Democrats vote down Bailey proposal to address student mental health

On Wednesday night Senate Democrats voted down Sen. Barbara Bailey’s common-sense approach to addressing student mental health in Washington. Prior to the Senate’s passage of a House bill on the subject, Bailey proposed an amendment based on language from her legislation, Senate Bill 6618, that would require a credentialed mental-health counselor in every school in the state. Her suggestion was rejected on a caucus-line vote.

“There is no price tag that we can put on our students,” said Bailey, R-Oak Harbor. “We must enable students struggling with issues to have access to mental health care. Our country is having a conversation about how we stop the epidemic of gun violence and my proposal is a needed tool to accomplish that. I am very disappointed that the majority party did not accept my amendment to seriously deal with this crisis.”

Bailey participated in a news conference earlier in the day to promote her legislation as a way to address school safety.

“It was very obvious that the person who committed this horrendous crime in Florida was in need of help at some point,” Bailey said. “In that light, I asked what is it that is missing here in the state of Washington? And the fact is we’re not helping our children enough to stop a tragedy like this from happening here. I believe my amendment would give students the help they need, an intervention in the school that will make them a safer place.”

All 25 of the Senate’s majority Democrats voted against Bailey’s amendment to improve access to mental health for Washington’s students.