VIERA, Fla. -- Brevard Public Schools is receiving $1.7 million from the state to address mental health issues for students.

  • Goal for new hires is to identify troubled students
  • Board member says it will be challenge for students to speak up
  • Board discusses armed security, resource officer at each school

On Tuesday, the school board signed off at a meeting in Viera Tuesday morning on a plan that would allocate that money to hiring new social workers and psychologists.

The money is from the Marjory Stoneman Douglas School Safety Act, approved by the state legislature following the deadly school shooting in south Florida.

Brevard school leaders plan on hiring 16 more social workers, five instructional assistants to aid counselors, and four more school psychologists.

The goal is to identify and help troubled students before it is too late.

"With the current budget, we're going to do as much as we can to support students," said school board member Andy Ziegler, "but the other thing that we have to realize is students are going to have to come and speak up or someone is going to have to identify them and that's a challenge."

A mother of two young boys, 6-year-old Gunner and 4-year-old Barrett, is glad that people are finally focusing on mental health.

It showed when the school board voted 5-0 to continue passing the consent item along.

“When children are troubled, they don’t speak up. It good people in schools will be able to recognize the signs and give them the help they need," the Brevard mom said.

Brevard Public Schools officials explain their students were already pushing for mental health wellness in their classrooms.

“A month before the parkland shooting, Brevard schools help our student government get on a bus and go to Tallahassee. They asked for more mental health spending, which eventually made it into Parkland legislation," said Matt Reed, Assistant Superintendent.

Brevard Schools says prevention is the new focus.

“This is to prevent them from becoming active shooters, suicide and prevent them from becoming drug addicts," Reed said. 

Also on the agenda for Tuesday's meeting was an update on the school's other security measures.

Brevard Public Schools plan to have both a school resource officer and armed security specialist in each of the district's 82 schools.

Brevard's proposed plan requires board approval prior to submission to the Florida Commissioner of Education by Aug. 1.

Spectrum News Reporter Krystel Knowles contributed to this story.