By Carol Mills. Executive Director, Newaygo County CMH
Earlier this week, the Grant Public School Board took the extraordinary action to terminate the contract for the school health center. This was done without any advance notice to either the community or Family Health Care, the provider.
As the Executive Director of Newaygo County Mental Health, I am both dismayed and outraged that this decision to close the Health Center was executed in such an underhanded manner, without transparent communication and due consideration for the well-being of the students.
The Children and Adolescent Health Center (CAHC) has been an essential support for the students of Grant Public Schools, providing crucial healthcare services that are vital to their physical and mental well-being. With an on-site health center, students have had the advantage of immediate access to medical professionals who can address their concerns promptly and effectively.
The CAHC provides a wide range of services that are not easily accessible elsewhere, especially for families with limited financial means or transportation options. Students rely on the center for many services, including physical and mental health counseling services. As a result of the cancellation of this contract, these students will not receive the care they deserve and need. The closure of this health center jeopardizes the health and safety of the students, especially those with mental health needs. The center is a primary tool in the prevention of teen suicide and self-harm.
I am also deeply concerned about the message this closure sends to the students. It sends the message that Grant Public Schools does not prioritize the mental and physical health and well being of their students.
It is disheartening to learn that the closure of this vital and important community resource was orchestrated without any consultation with the school community, parents and students. The lack of transparency surrounding the closure of the health center raises concerns about the school board, which has an obligation to act in the best interests of the entire school community. This recent action of canceling the contract, without open dialogue and engagement shows a general disregard for the welfare of students and families in the Grant community.
I implore the school board to immediately reconsider its decision and take the necessary steps to reinstate this contract. It is imperative that all stakeholders, including parents, students, and faculty are given the opportunity to provide input, voice their concerns, and be heard.
I encourage all community members to make their voices heard, and their opinions known. The CAHC provides the students of Grant Public Schools with vital and critical services for both their physical and mental health. These services are not easily replaced. As a community, please come together and advocate for the reversal of this decision.
This can be done in many ways, including writing the Grant School Board in care of the administrative office at 148 East Elder Avenue, Grant, MI 49327, calling the school offices, or attending the next school board meeting on July 17, 2023. Please speak up in any way you can – this community is better than this, and we need to do better for the children of the Grant School District.
Letter to the Editor Policy
Near North Now welcomes original letters from readers on current topics of general interest. Simply fill out the form below. Letters submissions are limited to 300 words.