South San ISD students ask board to move money used to reopen schools to fund mental health programs

SAN ANTONIO – South San Independent School District students say the recent vote by the board of trustees to move forward with plans to reopen three closed schools is fueling their resolve to get the community involved in making a change.

Melivia Mujica and Amanda Nava spoke out against the district’s efforts during a school board meeting Wednesday. More than a dozen students showed up with signs that read, “Student voices matter” and “Our lives are in your hands.” Some even sharing their personal stories about mental health problems and suicide attempts.

“(The students’) grades go down. They don’t care about school. When they find that help, they're going to have to go downtown to get the help they need,” Mujica said.

Their effort was to persuade the board to divert the money intended to reopen Kazen Middle School, Athenes Elementary and West Campus High School to mental health programs and campus building improvements.

 “To show that they were still going to vote against us kind of proves that we’re not being heard,” Nava said.

Students say they are paying for equipment that the district should be providing. Parents also pointed out buildings in desperate need of repair.

“We pay out of pocket for equipment we need, which isn't necessarily our job, and I feel like there’s a lot more things we can use,” Nava said.

Jenny Suniga Collier, district spokeswoman, said the plan is not yet final and other meetings will be held before a final vote is made.

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