Bill asks panel to study students' mental health

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COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — A bill that would have put a psychologist in every South Carolina school has evolved into the creation of another study committee.

The measure which advanced Wednesday to the House Education Committee puts together a group of educators and experts to devise a plan for addressing students' mental health issues.

The overall goal is preventing tragedies like the Dec. 14 massacre at a Newtown, Conn., elementary school that killed 20 children and six adults.

The original bill by Democratic Rep. Jerry Govan of Orangeburg required every school to hire a psychologist.

But that's estimated to cost local school districts a combined $68 million. Currently, there are 462 full-time school psychologists statewide. An additional 900 would be needed.

Subcommittee members balked at the cost and said there are likely better solutions.

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