Tucson student aims to make school safer with focus on mental health

Tucson student aims to make school safer with focus on mental health
Peris Lopez (Credit: Catalina Foothills School District)

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - School shootings and mass shootings have become an unfortunate reality in modern day America. Following the Parkland, FL, shooting last February, survivors advocate for gun control and students across the country have mobilized to take action against gun violence.

One student who’s advocating for school safety as a result of campus shootings is Catalina Foothills High School senior Peris Lopez.

She’s a motivated student- president of ASB with her sights set on college at Princeton and Georgetown. She also says she wants to help and affect people in her future.

She’s already made an effort to do that with a resolution she wrote that the Catalina Foothills School Board passed last week. The resolution highlights the importance of mental health and the role it has in school safety, along with advocating for more state funding to be given to mental health resources on Catalina Foothills School District campuses.

Lopez says after the March for Our Lives in Tucson last year she realized she wanted to take action. She got together with some of her friends and decided to start work on a resolution to propose to CFSD while her friends in other districts worked on their own resolutions.

“We decided another aspect of mental health is that it’s a school safety problem,” she said.

She’d already organized an awareness week earlier in the year to highlight mental health and the different issues teenagers deal with, but now she wanted to take things a step further.

Lopez says it took her a while to write the resolution and get the formal language of it down but she took it as a learning experience that she says ultimately ended up being fun.

Lopez presented the resolution to the Catalina Foothills School Board last week and it passed. Coincidentally the board was already looking into revisions for their counseling program so the chips truly fell into place in terms of timing.

Below is the resolution in full.

WHEREAS, The U.S. Congress findings state, to succeed in school, students need to be physically and mentally healthy.  They need to maintain overall well-being in a safe environment, work cooperatively with others, be good communicators and effective problem solvers;
Peris Lopez
At the Catalina Foothills Governing Board Meeting in January, CFHS Student Body President Peris Lopez initiated a resolution for the governing board’s consideration. It seeks additional funding from the Governor and Legislature towards mental health support in Arizona schools. 
Catalina Foothills School District

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