By Justin A. Rice, Town Correspondent
The Peabody School Committee passed a measure last night that will provide free in-school dental care to every elementary student and some middle school students twice a year.
The nonprofit dental organization, Polished LLC, founded by Peabody native Ellen Gould will provide care at the city's eight elementary schools and the Higgins Middle School starting this year. The services will be paid for with the students insurance and in the cases that the students don't have insurance the care will be paid for with a grant.
A letter will be sent home with students and the students will not receive care without parental consent. The School Committee voted to give the nonprofit a one-year trial.
"One of the things we?re going to try to do is implement it for a year and see how it works," Peabody Mayor Michael Bonfanti said.
Bonfanti said he was recently visiting a local health care facility for low income people when it "dawned" on him that many of the students in his district were going without dental care.
"This one kid in particular has a need for dental work and cosmetic [dental] work and like anything else kids make fun of him," Bonfanti said. "The kid had such a low self esteem he talked about suicide.
"When you look at the number of diseases and health problem, a lot of kids just don't have this care."
Justin A. Rice can be reached at email@example.com.