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Mental health, school safety among top parental concerns in new report

Ada Calhoun, author of <em>Instinctive Parenting,</em> makes the case that children will turn out fine if parents simply trust their gut. But Po Bronson, co-author of <em>NurtureShock,</em> begs to differ — he says instincts may tell parents when something needs to be done, but not how to do it. He maintains experts are still relevant for that.

Mental health, school safety, and teacher retention all ranked among the top concerns listed in the final report from the Michigan Parents’ Council.

Another top priority involved the quality of students’ education experience.

The group came about in July through an executive order from Governor Gretchen Whitmer.

Her office said it collected feedback from thousands of parents to write the report.

“I am grateful for the council’s work to learn from parents about how we can best support students, educators, and schools. I look forward to incorporating the council’s recommendations in our next education budget,” Whitmer said in a press release.

In the report, 92% of parents mentioned school safety is either an “important” or “very important” issue to them.

Some notes it mentioned included a desire for open communication about incidents, to hold parents and students accountable for behavior, and making sure resources officers receive appropriate training for school environments.

“Relationships are key to security. Resource officers need to have relationships with students to let kids know why they are there and that they can help de-escalate situations,” a Flint parent quoted in the report said.

When it came to mental health, parents focused around curricula, partnerships with community organizations, and providing access to resources.

Those included “calming rooms, therapy animals, and increased physical activity.”

Helping students who fall behind in learning catch up, and providing afterschool, pre-school and early childhood programs also all received at least 70% of report in responses.

“We need to listen to what the children are saying about how to help them. Don't rely on just adults and people in positions of authority,” a quoted Detroit parent said regarding quality of education.

In all, the feedback led to four recommendations:

  • Prioritizing access to mental health and school safety funding in the budget
  • Getting schools resources to meet students’ unique learning needs
  • Supporting teacher recruitment and helping fund certification
  • Giving more parents and students more chance to provide fee