WCHS initiates new wellness protocol: bring your pets


Photo by Clara Young

WCHS junior Julia Levi affectionately pets her cat, Samba, as she does her schoolwork. She feels much less stressed now.

By Clara Young, The Other News Editor

Stress about schoolwork. Stress about college applications. Stress about time management. Stress about social life. WCHS students, along with other high schoolers, know the feeling of stress all too well. Now, MCPS is taking the initiative to introduce a new solution to aid student stress and mental health: Bring Your Pet To School Wednesdays!

 “I think this is a great initiative being taken by MCPS,” WCHS junior Mira Sharma said. “My parents are doctors and they always talk about how much pets help improve mental health. I’m so grateful that the school system has realized this too.”

WCHS students are excited for this new wellness initiative. The county wants students to be able to bring any pet that will make them feel comfortable. 

“There has been extensive research done proving the effectiveness that pets have on improving student welfare,” WCHS parent Dr. Suparna Wedam said. “A lot of students will benefit from this decision as pets truly do provide the support that students need to manage their stress levels.” 

This new wellness proposal will benefit all WCHS students, as MCPS has made sure that every student is able to take advantage of this opportunity to bring a furry friend to school. 

“At first I was a bit unsure about the policy,” Sharma said. “I wasn’t sure if people without pets would be left out, such as myself. I was overjoyed when I heard that MCPS is pairing up with the Humane Society to provide petless students with a selection of pets to choose from just for Bring Your Pet To School Wednesdays!” 

The Humane Society has stated that it is hoping Bring Your Pet To School Wednesday will encourage students to adopt more pets as they form a bond with the animal they are choosing to bring to school. The organization is grateful for this opportunity as increased human care and affection can decrease rates of animal suicide and depression. 

“I am so happy that Bring Your Pet To School Wednesdays is benefitting not just the students, but also the pets involved,” Wedam said. “It is so important to acknowledge that pet health is just as important as human health. I think it is going to be fascinating to see the results of this action.”

Even just the idea of bringing their pet to school has decreased student stress rates by 98 percent. The Humane Society hopes to see the same type of decrease in their animals’ stress levels. This initiative touches on solutions that had not been previously explored.

“This unique initiative is exactly what the county needs,” Wedam said. “It is already benefiting a range of groups–animals and humans alike. I think that when trying to improve student mental health, thinking outside the box is an important step of the process.”

WCHS students are ready for this unusual change and so are Montgomery County schools. They have begun changing counselor offices into care spaces for pets for when they need food, water, a bathroom break, etc. MCPS is determined to find new ways to implement wellness initiatives and are ready to provide the facilities needed.

“I cannot wait to see what MCPS does next,” Sharma said. “I have heard about the new wellness ideas being discussed such as Students Teach Thursdays, Fail-A-Test Friday, and No-More-School Mondays. Bring Your Pet To School Wednesday is just one small step in the battle for better mental health country wide.”