As a school counselor, Dodi Slaughter said she and her fellow counselors do all they can to make sure the voices of students are heard.
“Students today struggle every day with the changes in their lives. More grandparents are raising students, which leaves students without parents or with parents that cannot take care of them. More students suffer from trauma than any time in the past,” Slaughter said. “We do all that we can to make sure we are the voice of the students and to do all we can to help them.”
With mental health a growing concern amongst families, especially during the pandemic, Slaughter said it has never been more important for school counselors to be present.
“I have been a counselor for many years, and it seems more and more students are suffering with mental health. Many adults do not believe in mental health, which means that we must be there for the students even more. Sometimes we are the only help they can get. I believe that without school counselors, more students would be contemplating self-harm. We deal with this issue every week. If we were not here, who would help?”
Like many school counselors, she noted it is often overlooked how many roles a counselor plays in a child’s life.
“We may not do long-term counseling all the time, but that is because we wear many hats in our schools. School counseling is a stressful job that sometimes goes unnoticed. We help with mental health, academics, attendance, personal issues, social issues, and everything in between. At the high school level, we help with preparing and applying to colleges, getting students through the FAFSA, applying for scholarships, job searches, and many more things. It is a hard job, and most of us would think the world of just a thank you!”
Trained and educated as community counselors, Slaughter said she has always enjoyed helping people, especially children. She said because of these experiences, she knew being a school counselor was the perfect job for her.
Slaughter earned her bachelor’s degree in elementary education with a specialization in math in December 2000 from Fairmont State College, and earned her master’s degree in counseling in May 2004 from West Virginia University.