Leander ISD hosting mental health awareness event

Cedar Park Middle School (KXAN file photo)
Cedar Park Middle School (KXAN file photo)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Leander Independent School District invites parents and community members to a meeting Monday night to discuss mental health issues inside the schools.

The ‘Supporting our Teens in Today’s Society’ event starts at 6:30 p.m. April 17 at Cedar Park High School Performing Arts Center, 2150 Cypress Creek Road in Cedar Park.

The goal, according to the district, is to provide advice to parents and show what resources for preventing teen suicide are available to them.

This comes after the superintendent sent a letter to parents about recent student deaths. Concerned parents tell KXAN two students — one at Cedar Park High School and Cedar Park Middle School — took their own lives within days of each other.

“We’ve had some students die suddenly this year, it’s been a difficult time for everyone in the school district. We’ve had teachers pass away suddenly this year, we’ve had children of teachers pass away, we’ve had children who were lost in road accidents and we’ve had children who’ve died unexpectedly in other cases,” said Terry Abbott, Chief Communications Officer for LISD. “Those are things that really hurt the entire school community.”

Last week, school board members with the LISD announced they will take up the issue of mental health the next time they meet.

“The board is hurting, our community is hurting. I’m looking forward to the community coming together,” said Trustee Jim MacKay, who is also a suicide awareness facilitator. “We work together to help our children.”

Parents argue the district is being reactive instead of proactive.

“They’re doing stuff, it’s just not enough. If it was enough, we would not be having this conversation right now,” said parent Gretchen Kropp.

She also says help should be coming from more than just the schools counselors.

“I wish that we had teams of mental health professionals that could be deployed to our school expeditiously. We don’t need this calendar year 2018-2019, we need this today. These kids are silently suffering,” Kropp said.

The next LISD school board meeting is April 20.

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