Dear Editor:

Last week I heard about the proposed partnership between the Watertown school district, Dodge County, and the Greater Watertown Community Health Foundation that would provide free mental health counseling to students in our district.

I have two grandchildren in the school district and I think this is a great idea! It’s free to taxpayers, free for the school district, and affordable or free to students and their families, because it’s paid for with private grants.

Plus it’s pretty common knowledge that kids are struggling nowadays, and everybody knows that not all families can afford to get help for their kids. Kids who don’t get the support they need can end up abusing drugs and alcohol, dropping out of school, and even committing suicide, so if we can help them, we should!

So, when I heard that some of our school board members oppose this partnership, I was shocked and honestly furious. How could anyone refuse a program that has been proven to be effective in other districts, that is free to students and families and taxpayers, and that is so important to the success and well being of our children?

Apparently some of these folks think that it’s not the job of schools to provide access to mental health. Well, it shouldn’t be the job of schools to feed kids, but our schools have free breakfast and lunch, and partnerships with Feeding America, and the Gosling Nest at the high school. It’s not the job of schools to provide daycare, but our district partners with the YMCA to provide after care services. It’s sure not the job of teachers to buy school supplies for their students, but I know many who do it anyway, out of their own pockets.

Why do our schools do all this? Because our children are our most precious resource and our school staff loves our children, and they know it’s the right thing to do.

Participating in this proposed partnership between the Watertown school district, Dodge County, and the Greater Watertown Community Health Foundation is also the right thing to do for our kids.

Please call the members of the school board, especially Board President Tony Arnett, and ask them to support this program for our children! Their phone numbers are on the school district website or you can call the district office to get the information.

Chuck Otto

Watertown

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