2023 Legislative Report - Special Education Staff

PASSED: De-escalation Training and More for Classified Staff (SB 283)

SB 283 is already discussed in the previous section, but it is important to highlight that the bill also includes crucial provisions to protect and support classified staff working with special education students:

  • A minimum five-hour workday for classified staff who work with special education students
  • $5 million in funding for de-escalation and other training for classified staff

OSEA members have been fighting for this training for years, knowing it is essential to keeping staff and students safe when working with students with the highest needs.

PASSED: Classified Access to IEPs (SB 756)

As the staff who often work most closely with students with special needs, classified must know about their students’ needs and accommodations. Now, all classified staff assigned to work with a special education student will have access to the relevant information they need in the student’s individualized education plan (IEP) and/or 504 plan. Classified staff will be included on IEP teams for their students, invited to IEP meetings and consulted on changes to the student’s IEP. Districts must also provide employer-paid training for all staff assigned to work with special education students.

SB 756 will improve the quality of education for students with special needs by helping every staff person they work with know what the student needs and how best to support them. It also protects staff by providing training and information about working with high needs students. Importantly, it applies not only to special education assistants but all classified staff assigned to work with these students — including bus drivers, cafeteria workers and office staff.

DEFENDED: SPED Staff Liability (SB 790)

This bill expands the definition of child abuse to include certain types of restraints and seclusion. Thanks to advocacy from OSEA, the bill was amended to make it clear that school districts, not staff, will be held liable for instances of abuse if appropriate training has not been provided to the staff involved. We also made sure it protects workers who have a reasonable expectation of being fired if they do not follow a supervisor’s direction to use restraint or seclusion.