In the wake of exclusionary, partisan politics, the media portrays the left screaming at the right (and vice versa), especially when it comes to the Second Amendment and school safety. “Gun control!” yells the left, “It’s not the gun!” yells the right. But what really is the issue here? The division.
That’s where Republican, Pennsylvanian Senator, Former Judge Advocate General (JAG) and District Judge, and US House candidate Guy Reschenthaler steps in.
Senator Reschenthaler introduced Bill No. 1181 in 2018, which addresses the issue of mental health in children, rather than focusing on an object— a gun. The bill requires mental health screenings, along with physical examinations in 6th and 11th grade.
I had the privilege to speak with Senator Reschenthaler to talk about the bill.
First, we addressed the bill itself, and what his inspiration was. His response reflected his time as a District Judge.
“I would constantly receive cases where the cause was … an undiagnosed mental health issue. I’ve seen shoplifting, substance abuse, violence, and countless amounts of issues where the source [was] mental health.” Senator Reschenthaler then went on to say that, “There’s an understanding in Harrisburg” when it comes to mental health-related reforms.
As a US House Candidate, I was curious to see if he would take the Bill to Capitol Hill if he succeeds in the midterms. “Like most conservatives, I like to keep education-based legislation at the state level,” he said, “but I wouldn’t hesitate to take it to Washington if a bill like this is needed.”
Senator Reschenthaler also explained that this was a Companion Bill, which is a piece of legislation that is introduced in both chambers. The Bill was originally from State Representative Dan Miller, a Democrat representing the 42nd District. Over a cup of coffee, the two worked together to create a bill that pleases both sides of the aisle and has tremendous potential to make change. When asked about Representative Miller, Senator Reschenthaler said, “He knows how passionate I am about mental health.”
When the two began advocating for the Bill, they garnered bipartisan support, just as they suspected they would.
In the Senate Co-Sponsorship Memorandum, Reschenthaler states, “According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, 20% of youth ages 13 through 18 live with a brain health condition that can drastically affect their emotional, psychological, and social well-being. Lack of proper diagnosis and treatment can result in serious risk-taking behaviors such as dropping out of school, substance abuse or self-medication, harm to oneself, or in very rare cases, harm to others. Suicide is now the second leading cause of death for youth ages 12-18, while half of all lifetime cases of mental illness begin by age 14. We know that 80-90% of adolescents who are diagnosed for depression are treated successfully, but most are being missed.”
“What other actions would you like to see being taken in the name of school safety?” I asked.
“SROs (School Resource Officers) are a great source when it comes to school safety. They do more than just protect the school. SROs handle everything from behavior, mental health, drugs and alcohol, along with issues at home,” he said. The Senator concluded the interview by saying, “School safety has always been important for me since my time as a District Judge.”
Listen to Senator Reschenthler talk about the bill here.
State Senator Guy Reschenthaler is running for Congress in Pennsylvania’s 14th district.
The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lone Conservative staff.