Why I’m Running

Hello, my name is Isaac Kerry and I am running for school board. There are several issues I am passionate about, but I have one primary concern that is the driving force behind my campaign: supporting student mental health.

The devastating school shooting in Uvalde, TX was the galvanizing force behind my decision to run. As a parent, and as a first responder serving on the Eden Prairie Fire Department, I was filled with a keen desire to do everything in my power to ensure something like that does not happen in our community.

After research and consideration, I decided that the main way local schools can make a difference in addressing the root causes of school violence is by deepening their support for the mental health of their students. While big-picture issues like gun control are decided far above the local level, behavioral problems and school violence are deeply tied to mental health. By making student mental health a key priority, the district can make a real and appreciable impact in students’ wellbeing and school safety.

We are in the midst of what can only be described as a crisis of adolescent mental health. One study last year found almost half of high schoolers reported feeling “persistently sad or hopeless.” 20% had “seriously considered committing suicide.”

These are deeply troubling statistics, and their relevance to school safety is clear. The young man who perpetrated the Uvalde shooting was by all accounts very friendly in his youth. However, he was persistently bullied and ultimately withdrew from his friends. Ultimately the mental health crisis he was undergoing led to one of the most tragic conclusions in American history.

If elected I will work to elevate student mental health to be a key focus of the district. I will push for an annual student mental health survey so we can identify trends and target interventions. The board should set mental health goals for the district based on this survey, just as it does for academic metrics.

I will additionally push for our district to implement the free Know the Signs training program provided by the Sandy Hook Promise organization. This is a research-backed, comprehensive training program that teaches students and adults how to spot warning signs of violence and how to prevent it.

By enhancing our district’s support of students’ mental health we will create safer schools for all. I hope you will join me in advocating for this vision come the election in November.