Study ranks Arizona last in student-to-counselor ratio

(Source: KOLD News 13)
(Source: KOLD News 13)
Updated: Mar. 12, 2018 at 9:02 AM MST
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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Student mental health is top of mind for many people following the mass shooting in Parkland, FL.

A new report shows Arizona is last in the student-to-counselor ratio with an average of 924 students per counselor.

The American School Counselor Association recommends 250 students per counselor.

Educators like David Dietz say lack of school counselors has a negative effect on student mental health.

He says many children are dealing with issues at home and are bringing them into the classroom.

He says if untreated, the problems escalate and can affect student learning. But beyond that, he says it can affect what kind of person they grow up to be.

"We're in the process of trying to break a cycle and there's never enough of us to go around. It's almost like asking somebody to go to Starbucks and get a coffee and giving them a dime. There's just not enough to go around," he said.

Dietz is retired but volunteers as a school counselor at Tully Elementary School. He says the student to counselor ratio there is 800 to 1. He says he wouldn't be able to help all the students if it weren't for the help from interns.

"We have such fabulous school counselors at TUSD. They do such great work. They're fighting the good fight every single day but there's just not enough of us given the trauma we have to deal with," he said. Things have changed even in the last 10 years. I thought we had trauma back in the 80s and 90s. It's worse now than it was before."

Dietz says lack of school counselors is an issue only lawmakers can fix and some are trying.

A house bill introduced earlier this year would increase the salary for school counselors. The bill is currently going through committee but has yet to be heard by the entire house.

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