(The Center Square) – A proposal that recently cleared the House Education Committee would consider mental health days as excused absences for students.
The bill was one of three approved Thursday after lawmakers fielded testimony about the public education system’s struggle to offer comprehensive mental health support to students.
House Bill 1519 grants parents up to three mental health days per year under the umbrella of excused absences under the state’s truancy codes. The bill reflects practices already put in place by many districts.
Committee members voted 14-11 along party lines with dissent issued by Minority Chairman Rep. Jesse Topper, R-Bedford.
“For many of our most at-risk students, being in school might be what’s best for them,” said Topper, who was himself home-schooled. He suggested that mental health days should require involvement from and official documentation by a medical professional.
Nelson emphasized that the bill allows the state to put “parents’ voices