You’ve no doubt read the Oregonian article about how Benson is lacking a health center. While the history may be understandable, the limitations of old no longer exist and Benson’s student population could really use the services a Multnomah County funded health clinic would provide.
What’s more disturbing might be the recurring sentiment that Benson students should return to their neighborhood high school for many of the “extras” that fall outside of a student’s schedule. Today its student health services. Earlier this year it was athletics (more to come on this). I don’t know about you, but I almost never stepped foot in my neighborhood high school during my Benson days. The logistic and social implications of doing that are problematic at best.
How can *you* help right now?
Multnomah County does a lot of good through the many school-based health clinics that they currently operate, often times reaching students that otherwise wouldn’t receive help. We need people to convince Multnomah County Commissioners that opening a student health clinic at Benson is consistent with their mission and in the best interests of a group that is currently being under served. Unfortunately, the timing of all this is terrible as Multnomah County is set to vote on their 2015 budget on Wednesday, May 14th at 6pm. Given the tight time frame, here’s how you can help:
- Fill out the following form: https://web.multco.us/document/35685/download
- Write a short letter to submit as public testimony. You can find a sample letter below. You are welcome to use it as a guide, but please do not copy it verbatim. Your words will carry far more weight if they are yours alone.
- Email both the form and your letter to lynda.grow [at] multco [dot] us
- Meeting Date: May 14, 2014 – 06:00 PM
- Agenda #: 1
Multnomah County Commissioners,
Thank you for the great work you and your staff do to support students in Multnomah County. From your many community-based services to your outstanding SUN service system, Multnomah County is reaching a wide array of children who otherwise might not receive the timely help they need.
Please consider expanding your school-based health offerings to include a center at Benson Polytechnic High School. Benson is known district-wide as an institution that readies its students for success in living-wage professions and higher education. Graduation and testing data reinforces that a Benson education works well for all students, across all socioeconomic categories. For that reason, Benson’s student population consistently draws from every corner of the district. As Benson does not currently house a student health center and a decade of budget cuts have whittled its counseling staff down to but a few, there are likely students that are not receiving the services that could help them “level up” to that next step in their career pathway. Locating a school-based student health center at Benson would go a long way towards helping Multnomah County’s young adults become the hard working citizens Multnomah County needs for the future.
I submit that you reexamine the resources that are currently deployed at your other school-based health centers and consider reallocating unused resources at those facilities to a new health center at Benson. Nearly 85% of Benson’s student use mass transportation to get to and from school. It is not possible for them to travel back to their neighborhood school to seek out existing services. Reallocating unused resources from these neighborhood schools to Benson just makes sense. I urge you to make this a reality.