To the editor:
There are positive things to say about WRAP and not enough space here. What's not being discussed publicly is the loss of WRAP at the elementary level. Secondary levels may provide easier attribution of the program's worth regarding reduced crime/increased graduation rates. However, the public discussion isn't including the concept of prevention at the elementary level. It seems many folks don't understand how many children in K-6 struggle with significant mental/emotional difficulties; enough to keep a WRAP worker, district counselor and social worker employed full-time at each school to provide support/referral services to promote academic success and lay the prevention foundation.
If the "powers that be" want to walk the prevention talk, there ought to be sharp focus on K-6. It may be harder to provide empirical data about prevention at that level, but if there's doubt about the enormity of need I'd suggest the "powers that be" arrange to spend several hours observing/participating in classrooms where mental/emotional health challenges present tangible difficulties to teachers, fellow students and personal success - right down to kindergarten.
As an elementary counselor/ social worker, my public voice is intended to impart some credibility to this argument, though I don't claim to be a district authority. Elementary mental health workers are each distributed at several schools. The loss of elementary WRAP will further strain the elementary mental health system. Despite some opinions, there isn't duplication of services between the various positions. Ultimately, the highest cost will be to children, their families and increased risks at secondary levels.