Treyger Pushes To Ok School Absence For Mental Health Reasons


Add to the age-old grammar school excuse that the dog ate my homework a new one: “Sorry, I missed school yesterday, but I was feeling really mentally stressed out.”

That after City Council Member Mark Treyger (D-Coney Island, Bensonhurst, Bath Beach, Gravesend), chair of the council’s Education Committee, and a former social studies teacher introduced a resolution in the council yesterday in support of a pending state bill, S6687 (Hoylman), to permit minors to miss school for mental or behavioral health as am excused absence.

Council Member Mark Treyger

Treyger submitted the resolution after making improvements on mental health awareness and services for students in the recently passed FY 2020 city budget. This includes new baseline funding for 285 full-time school social workers, including 100 Bridging the Gap social workers, who serve schools with high concentrations of homeless students.

During the budget hearings, Council Member Treyger highlighted the disparities between the number of social workers and school safety agents. Last year, there were more school safety agents than guidance counselors, social workers, and school psychologists combined.

“Our students should have every single social and emotional resource possible—especially when facing mental health struggles. The New York City Council made a historic investment this year by allocating baseline funding for full-time social workers because every school should have a social worker. In addition, the New York City Council allocated funding to the Samaritans of New York, Inc., who work with stakeholders on suicide prevention,” said Treyger.

“My resolution builds on the City Council’s work to advance holistic mental health services for our students and calls for the passage and signing of New York State Senate bill S6687 in support of allowing mental health days for students. A child having a bad day shouldn’t be punished for needing a day off,” he added.

Treyger also introduced a resolution calling upon the mayor to provide paid medical leave for organ donation to all city employees through executive action and union negotiations.

Currently, city employees who wish to donate an organ do not have the right to paid medical time off.

There’s a high demand for organ and tissue donors in our state yet little incentive to enroll. New York City employees should not have to use unpaid personal leave time for offering to save lives through organ donation. My resolution aims to encourage organ and tissue donor enrollment without the stress of unpaid leave to provide a donation and save lives,” said Treyger.