North Carolina school psychologists and guidance counselors say hiring more of them would help public schools identify students with mental health challenges sooner and reduce the possibility of serious violence.
Leaders of groups representing the fields spoke Monday to a state House subcommittee examining student health issues.
The panel is supposed to provide suggestions to a larger committee whose mission is to evaluate how to make schools and students safer following the Florida school shootings in February. The North Carolina legislature reconvenes in five weeks.
Currently there is one school psychologist for roughly every 2,100 public school students in North Carolina. That compares to a one-to-700 student ratio that a national psychologist group recommends. Department of Public Instruction data show well over a dozen school districts lack a full-time psychologist.