Proposal to give C.T. K-12 students 4 mental health days each school year moves forward

By: | March 16, 2021

Connecticut’s K-12 students would be able to take four mental health days off from school next year and each year after, in addition to the 10 sick days already allowed by the state, under a legislative proposal that advanced recently. While some state lawmakers supporting the bill see it as a necessary change to help children cope with anxiety brought on by the coronavirus pandemic, the state Department of Education worries the mental health days could result in lost learning time and lead to “adverse outcomes.”

Students would not need a doctor’s note to take a mental health day and they would not be marked as truant for using the four days, according to the legislation.

“I think there’s this idea that [four mental health days] is sort of excessive and can be adverse to a child, but the label of truancy can sometimes have negative consequences for a child who’s in good academic standing in school and might need an extension to their allotted absences to not lose credit,” said Rep. Jaime Foster, a Democrat who represents East Windsor and Ellington and previously served on Ellington’s board of education. Foster explained even students with good grades could miss school due to familial circumstances and be labeled as truant, meaning they may not get credit for courses or have to go through an appeal process.

Read more from Hartford Courant.

Scroll down for more from DA