Building Better Schools: Anthony Wayne Schools prioritize mental health, safety for students

Published: Sep. 27, 2022 at 7:00 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 27, 2022 at 7:07 PM EDT
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) -Mental health and safety are two top concerns for local schools as district administrators continue to navigate through the pandemic.

Anthony Wayne Local Schools has added positions to make sure kids and families get the support and resources they need.

Two recent hires are Beka Hrcka, the district’s full-time social worker, and Ashley Kunesh, a school resource officer.

While the two positions fulfill different roles, overall safety is at the core of both jobs.

“We want to remove all of those barriers that may give them any discomfort or any uneasiness we want to make sure that they’re safe and happy and developing those relationships. They know that they can come to us if they ever have a question or problem. They can feel safe with us,” Kunesh said.

Hrcka said a social worker’s job is to ensure support both in and outside of the classroom.

“Social workers are in a unique position to really connect all parts of our community. We’re able to do home visits, to go visit family that needs support. We’re able to connect community members to school-related things, and we’re able to connect kids and families to resources outside the community, and that might not be something that counselors are able to do during their day,” Hrcka said.

The school district now has two full-time resources officers and one security officer. However, Hrcka is the district’s first full-time social worker.

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