Detroit Evening Report: Senate bill aims to excuse ‘mental health’ absences from Michigan schools

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A state Senate bill proposed in January of this year would allow K-12 public school students in Michigan to get up to five days of excused absences each school year for mental or behavioral health issues without a note from a doctor or therapist.

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Senate Bill 0029, introduced by State Sen. Sarah Anthony (D-Lansing), would also require schools to let students make up any schoolwork that they miss during that period. Under the proposed law, educators would be able to refer students to take two or more mental health days to go see counselors for additional help.

If passed, Michigan would join 12 other states that have enacted similar legislation, according to the mental health website Verywell Mind. Sen. Anthony says that when the Legislature returns in 2024, she will advocate for the bill to move quickly through the Senate Education Committee and to a vote. She expects bipartisan support.

Other headlines for Thursday, Dec. 21, 2023:

  • The Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency was awarded $2.6 million from the U.S. Department of Labor to continue the organization’s efforts to combat fraud.
  • Michigan is considered the 13th poorest state, with 49 of the state’s 83 counties experiencing increased rates of poverty in 2022, Bridge Detroit reports.
  • The holiday season is in full swing and on Dec. 26, the African American and Pan-African holiday of Kwanzaa begins, running through Jan. 1.

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  • Hernz Laguerre
    Hernz Laguerre Jr. is a Multimedia Journalist at 101.9 WDET. He is one of the co-host for "Detroit Evening Report," one of the weekend anchors for "Weekend Edition," the producer for our political podcast, "MichMash," and reports on arts, culture and politics.