State's School Safety Task Force aims to focus on mental health improvements

PHOENIX (FOX 10) -- A week ago, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey signed a school safety law, but it's not the proposal teens with March For Our Lives helped draft. On Monday, the teens met with some lawmakers and the state's top school leader to come up with some options to increase mental health support in public schools.

"Navigating the Arizona Legislature is a piece of homework all by itself," said Emma Rowland.

After two bills failed in the Arizona State Legislature, Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman announced a School Safety Task Force, and did so while remembering her own experience being on lockdown in the classroom, and wondering if it was real or not.

"If it was real, I thought to myself, how would I protect my students," said Hoffman.

The Arizona outlet for March For Our Lives pushed their bills, and got a lesson in politics along the way as they try to reshape their push towards mental health.

"Students are suffering from anxiety, depression. Communities of color don't feel safe. Undocumented students don't feel safe in our schools. Going to school causes anxiety for all backgrounds all over our country," said Jordan Harb.

"How do we build a positive, inclusive school culture that strongly deals with such issues as bullying and cyberbullying, student home life and community problems, and student mental health?" said State Sen. Kate Brophy-McGee (R).

Closing the gap on school counselors could play a major role on Arizona student's mental health.

"I strongly urge the legislature to include more funding for counselors to reduce our student-to-counselor ratio, which is the worst in the country," said Hoffman.