A new proposal could eliminate the requirements for school counselors and librarians in public high school. Currently, Schools are required to keep one counselor per 450 students. The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education voted earlier in the month to allow school districts to find alternate counseling services. If outside agencies are used, schools would no longer be required to have a set amount of counselors per students. Mike Williams, the 12th grade counselor for Lafayette High School said the counselor to student ratio is already steep. He believes, while eliminating counselor positions could save money in school budgets, it could end up in a reduction of services to students.
“Many times, counselors are working behind the scenes with administrators, teachers and parents to help student and to prevent difficulties in students daily lives.”
Williams said counselors receive immense training, have master degrees and are certified in their craft. He believes agencies may not have to meet their requirements or perform the day to day tasks.
BESE member, Lottie Beebe, is against the new proposal.
“We have to have our kids emotional well-being is place, in order for them to be able to receive learning from their teachers,” she explained when asked why the roles of counselors are vital.
As a Superintendent-Elect for St. Martin Parish, she knows the hardest part for school districts will be balancing funds and the need for counselors.
“Do you hire a new teacher or a counselor? These are the challenges school officials will have to face.”
Ultimately, if the proposal becomes a rule, it would be up to the superintendent of each school district to decide whether or not to keep counselor, or allow schools to use outside agencies.