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Parents, Students Protest Social Worker Cuts

Brookline students Liza McVinney, center, and Marie Fleming, right, talk with passersby about proposed social worker staff cuts. Matt Gifford in the background organized the event. Wicked Local photo by Susan Danseyar.

Jeers to the School Committee in Brookline, Mass., for proposing to cut five high school social worker positions.

The proposal raised the ire of parents and students, who staged a protest at a recent committe hearing. They wore pins labeled “SOSW,” or “Save Our Social Worker.”

Town resident Bob Gifford sent this link to a Wicked article on the issue. Parents said laying off social workers would be the wrong thing to do since teenagers are at a critical developmental phase and  need confidential guidance social workers offer.

In fact Chris Jansky, a student who suffers from depression, said social worker Fran Kuehn probably saved his life. “If he’s not here next year, it’s not going to be a good junior year,” Jansky said.

The committee and school administration said they are confident they can provide students the same services the five social workers did. The committee will vote on the budget cuts on April 8.

Q: Are school social work positions often put on the chopping block first when schools consider budget cuts?

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  1. Yes! It seems that social workers are first to go. I am being laid off at the end of this school year after working with the school system. My position is not going to be filled by another social worker – but instead closed. There will be one remaining social worker who has been employed longer than I have, but her already high caseload is going to DOUBLE. We live in a very impoverished community and I fear for the outcomes of the students and their families in the following years.

  2. This is so depressing; I grew up in Brookline around Coolidge Corner. Devotion was my elementary school.

    Jeff_L B.S.W

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