There's a bill being discussed by the Florida legislature that would give students a mental health day each semester. This according to a story by KSHB-TV. My gut reaction is, students already get mental health days, they're called sick days.

Florida State Rep. Susan Valdes told the TV station students are under a lot of pressure "from academics to bullying to active shooter drills and the threat of school shootings."  I get the point and I don't disagree.

There was a fair amount of pressure when it came to academics, getting into a good college, and bullying back in the late 80's when I went to school. And those were the days when there was less pressure placed on kids to be involved in extra curricular activities and community service. So yeah, I can see why students might need to take a day to decompress when they're not sick.

What I'm stuck on once again is why call them mental health days? Outside of bringing attention to the fact that all of us occasionally need to take a day off to not go out of our mind, including students. Why designate them differently than a sick day?

Now if there's different criteria for what students can and can't do regarding school activities, sports, extracurricular activities if they stay home for a mental health day vs. a sick day I get it. When I was growing up for example, if you stayed home from school you couldn't participate in any extracurricular activities or sports that day. So I could see a different designation if a school wanted to let kids participate in extracurricular activities or sports on their mental health days.

If it's the student who gets to determine by themselves without a parent having to call them in for a mental health day I can see there needing to be a distinction too. I think this might be a good idea. Because, I have a sneaking suspicion the parent driving their kid towards perfect attendance, is going to be the same parent who won't let their child take a mental health day. (And children of these types of parents might actually need a mental health day.)

What do you think: Should students get mental health days?


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