Mental health services approved at Killingly schools; parents continue fight for center

Parents and students at Killingly High School continued their fight for a mental health center this week.
Published: Aug. 10, 2022 at 11:43 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 11, 2022 at 7:31 AM EDT
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KILLINGLY, CT (WFSB) - Parents and students at Killingly High School continued their fight for a mental health center this week.

The Board of Education on Wednesday night approved a plan to improve mental health services for students.

However, those fighting for a center said the plan falls short.

According to a survey conducted at Killingly schools, about 15 percent of middle and high school students in town formulated a suicide plan.

Parents and students have been fighting for months to add a mental health center to the high school to combat what they called a mental health crisis.

The majority of the Board of Education prevented a clinic from opening and said it sought to explore alternatives.

“We were discussing alternatives to the school-based health center and generated list,” said Killingly superintendent Robert Angeli.

One of the proposed alternatives was a program called Rachel’s Challenge. The program was named after a victim in the Columbine shooting.

It was described as a workshop where kids could learn empathy, self-confidence, and resilience to bullying.

Rachel’s Challenge was approved at the board’s meeting on Wednesday night and will be in effect at the beginning of the 2022-2023 school year.

Parents argued that the program was just a band-aid to the mental health crisis and they don’t want plans to build a center to be ignored.

“It will hopefully inspire some change in students, but its not going to help address what we have all been fighting for months, which is to get our kids already struggling with mental health issues the help they need,” said Kristine Cicchetti, a Killingly parent.

The Connecticut Department of Education said it is also demanding answers on why the mental health center was denied after the board promised to use more than $3 million for it.

The board is set to meet with the Department of Education by the end of August.

Killingly's Board of Education approved a mental health services program.
Parents and students at Killingly High School are continuing their fight for a mental health center.