Students' petition asks Polk County schools to add full-time counselors

Two Polk County High school students believe they may have at least part of the solution to the growing problem of school violence.

They want every school in Polk County to have at least one full-time counselor. Their petition on has garnered nearly 700 signatures so far.

“I feel like if a student had that opportunity to talk to a counselor about how they’re feeling, maybe that would have stopped them from making that irrational decision,” Jasmine Burden told FOX 13.

Burden and her friend, Jaqueline Roque, who both attend Bartow High School, are behind the petition - and the Polk School District is behind them.

In a written statement, the district writes, ”We support any effort to bring awareness to the importance of mental health issues. We agree that having a mental health counselor at each school dedicated to treating students who need help would be extremely successful.”

Polk County School Board Member Billy Townsend is supportive as well.

“I am thrilled that they are doing that,” he commented to FOX 13. “I think we need to listen to the experiences that our kids tell us they’re having.”

The district would like to hire 150 counselors and says it is lobbying Tallahassee for the funding.

For more information about the petition can be viewed at