EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. – Aiming to create safer schools beyond the use of security and law enforcement, state Rep. LaToya Greenwood, D-East St. Louis, helped pass bipartisan legislation offering grant funding to schools that prioritize their students’ mental and social well-being through social workers, psychologists and other means.
“Our young students deal with a lot of social and emotional issues as they grow up, and they need to be in a positive environment that helps them understand their own mental development,” said Greenwood. “This legislation shows a commitment to children’s long-term well-being as we help schools transition to putting more care and concern on their student’s mental health.”
The Greenwood-backed House Bill 4208 allows schools to apply for state-funded grants to hire social workers or implement other evidence-based programs to improve school safety and encourage healthy school environments. The proposal passed with bipartisan support in the General Assembly, and is headed to the governor for his signature.
“We need to find a balance between maintaining school safety, but we cannot ignore the issues our students deal with personally that we do not see each day,” Greenwood said. “At such a young age, they need to feel comfortable to approach an adult who is there to offer constructive guidance and build their self-confidence.”