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CDC Issues Mental Health Guidance for Schools Based on Race

Bix on Newsmax Dec 7 23
Thought Leader: Deborah Birx
December 7, 2023
Source: Newsmax

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently issued guidance on mental health in schools that advocates for a “focus on equity” and race-based affinity groups.

Titled “Promoting Mental Health and Well-Being in Schools: An Action Guide for School and District Leaders,” the new guidance was released this month to help teachers and school administrators “identify evidence-based strategies, approaches, and practices that can positively influence students’ mental health,” the CDC said.

“Schools play an important role in promoting the behavioral and mental health and well-being of students through education, prevention, and early intervention efforts,” the document’s introduction reads.

According to the guide, schools should be adequately staffed with mental health professionals and have “consistent administrator buy-in and support,” in addition to focusing on equity as a way to address student mental health.

Girls, youth who report experiencing racism, youth from racial and ethnic minority groups, and LGBTQ youth should be prioritized, according to the document, because they “often feel less connected at school and experience poor mental health.”

Schools should also have more teachers from racial and ethnic backgrounds that reflect those of the student body, the CDC’s new guidelines recommend.

“While racial/ethnic minority students make up over half of the population of students in the U.S. public education system, fewer than two in ten teachers have racial/ethnic minority identities,” the guidance states. “This is a notable gap since research has found that having school staff who are representative of the racial/ethnic backgrounds of students in the school can increase connectedness within the school and between staff and students.”

Another way to “support connection at school for all students, including students at higher risk for being disconnected” is to establish affinity groups for students of color and LGBTQ students.

House Education and Workforce Committee Chair Virginia Foxx, R-N.C., had harsh words for the CDC and accused the agency of exploiting the country’s growing mental health crisis to “push a far-left vision of mental health that is totally out-of-step with what our children need.”

“This guidance completely misses the mark of what’s best for students and their families,” Foxx told the Washington Examiner. “Segregation has no place in our classrooms, and schools should never presume without first asking parents how to respond to such sensitive issues as gender dysphoria. It’s a shame that the CDC has injected a far-left vision of gender and race into guidance that should be bipartisan.”

A CDC spokesperson told the Examiner in a statement, “The guide encourages schools to establish affinity groups, which are not tied to the teaching environment, where students of like interests and identities can experience social connectedness, which can contribute to better mental health.

“Examples of affinity groups seen in some schools include chess, math, music or art clubs. The guide is suggesting the same for groups of students who might like affinity groups of their own. Any suggestion otherwise is inaccurate and misleading.”

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