KILLINGLY, Conn. (WTNH) – Students rallied for better mental health services in Davis Park Saturday.
Students and community members have been fighting for a mental health clinic at Killingly High School for more than a year. The clinic would come at no cost to the district, but the board passed on it last school year.
Last week, the board approved the clinic, but students said it’s not the win they hoped for because they need parental consent to get help.
“As a parent, I would much rather have a happy, healthy child and have them talking to an adult they feel they can open up to than have them keep it all inside and have something terrible happen because of that,” said Monique Revellese, a parent of former Killingly High School students.
Students are also concerned that the clinic will be open only three days a week to start. They believe services will be needed Monday through Friday right away.
About two dozen students gathered for the rally. They held signs and shared stories of being bullied and dealing with depression.
“I suffer from depression, anxiety, PTSD, every single day. And the school system has done nothing to help me,” said one student.
“To think that we have to beg and plead to be heard is, to put it plainly, unbelievable. However, I believe if we yell loud enough, they will hear us,” said another.
Erik Rosati, a social studies teacher, attended the rally to support his students. He said he understood why they wanted this help.
“I think they’re just looking for a way to act on their emotions. A lot of them have been going through a lot,” he said.
Students said the past week has been challenging after losing their classmate, senior Jane Stockford, in a crash Monday.
The school district told students that counselors and social workers were available, but junior Raigan Leveille said the staff was not prepared to handle the students’ mental health needs after this tragedy.
“They’re trying to assist their students as best as possible, and it’s really unfortunate that even to the best of their abilities, they’re not able to accommodate the needs of their student body,” she said.
Leveille and a group of her peers organized the rally on Saturday. She said they would meet with school staff and administrators on Monday about the services they want to see in schools.