October 4, 2023
Last Studying: Vermont faculty officers say college students’ psychological well being is at ‘a breaking level’
Last Studying: Vermont faculty officers say college students’ psychological well being is at ‘a breaking level’
Rep. Peter Conlon, D-Cornwall, chair of the Home Committee on Schooling, is seen on the Statehouse in Montpelier final month. Picture by Glenn Russell/VTDigger

On Thursday morning, lawmakers within the Home Committee on Schooling had been proven a picture of a uncooked egg, caught between the jaws of a vise and simply starting to crack. 

That egg, a part of a PowerPoint presentation by Franklin Northeast Supervisory Union Superintendent Lynn Cota, was a metaphor for the state of psychological well being in Vermont colleges.

“There comes some extent — a breaking level — the place issues begin to break,” Cota advised lawmakers. “And I feel that we’re dangerously near a breaking level with all that we’re attempting to carry in public training.”

The testimony got here in a listening to about kids’s psychological well being and staffing shortages in colleges and Vermont’s designated companies, nonprofits tasked with offering psychological well being therapy to communities throughout the state. 

Over the previous 5 years, colleges and companies have confronted a two-pronged problem: elevated psychological well being wants from kids, and a scarcity of assets to supply therapy. Like an egg caught between the jaws of the vise, the system is exhibiting cracks, officers stated.

This picture of a cracking egg, a part of a PowerPoint presentation by Franklin Northeast Supervisory Union Superintendent Lynn Cota, was a metaphor for the state of psychological well being in Vermont colleges.

College students’ psychological well being wants aren’t getting met. Suppliers’ waitlists are rising longer and longer. Kids are spending days in hospital emergency rooms ready for psychological well being therapy. Faculties are pressured to direct an increasing number of funding towards psychological well being, all whereas competing with designated companies for a restricted pool of workers.

“Each faculty system in Washington County proper now could be basically constructing our personal mini psychological well being companies inside our buildings,” Montpelier Roxbury Public Faculties Superintendent Libby Bonesteel advised lawmakers. “We’re doing this not as a result of we really feel it’s our job or our space of experience, as a result of it isn’t. We’re doing this out of desperation.”

However faculty officers made it clear that they didn’t come to the legislature searching for reforms or cash — a minimum of, not for themselves. As a substitute, superintendents stated, the state ought to put money into its psychological well being system writ massive, together with designated companies and different therapy suppliers.

“You most likely do not usually get those who come to you and say, ‘We’re not asking you for something for us,’” Cota stated. “I do not assume we’re asking actually for something for us.”

— Peter D’Auria


A invoice that might ban paramilitary coaching camps, corresponding to Slate Ridge in West Pawlet, drew constructive feedback Thursday from members of the Senate panel reviewing it. Nonetheless, some lawmakers expressed concern that proving somebody violated the proposed laws could be tough.

The invoice, S.3, would make it against the law to function a paramilitary coaching facility if the particular person doing it “is aware of or moderately ought to know that the instructing, coaching, or demonstrating will likely be unlawfully employed to be used in or in furtherance of a civil dysfunction.”

The Senate Judiciary Committee took up the invoice throughout a listening to Thursday. Whereas committee members typically spoke in favor of the newest model of the measure, questions stored popping up concerning the doable issue of convicting somebody of against the law past an inexpensive doubt. 

On the finish of the dialogue, Sen. Dick Sears, D-Bennington, the committee chair, stated he initially didn’t assume the invoice would go very far, however current adjustments make it extra prone to advance.

Learn extra right here.

— Alan Keays

Damien Boomhower and his spouse, Jessica, hoped to have a good time their natural dairy farm’s 10-year anniversary in 2022 with the pop of a champagne bottle. As a substitute, he was extra nervous concerning the farm’s monetary state than he’d been since he purchased it. 

Natural dairy farmers throughout Vermont are experiencing a disaster. The farmers have requested lawmakers so as to add $9.2 million to the state’s Finances Adjustment Act, H.145. Lawmakers within the Home have already accredited the funding, and the invoice now sits on the Senate facet.

“That is extra to them than their livelihoods,” stated Rep. Heather Surprenant, P/D-Barnard, who’s vice chair of the Home Agriculture Committee and likewise an natural dairy farmer. “It is a lifestyle and one thing they’re actively searching for to be in, and I’d hope that people would take a look at that and need to assist them in that.”

Whereas the Home has already accredited the funding, it’s doable it might hit roadblocks because it strikes by means of the Senate and because it reaches the Gov. Phil Scott’s desk. 

Learn extra right here.

— Emma Cotton


The Vermont Home has superior a invoice which intends to legally defend out-of-state sufferers who come to Vermont to obtain reproductive well being care, and safeguard the Vermont docs who present such care.

Colloquially known as a protect legislation, H.89 is Vermont lawmakers’ newest transfer to beef up protections for abortion entry after the U.S. Supreme Court docket overturned Roe v. Wade case precedent. The invoice additionally consists of protections for gender-affirming look after transgender sufferers, as quite a few state legislatures all through the nation try to limit entry that care, as nicely. 

The laws would defend Vermont well being care suppliers from investigation, interrogations, subpoenas, extradition or arrest by out-of-state entities ought to that physician present reproductive care to a affected person who traveled to Vermont from a state the place such care is illegitimate. The invoice is comparatively restricted in what protections it will possibly supply sufferers as soon as they depart Vermont however does present some safety by basically kneecapping out-of-state investigators.

The Home on Thursday accredited H.89 on its second studying by voice vote, so no vote depend is obtainable. 

“Given the very aggressive assaults on reproductive rights and reproductive well being care throughout the nation, I feel it was actually essential for us to cross this laws to guard suppliers and sufferers,” Home Speaker Jill Krowinski, D-Burlington advised VTDigger after the ground vote. 

Learn extra right here.

— Sarah Mearhoff


After receiving report of off-duty racism and misogyny by Vermont troopers, public security chief initially declined to take motion (VTDigger)

Vermont State College group stunned, dismayed by library and athletic adjustments (VTDigger)

UVM officers apologize to Vermont-state acknowledged tribes whereas Odanak reps proceed to denounce them (Vermont Public)

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