Kentucky public schools are already in trouble. It is hard to imagine things getting worse, but I fear they are only going to get worse before they can even attempt to get better.

The Board of Regents voted to suspend 13 academic degree programs, while one, the school psychology degree program’s vote is postponed until June. School psychology is a Psy.S. program in jeopardy at EKU, and it is the one master’s program I have developed a huge interest in and hope to one day pursue.

The Psy.S. degree in school psychology is a three-year, 71-hour degree program. Completetion of this program gives students a master’s degree in general psychology and a specialist degree in school psychology.

This program is what gives individuals the chance to be a guidance counselor, and public schools (especially in Kentucky) need guidance counselors.

Seventeen school shootings have occurred in the U.S. in 2018, and it is only April. It is scary to think of the pattern that has started in America. At least one of the factors to all the school shootings is lack of mental health care. It’s very important we take all measures to help children build their mental health as soon as possible.

As somebody who wants to be a guidance counselor in an elementary school one day, it is really hard to think that EKU might decide to cut this program. EKU has been home to me for the last three years. I graduate in December with my undergraduate in child and family studies, and I’ve always dreamed of coming back to EKU to pursue my master’s.

With my degree of child and family studies, I am hoping to work as a family resource coordinator in an elementary school. Lately, things have really been put into perspective, making being a guidance counselor even more appealing.

I work in child care, and I have had the opportunity to be there for children facing a hard time whether it is at home, at school or both. Hearing about their hardships is not by any means easy, but it is meaningful. Children finding somebody to trust even when facing hard times is important, and if “Ms. Carrie” (which is what all children tend to call me) can be there for them, then that is a day accomplished.

As a guidance counselor I could provide services for children facing those hardships as well as teaching children about many things such as bullying or cyberbullying, how to handle their emotions and so much more.

EKU suspending school psychology would not only be a mistake for students of EKU, but it would be a mistake for all the children of Kentucky. Children need guidance, not only in elementary school, but throughout middle school and high school, too. They deserve to have somebody on their side, and I want to be that somebody for children in Kentucky.

I truly believe a lot of the programs being cut is a mistake for the university and those who pursue education at EKU. The school psychology program is just the one that personally affects me. I do not by any means think that this one little opinion piece is going to change the mind of those on the Board of Regents, but I am hopeful that my voice can be one of many. Many voices make for some loud voices, and if it’s up to me, we should not back down!

Carrie French is a senior from Lawrenceburg, Kentucky. She is graduating in the fall with a degree in child and family studies.

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