YOUNGSTOWN — The Red Zone will continue to help students in the Youngstown schools despite the abrupt closure of its Columbus office, the school district announced.
The counseling and mental health organization’s Youngstown branch at 209 W. Woodland Ave. remains in operation. It was founded by former Ohio State football player Maurice Clarett.
The Red Zone has been in the Youngstown school district for about three years, offering mental health services to scholars who need them.
“The Red Zone will continue to play an integral role in helping the scholars of the Youngstown City School District,” district CEO Justin Jennings said. “The organization is a critical partner for our schools and we value the services owner Maurice Clarett and Red Zone counselors provide. We look forward to continuing that relationship for a long time.”
WSYX-TV in Columbus reported on Wednesday that some employees got an email Jan. 26 from Clarett saying the office was shut down. That same day Clarett was at a book signing in Easton. Clarett said on his website that proceeds from the book are going to The Red Zone Foundation.
The TV station reported an attorney for the business provided a letter sent to employees, informing them of the closure and their termination. It also blamed the employees, saying mistakes made on Medicaid reimbursement forms led those claims to be rejected and unpaid. According to the letter, “both internal and government audits made it clear the Columbus office was the source” of the mistakes.
Also in Columbus, WCMH-TV reported more than a hundred clients are left without counselors since the RedZone shut down operation last week. The station tried calling the number for the RedZone to get in touch with Clarett, but it was disconnected; email bounced back when trying to reach out to the company.
Also in the Youngstown City Schools this week, as part of National School Counseling Week the district wants to show support for its school counselors.
“Our school counselors are an integral part of the academic team in each building,’ Linda Yosay, chief of student services, said. “As such, they assist scholars in all areas such as academic achievement, behavior, social-emotional needs and career development. School counselors are part of the school support team who work closely with teachers, administrators and families to ensure our scholars have the best possible educational experience.”
National School Counseling Week is sponsored by the American School Counselors’ Association. Its aim is to draw attention to the contributions school counselors make in school systems across the United States, helping scholars to be successful in school and to plan for careers.