News Briefs: July 20 – 26

Co-Responders Program Assists In Mental Health Crisis

“Through the Co-Responders Program, Fairfax County has successfully redesigned how we best serve our residents while equipping staff to be in the best position to assist people in a mental health crisis,” said Jeff McKay, chairman of the Fairfax Board of Supervisors.

“Fairfax County has long proven to be a leader in providing mental health services to residents, and through programs like the Co-Responders Program, we are setting yet another example for other jurisdictions throughout the country to follow. For far too long as a nation we have asked first responders to deal with issues like mental health alone. That old model does not work for anyone – our first responders, those suffering a mental health crisis, or the community as a whole. Our Co-Responders Program builds on a better future, and I am proud of the efforts by the FCPD, CSB, and all other County agencies who have made the program what it is and what it will be.” 

The Fairfax County Co-Responder Program is a partnership between the Fairfax County Police Department and the Fairfax-Falls Church Community Services Board (CSB). The program pairs a Crisis Intervention Team trained police officer with a CSB Crisis Intervention Specialist to respond to behavioral health related public safety calls. This program is composed of team members who have completed advanced training and serves both adults and youth who are experiencing mental health crises. The program also works collaboratively with a number of County and community-based programs to help enhance its success.

‘Free Dog Fridays’ Now at Area Animal Shelter

Fairfax County Animal Shelter is having Free Dog Fridays all summer.

Throughout the summer, all dog adoptions will be fee-waived every Friday at the animal shelter located at 4500 West Ox Road Fairfax, Va. It operates from noon to 7:00 p.m. on Fridays.

Available dogs and other pets, and more information is available on the Fairfax County website. 

Frisch Assails Youngkin ‘Attack’ On Transgender Students

“The Youngkin administration’s attacks on transgender students and their families are unconscionable and dangerous,” Fairfax County School Board member Karl Frisch, one of only three LGBTQ+ school board members in Virginia, said in a statement this week. “We must do everything we can to protect, support, and affirm transgender and nonbinary students so they can focus on learning rather than being distracted by the weight of other people’s hate. That starts with standing up to careless political leaders who should know better than to bully children.”

“Did you know that 45 percent of queer youth seriously considered attempting suicide in the past year?” the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee added in a statement. 

Bi-Partisan Teacher Grant Offer Dropped by Youngkin 

Ashlee Parker of Progress Virginia reports this week that while “Republicans and Democrats came together to create a grant opportunity for teachers of color that would lower the financial burdens teachers with provisional licenses face when getting their full teaching licenses,” without any public notice or justification, Gov. Glenn Youngkin has taken the application off of the Virginia Department of Education’s website and stopped distributing the funds.

“Gov. Youngkin doesn’t get to unilaterally decide which parts of the state budget he wants to comply with and which parts he doesn’t, and we are calling on him to restore this grant opportunity for teachers immediately,” Parker claims. 

“Every child deserves to have at least one teacher who looks like them, and most families in our community can agree that a strong teaching force with a diversity of values and perspectives benefits everyone,” LaTwyla Mathias, Executive Director of Progress Virginia, said. “Just because Governor Youngkin doesn’t value diversity doesn’t give him the right to stand in the way of lawmakers who want to make it easier for teachers of color to stay in the classroom. It is critical that we break down the barriers that exist to becoming a teacher, especially as many of our schools struggle to find committed, qualified teachers. Governor Youngkin needs to do the right thing and restore this grant opportunity immediately.”