U.S. Secretary of Education Cardona visits John Marshall High School to promote mental health services

(ABC 6 News) – Students at John Marshall High School in Rochester started their day with excitement.

Both Senator Tina Smith and U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona visited the school as apart of Cardona’s “Raise the Bar Bus Tour” across the Midwest.

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Cardona’s tour is all about learning and promoting better access for mental health services for students both in and outside the classroom.

Cardona’s been touring schools from Kansas to Minnesota, but John Marshall High School was a stand out to him on this tour.

He said that within the 30 minute tour he had of the school, he could easily see how strongly teachers and staff put forth effort to make it all about community inclusion for the students here.

“The entire team here, amazing. It really is about relationships. Regardless of what position they’re in, what their title is. It doesn’t matter. This is a family here and it’s evident when you walk in,” said Cardona.

Senator Tina Smith agreed with this assessment saying the adults effort to treat the kids with respect goes a long way in the results they see in the school.

“What you’re doing here with this school is brining it all together in a way that, of course makes sense to students because they’re one person. To treat these young people with the dignity and the respect and the opportunity they deserve,” Smith said.

And as Cardona and his bus caravan make their way back to Washington D.C. this weekend, they’ll be using John Marshall High School as an example across the country on how they can improve mental health services for public schools.

“We need to start thinking as we reimagine our schools and raise the bar. We need to make sure that mental health services like the ones that are seen here are just par for the course in schools,” said Cardona.

Rochester Public Schools (RPS) superintendent Dr. Kent Pekel mentioned to Cardona that RPS will be starting a new mental health literacy program next month as another way to build on student mental health services.