Group argues in favor of rejected student mental health facility in Killingly

Farma Darya

KILLINGLY, CT (WFSB) – Parents in Killingly are petitioning in favor of a no-cost mental/behavioral health center that was rejected by the town’s Board of Education.

The group, Take Back Our Killingly Schools, said more than 50 Killingly parents and residents added their names to a complaint that was filed with Connecticut Department of Education Commissioner Charlene M. Russell-Tucker.

“We are pleading with the state to investigate the actions and inaction of the Killingly BOE who we believe is failing to implement the educational interests of the state,” the group said in a news release. “Our students are experiencing a mental health crisis and the BOE has denied them access to the social and emotional supports they need in order to learn.”

A group of parents and students traveled to Hartford to speak during public comment at the Connecticut Board of Education meeting at 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday.

“I really wish our school could have some support because I think it’s having an effect on our behavior and on our mind,” said Alyssah Yater, a Killingly High School senior.

The public became invested in the issue after a report said that nearly 15 percent of Killingly middle and high school students said they formulated a suicide plan.

Senior Julianna Morrissette said she was one of them.

“I know many people are struggling right now and they don’t have the ability to speak out in support of this, so I feel because I have my voice I should use it,” Morrissette said.

Advocates argued that the survey showed a desperate need for more mental health services.

“Our kids are in crisis, especially in Killingly,” said Christine Rosati Randall, a district parent.

“There’s a sense of urgency and we are not understanding why our voice is not being heard,” said Jenelle Provencher, a district parents and teacher.

The Killingly board’s decision was the reason Yater traveled to Hartford to bring the situation before the state board.

“My experience with Killingly High School is that most students are struggling with mental health it’s not the minority it’s the majority,” she said.

Members of the state board said they will examine the complaint and determine whether or not a formal investigation is necessary.

Channel 3 reached out to the chair of the Killingly board. As of Wednesday morning, a response had not been received.

The group launched a petition that can be viewed here.

Parents in Killingly are petitioning in favor of a no-cost mental/behavioral health center that was rejected by the town’s Board of Education.

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