PISD takes fresh look at student needs

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Mental health and the negative impact of social media on today’s youth made a solemn topic at a workshop among Pearland ISD leaders.

The school board on March 10 discussed a workshop presentation that Trustee Andrew Solomon described as enlightening but depressing.

Focusing on depression and suicide prevention, discussion revolved around what the district could do in terms of counseling and meeting the mental health needs of its own students.

Trustee Charles Gooden suggested a full-on campaign to combat negative impacts of social media.

“The district psychologist says it’s a crisis and we have to understand that it’s a crisis,” Trustee Solomon said, “and we really need to think about anything and everything we can do to minimize the risk that it never happens again. Obviously, you can’t guarantee that it’s not going to happen again, but it has to be our goal. It has to be our mission.”

Workshops are open sessions in which the board receives input and advice from staff and discusses options, but no action is taken.

During the public comment period, the school board heard from Turner High freshman Kinsey McDonald, who described herself as severely dyslexic.

In her address to the board, the 15-year-old spoke of the merits of classes in ASL, or American Sign Language. While it is primarily used by the deaf and hard of hearing, she said, it is increasingly adopted among the hearing population. Being able to study and learn ASL, she said, would help with college entrance.

“Schools usually want you to have two years of the same language before admission,” she said.

But for learning disabled students, learning a foreign language is a daunting task. This is not necessarily so with ASL, she explained.

The board thanked her for bringing the request to their attention.

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