Work Shouldn’t Hurt

When an Oregon student’s disabilities trigger violence, it is far too often classified employees who bear the brunt and are left feeling as if they have nowhere to turn.

In the following series of articles, you will hear the voices of employees who face the daily threat of violence. They will help describe the ongoing challenge of keeping school staff safe while providing a quality learning environment for students with profound intellectual and developmental disabilities. You will also learn about the root causes of these challenges as well possible solutions.


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Part 1: Classified speak out

To this day — nearly a year after the incident — Beth can’t describe what happened to her without crying. The veteran SPED assistant was working with a student who was becoming increasingly agitated, when the teen erupted, kicking her in the head with heavy boots. Read More

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Part 2: Reporting key to prevention

Christopher was placed in an impossible situation. The individualized education program (IEP) for the student he was assigned said no one should be within 48 inches of the teen. Despite this, Christopher was ordered to sit next to the student while the class watched a movie. Read More

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Part 3a: OSEA leads campaign

OSEA and AFT will be working hard at the local, state and national levels over the coming months and years to address violence against school staff. Our coverage has garnered letters from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), as well as the U.S. Department of Education. Read More

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Part 3b: What chapters can do

OSEA members have been emboldened to speak out, and AFT-Oregon and the Oregon Education Association (OEA) have joined us in seeking solutions at the state and national levels. Implementing solutions will take time, but OSEA members need not wait to act at the local level. Read More

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