This petition is about the issue of the loss of 4.5 EPIS counselors for the 2010-2011 school year. I attended a prior public board meeting where Dr. Mary Rose Caulfield-Sloan proposed that social work interns replace the eliminated EPIS counselors. I am a parent at James Fallon Elementary School where I have a child in 1st grade and a child in 3rd grade. Unfortunately, our EPIS counselor is one of the 4.5 counselors who have been eliminated from next year’s budget. I am adamantly opposed to the proposal made by Dr. Caulfield-Sloan to replace the EPIS counselors who are certified, licensed and seasoned mental health professionals with student interns. How can our elementary director expect the parents of Wayne to trust their young impressionable children with student interns? If my son or daughter is experiencing a crisis in our family or a personal problem, I want them to be able to go to speak to a professional that they know and trust from year-to-year. Someone who has built a relationship with them and can draw upon years of experience and prior knowledge to guide my children in resolving problems. As a parent I want to be able to confide and trust in my child’s school counselor. I want to be assured confidentiality for myself and my family and I want that assurance from a professional. I do not feel at all comfortable that this assurance will be provided by student interns. Additionally, I do not want my children to be part of any case study or a statistic for data collection for an internship program. In times when we are raising the bar for professional standards as evidenced by the new requirements for highly qualified paraprofessionals; why are we then lowering the bar for standards for mental health professionals? I find it hard to believe that our elementary director would suggest lowering our standards as it relates to our youngest most vulnerable student population. I am one of many parents who have come to know and trust our counselors for their knowledge, experience and professionalism. I do not want any of the EPIS counselors to be replaced by interns. If you share the same views that I have expressed above, please sign this petition and send it to everyone you know that has a child(ren) in a Wayne public elementary school. This petition will be presented at the council meeting this Thursday, June 17th. THANK YOU!