Updates here: Passed unanimously through the education committee.
Kerry and Taylor Rhodes lost their son, Taylor to overdose and my husband and I lost our son Charles to suicide while he was going through withdrawal from a heroin addiction. We were at the General Assembly to speak on behalf of the bill HB 928.
Delegate Carrie Coyner is the Chief Patron for House Bill 928, which would establish the Region’s first Recovery High School Pilot serving Region 1 schools in Virginia at no extra cost to parents.
Region 1 includes:
▪ Charles City County
▪ Chesterfield County
▪ Colonial Heights
▪ Dinwiddie County
▪ Goochland County
▪ Hanover County
▪ Henrico County
▪ New Kent County
▪ Powhatan County
▪ Prince George County
▪ Sussex County
Delegate Coyner’s strategy was to start this as a two-year pilot in Chesterfield County and we’d review the data and adjust based on the results. The pilot would be modeled after other successful recovery high schools in the country. We are so grateful to Del. Coyner for letting us be part of the process. Carrie was a former school board member for Chesterfield County and now a freshmen delegate in Virginia. It has a ways to go and I’m not sure what is next but so happy this made it past step one.
The goal of the program
The Recovery School is all about Recovery and Education and making sure students struggling with substance use disorder (SUD) get the support they need.
This recovery school would help to bridge a gap in substance abuse services for teens and help students reach two main goals: Recovery and Academic Success. The earlier students receive long-term support for Substance Use Disorders, the better chance they have for long term recovery. Addiction is a long-term chronic disease and a year-round recovery high school would be a great benefit to students and their families.
8-YEAS–Bagby, McQuinn, Rasoul, VanValkenburg, Mugler, Cole, M.L., McGuire, Avoli
This bill was co-sponsored (I think that’s the word) by Del. Aird, Del. McQuinn and Del. Tyler.
More info via video
Here is a video of Carrie explaining the plans for the recovery high school. She is now a freshmen delegate and was on the Chesterfield County School board for many years which gives her considerable experience on how to approach this.
While I was there
Delegate Kaye Cory had a bill, HB 74, to propose that teachers get one hour of online training for suicide prevention so they can spot students with thoughts of suicide and connect them with support. I stood up and added my expertise. With a 70% increase in teen suicide and suicides happening during the school year, this is an important start. The bill started out that it would be Mental Health First Aid which is an all-day training but it was edited to an hour of online training.
7 YEAS–Bagby, McQuinn, Rasoul, VanValkenburg, Mugler, McGuire, Avoli
1 NAY–Cole, M.L.