• Student mental health days proposed by Florida lawmaker

    By: Beth Rousseau , Action News Jax

    Updated:

    Alma Kesedzic’s two boys are only in elementary school, but the mom is already looking out for their mental health.

    “It’s very important to me, especially in today’s society. It’s just communication, is just – important they are mentally ready for the world out there,” Kesedzic said.

    A Florida lawmaker is proposing a new way to care for students’ well being.

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    A bill filed in the Florida House in early October would excuse students for one mental health day a semester.

    It’s an effort to fight depression and suicide among students.

    “It’s the same idea of taking a little day for a reset. [It] allows us to refresh. When we come back, we’re more engaged, as a result, in our learning,” Dr. Tracy Alloway, a psychology professor at the University of North Florida, said.

    She said a day away from the classroom can be beneficial as long as it’s spend the correct way.

    “Create an experience for yourself – maybe that’s a quiet experience, maybe that’s an activity like yoga, maybe that’s just sitting on the beach and watching the sunrise or sunset,” Alloway said.

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    School leaders in Clay and St. Johns counties said mental health is not specifically mentioned in their absence policy.

    Action News Jax reached out to Duval County Public Schools. As of Thursday, the district had not sent a response.

    Some parents worried students would abuse the rule.

    Kesedzic said she only sees it as a positive for her sons.

    “I’m pretty sure there’s some people out there that would take advantage, but I wouldn’t,” Kesedzic said.

    Click here to read the proposed bill’s full text.

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