Student Mental Health Days
Public Act 102-0321 permits students to take mental or behavioral health days.
According to the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE),
“Public Act 102-0321 (Senate Bill 1577) amends the compulsory attendance article of the School Code by allowing students to take up to five mental or behavioral health days per year. A student is not required to provide a medical note and must be given the opportunity to make up any schoolwork missed during such absences. Following the second mental health day, a student may be referred to the appropriate school personnel” (Public Act 102-0321 - FAQ).
As a district, we continue to prioritize the well-being of our students. While the implementation of mental and behavioral health days for students is new across districts in our state, supporting the mental and behavioral health of our students directly aligns with our values and the work we are currently engaging to support the well-being of our students.
Here are some of the ways Public Act 102-0321 aligns with our work in Naperville 203:
- It supports us in adding an additional layer of social, emotional, and behavioral support to our multi-tiered system of support for students, with additional ways to capture our current needs and a wider need for counseling and support amongst our students.
- It assists our district with learning more about the mental and behavioral health needs of our students, by the manner in which these days are used.
Attendance and Student Mental Health Support Expectations
- Attendance on these days will be coded as an “illness” or sick day that is specifically taken to support mental and behavioral health. These days will be distinguished from traditional sick days.
- There will be a specific attendance code (MNHD – Absence Excused) to capture these absences and they will be treated like a sick day, which would be an excused absence.
- Prior attendance codes for sick days will remain. Mental health days will be associated with the MNHD code.
- Unlike other days taken that are related to an illness/sickness, after the second “mental health” day is taken by a student, early childhood and elementary principals and student counselors at the junior high schools and high schools will receive an email notifying them of 2 or more mental health related absences. When school personnel requests a counseling and support meeting, it is not an optional request. Students are expected to participate. Students will need to be responsive to the outreach and attend the meeting, as our Student Services teams work to ensure that students have the social, emotional, and behavior support they need.
- Naperville 203 plans to collaborate with families regarding the mental health and behavioral needs of each student. Parents and students will be notified if there is a request to participate in a counseling and support session with a school-based counselors, social workers, and school psychologists after the second mental health day is taken.
- When the school personnel requests a counseling and support meeting, it is not an optional request. Students are expected to participate. Requests for mental health days will not be approved, if this counseling and support meeting does not occur or there is not adequate participation. In this case, requests will be documented as unexcused absences. Parents and students are expected to stay in close communication with school-based counselors, social workers, and school psychologists.
Student Counseling and Support Meetings
Our Student Services personnel regularly schedules support sessions and meetings with students. This is a normal practice across the district. The implementation of mental health days provides an opportunity for the district to more specifically identify existing and additional needs that may exist, in order to better ensure that the needs of students are known and being met.
After the second “mental health” day is taken by a student, early childhood and elementary principals and student counselors at the junior high schools and high schools will receive an email notifying them of 2 or more mental health related absences. When these specific individuals receive alerts and as Student Services teams review attendance reports, students may be required to engage in a counseling and support meeting with a school-based professional (i.e. social worker, school psychologist, counselor). When a counseling and support meeting is requested, it is not an optional request.
The language in Public Act 102-0321 specifically states that students “may” be referred to the appropriate school support personnel. Our Student Services teams will use discretion when determining student referrals for counseling and support meetings.
The following are some of the reasons students may be referred for a student counseling and support meeting following the second mental health absence :
- A history of social, emotional, and/or behavioral supports
- Noted changes in behavior, academic performance, and/or overall well-being at school
- Excessive or increased absences or school refusal concerns
- Noted attendance trends or patterns, regarding the days requested
- Parent, guardian, or caretaker request for a student meeting
- Other concerns brought to the attention of school personnel
If students are contacted to participate in a counseling and support meeting, students are required to participate. Students will need to be responsive to the outreach and attend the meeting, as our Student Services teams work to ensure that students have the social, emotional, and behavior support they need. School personnel will communicate with students and parents regarding the meeting.
Excused Absences and Missed Coursework
As outlined in Public Act 102-0321 and according to our current practices for managing excused absences in Naperville 203, students will be given the opportunity to complete missed school work during a mental or behavioral health absence, without consequence.
To support academic progress, teachers are expected to keep course expectations, information, and learning resources up-to-date on Canvas. Students should consult Canvas and work with teachers to ensure a timely completion of missed coursework and/or assessments. Teachers will provide students with appropriate time-parameters for work and assessment completion. Work completion time-parameters will closely align with our current practices associated with excused absences.
Mental and Behavioral Health Supports and Services Available in Naperville 203
Naperville 203 has several mental and behavioral health resources available to students and families. Students and parents are encouraged to access support through their school teams or by reviewing these resources at any time.