Primary 2020: Republicans In Brunswick County Board Of Education Race Look At Mental Health

Feb 17, 2020

David Robinson and Catherine Cooke are facing off in the Republican primary for the District Two seat on the Brunswick County Board of Education. Cooke is an incumbent, while Robinson is a veteran of the Holden Beach Fire Department and rescue squad. 

Catherine Cooke is hoping to be reelected to the Board. She says mental health is at the top of her list of priorities.

“I mean it's a challenge for everybody, but it's a challenge nationwide. That is the mental health crisis that we have going on. It's not so much that it's a new thing. I mean, it's been around a long time. It's just we are more aware of situations that are going on, you know, with children, with families, households in the community. It's not just isolated to our County, but to the nation.”

Cooke says the County needs to be creative in its approach, because funding is a challenge and will probably remain so in the foreseeable future.

“I know we've even had, just recently we've had Novant Health come and work with us to try to get tele-counseling, what's called tele-psych or whatever because we have, we're just limited with funds that we have from the state for counselors, behavior specialists, all the different kinds of people that help to facilitate children that are in crisis or that have issues at home they have to deal with. And it's just obvious to outside sources that we need extra assistance. So right now we're looking at that.”

David Robinson is also concerned about mental health in the school system, and how people treat one another.

“Really my top priority right now is helping the school system to address the bullying issue. That is a big priority and close to my heart. I hear a lot of issues on a daily basis with regard to parents dealing with this and the school system. It's not only a situation where we have children bullying children, but there are adults in the mix as well. And I would like to be able to help address that among several other things going on within the school system.”

He believes with the right strategy, the schools could do more to prevent bullying.

“I think what we could do, first of all, is to make sure we're addressing and enforcing the current policies and procedures that are in place. Making sure the staff are addressing and enforcing the current, the existing policies and procedures. And simultaneously, what I would like to see done is a committee of different people developed, you know, those people being school personnel, law enforcement, students themselves and citizens of the community.”

Early voting is now underway. Same-day registration is available through Feb. 29. Election Day is March 3. 

Vince Winkel, WHQR News.