    The schools have been promoting BLM for years now – guess what I once heard? Violence begets violence. I know, it’s hard to believe.

    Now we face the typical problem: With the mainstream media withholding facts and news that don’t fit their narrative, how does the general public, outside of this conservative-minded readership, learn of this? This is our problem: Fake news and the nativity of most individuals.

  2. Want to solve this? Take off the masks. Stop testing and quarantining the kids and teachers. Stop social distancing. Return to all sports and programs that were disrupted by the Covid panic.

    Cut out all the CRT, BLM, gender dysfunction stuff. Whites aren’t inherently bad and BIPOCS aren’t inherently victims. Boys are born boys and girls are born girls; nobody made a “mistake “. Pledge allegiance to the flag. Teach them to respect and love their country again. Ban cell phones at school and minimize computer use.

    If you’re feeding them snacks and school meals, serve tasty healthy food. Get the kids outside to play unless the weather is really bad. Otherwise ensure all elementary school kids get recess/gym daily and older kids at least a few times/week.

    Start with this. And oh yes, absolutely no more Covid vaxes; you’ve done enough damage already.

  3. So many sad stories lately but this one takes the cake. My heart breaks over what the left has done to our children. Shame on the Vermont voters for always voting for Democrats and Phil Scott

  4. Close the schools. Coop kids up in their homes or apartments. Make them watch their teachers on Zoom. Deliver their meals in a box via school bus. Do this for several months. Then, reopen school. Woohooo!!! Check the little ones’ temperatures when they board the bus, and check every hour on the hour. Make every kid wear a mask. Scare the hell out of them about a virus. Separate their desks by several feet. Make sure they use hand sanitizer every time they flick an eyelash. Feed them in an environment where they must stay feet apart. And the RESULT: Presto! Rampant psychosis and anti-social behavior. What a surprise!!! Next, decide that what is needed, is a “BILL” that creates enormous red tape and bureaucracy: a “coordinated Mental Health Crisis Response Working Group for the purpose of developing and articulating a predictable and coordinated system of response to mental health crises among law enforcement, emergency medical service providers, emergency departments, health care providers, and community mental health service providers.” Wonderful!!!! And what do you think comes next, once this new and improved “system” is enacted in law? Everything all tideeed up and taken care of????

    • Yes! Don’t forget they’ve convince our kids that man made global warming will kill us all in only twelve years! Wow that would make me want to bail out on life too.. Get your kids out of these schools if you can.. I’m so glad my kids are out of Vermonts “woke” system.. They’ve caused so much anxiety in our kids lives. They all need to be held accountable!!

  5. Where are the pediatricians?? They see what’s coming in. They know masks do nothing. Why aren’t they protecting their patients?

    • The medical bureaucracy and profession has been completely taken over by the left, just like K-12 and post-secondary education, the media and journalism. In the psychiatric and psychology branches of medicine, that which used to be judged as abnormal/deviant/self-destructive behavior by objective, scientific criteria is now celebrated and promoted. Anyone who dares to speak the truth that is not within the leftist narrative is CANCELLED personally and professionally. We brought this all upon ourselves, even in the anonymity of the voting booth. We is dumb.

    • All the pediatricians are employees of the “state” they serve at the pleasure of the politicians. This is what happens when all the doctors are employees and have no decision making power. Like it or not this pandemic has shown we do in fact have single payer healthcare. The single payer is the federal government.

      • Dear “Anonymous”, Sorry you are so cowardly, you won’t take responsibility for your inane comments. Don’t know where you get your information but not based in reality!

  6. The Vermont public school system has been completely taken over by leftists. They have taught the yoots to be effeminate, ignorant, dependent and passive in all aspects of real life. Surprise, surprise…this is the result.

  7. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to k ow they are permanently destroy the next generation of children by all this stupidness

  8. Did anyone expected a different result? Perhaps the liberal socialist mind can internally rationalize the damage wrought on Vermont’s children after 2 years of pimping fear, masks and now gene therapies for children. For those that cannot accept the results of what we allowed government to do, the elections in one month, primaries in September and the mid terms in November are important days to get to the polls. If one is satisfied with the current state of Vermont, then rest easy, stay home. Should you have lost faith in the politics and bureaucracy, voting for the same batch of miscreants will only produce the same results. Regardless of your opinion of our 45th President, he proved to the world that change is possible, should one desire it enough.
    Voter apathy by moderate and right of center folks guarantees more of what we have been subjected to.

  9. When will the convoy form and clog up Montpelier? All the misery going on this State is not going to end if those responsible for it are not taken to task and removed from their perches of power.

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