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Letter to Representative Lee expressing NEA's support for the Student Support Act (H.R. 171)

July 18, 2007

Dear Representative Lee:


On behalf of the National Education Association's (NEA) 3.2 million members, we would like to express our support for the Student Support Act (H.R. 171). We thank you for your leadership in introducing this important legislation to hire additional school-based mental health and student service providers.

As you know, the consequences of untreated childhood mental disorders are costly. School counselors, school psychologists, child and adolescent psychiatrists, and school social workers are needed to help these children and to provide a variety of crucial support services. Across the U.S., there are insufficient resources for school-based counseling professionals, and often students do not get the help they need.

H.R. 171 will make available critical resources to help tackle this problem. The bill will provide grants to states and local educational agencies for additional school-based mental health and student services. In addition, the bill will help to remove emotional and behavioral barriers to learning so as to enhance students' classroom preparedness and ability to learn. We are pleased that your bill supports teachers in improving classroom management, conducting behavioral interventions to improve school discipline, and developing the awareness and skills to identify early warning signs of violence and the need for mental health services.

We thank you again for your leadership on this important issue. We look forward to working with you to garner support for school-based mental health programs as Congress begins the process of reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.

Sincerely,

Diane Shust, Director of Government Relations

Randall Moody, Manager of Federal Advocacy