Kentucky House passes bill requiring schools to allow excused absences for student mental health days

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Posted at 8:58 PM, Jan 18, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-18 20:58:00-05

(LEX 18) — The Kentucky House of Representatives has unanimously passed a bill that would require schools to recognize mental health as a reason for an excused absence.

House Bill 44 was sponsored by state Representatives Bobby McCool, of Paintsville, and Lisa Willner, of Louisville. The bill was recommended last year by high school students within their respective communities: Cole Butcher of Johnson County, Kameron Julian of Jefferson County, as well as Amira Bowman of Marion County.

"I'm so proud of the students from across Kentucky who brought the idea forward to allow excused absences for student mental health days," said Rep. Willner. "This is their bill, and it makes explicit that mental health is health. I think that’s one of the important lessons the pandemic has taught us."

"This bill represents one important step in supporting student mental health, but there's more work to be done. I hope that the passage of HB 44 in the House today sends a clear message to Kentucky students that their elected representatives are listening to them, and that we care about them and their well-being."

House Bill 44 now heads to the state Senate for its consideration.