Central Times

Student Services lacks service

Riddhi Andurkar, Managing Editor

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Everyone knows that the main purpose of a school is to educate its students. But school plays another crucial role in a student’s life: that of an emotional support system.

District 203 schools pride themselves as being one of the top schools in the country. Because of this, I was surprised and disappointed when I learned that not all needy students are being taken care of.

Now I don’t know what barriers exist in getting students the help they need Central, or whether it is lack of communication, but I do know that something has to be fixed.

According to NPR, up to one in five school kids are experiencing symptoms of mental illnesses. This article I read also stated that schools could help these students identify their problems and help them succeed. What I have found is that of the students with mental issues, few exercise the judgment to seek help from a responsible adult and even fewer are comfortable talking to a trusted individual about their feelings.

The Central Times recently conducted a survey asking Central students about their experience when they approached adults in SS. In the survey, there was a section in which students could share their experiences with SS. A few responded, saying that the adults in student services did not take their needs seriously. This is concerning. Students
who build up the courage to go to SS to seek help must feel like they are being taken care of.

Might this be a problem of limited resources?

It takes a lot of courage and preparation to openly talk to someone about their feelings. When students build up the courage to open up about their feelings, it is crucial that they receive immediate attention. The worst possible thing
to say to these students is “you can come back and try for an appointment tomorrow.”

Students walk into the SS office expecting to be helped immediately and have their needs met, but instead, they are turned down and have no choice but to leave and return another day. This might discourage the student from going to SS if they are not once more able to muster up the courage, and could further complicate their problem.

I have seen a number of videos and have heard all of my teachers constantly telling students to have at least one trusted adult that they can share their feelings with so they don’t have to keep everything inside them.

Teachers also always have the alphabetical breakdown of the school counselors, social workers and psychologists and
they encourage students to go to their assigned person to get help when needed. We now need to make sure needed help is given to the student when they approach assigned staff or else we risk students slipping through the cracks, being deprived of timely critical help.

If schools truly cared about their students, then people in charge should find a solution to this problem and immediately solve it. I know that Central faculty and staff care about their students, but in this aspect, things could be
better. 

If these distressed students can’t go to the social workers or psychologists, then whom can they go to?

Parents?

They are an available resource. However, often, parents are the stressors in a student’s life and cannot be approached.

School counselors?

The school counselors are available most of the time, but I feel that their role is primarily academic, so students mainly see them as being their guides for courses and college admissions.

Then who else could these students seek? I don’t know if there is any other adult a student can open up to.

There are a few ways to fix this issue.

If a student walks into SS office, there could be a qualified individual who could be a “triage” point. This individual could assess a student’s situation and prioritize appointments based on urgency of need, making sure that no student leaves without seeing a professional or without a confirmed appointment with the adult they came to see.

Right now, it appears as though there is a complicated process of entry for students to get an appointment with a psychologist or social worker. This may represent a barrier because of which these professionals are perceived to be not approachable.

The Central Times recently conducted a survey asking Central students about their experience when they approached adults in SS. Numerous students stated that the adults in student services did not take their needs seriously.

This is concerning. Students who build up the courage to go to SS to seek help must feel like they are being taken care of. Counselors, social workers and psychologists are responsible for the well being of our students.

Does our school have enough individuals on staff? Or are these professionals over-stretched? Could we examine the
processes that are currently in place so as to remove barriers to distressed students seeking help?

I am optimistic that once this matter is critically examined by district administration, all the shortcomings can be easily removed and distressed students will get the much-needed help.

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About the Contributors
Riddhi Andurkar, Managing Editor, Features Columnist

Riddhi Andurkar is a senior and it is her second year on the Central Times Editorial Board. She is the Managing Editor and Features Columnist. Outside...

Mary Szymanski, Head News Editor, Assistant Online Managing Editor

Mary Szymanski is a senior at Naperville Central and is a third-year staff member on Central times as the Head News Editor and Assistant Online Managing...

1 Comment

One Response to “Student Services lacks service”

  1. Angelina Lee on April 11th, 2018 1:33 am

    This article was so eye-opening, and not just because I go to Central. I really like how you emphasize the urgency of the issue, and delineate how it can be complicated for several reasons. There is definitely a balanced argument, for where/how the issue stems and how to fix it. This was really well written–great job.

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