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As a Board, that's what we'll do

It should not take events like what happened in Uvalde to get us to see that our students deserve better. It is not enough to offer condolences. We need to focus on what we can do. As a Board, that’s what we will do.

The first priority in our strategic plan is that “All students feel safe at school and have the supports necessary to thrive.” In this moment in history, it is a goal that feels out of reach. It isn’t. We believe that working together, embracing solutions, and supporting our students as whole people can make positive change. We must value the lives of our kids first, then education can be successful. We must support kids socially and emotionally, in a safe learning environment, where they can pursue academics and learn to navigate society with resilience.

Our commitment to equity is unaltered. For us, that means checking in with the communities we represent, finding out how we can continue to support Washington families, and keeping our purpose and plans at the forefront of our minds as we make policy and work with legislators.

We are one agency. In our state, we are lucky to have partners in agencies and organizations that are working to improve our education system, advance equity, and respond to the needs of students and communities. If we can support initiatives, bills, advocacy campaigns, or anything else that will provide real, positive change and bring ensured safety for our kids, we will.

The following is a list of recent legislation about safety in schools and supporting social emotional student well-being. The State Board signed in support of these bills and will continue to support similar pieces of legislation: 

  • 2022 2SHB 1664 – Concerning prototypical school formulas for physical, social, and emotional support in schools. 
  • 2022 SHB 1800 – Increasing access to behavioral health services for minors.
  • 2022 2SHB 1890 – Concerning the children and youth behavioral health work group.
  • 2022 HB 1834 – Concerning student excused absences for mental health reasons.
  • 2022 SHB 1941 – Concerning school safety-related drills.
  • 2021 ESHB 1214 – Providing K-12 public school safety and security services by classified staff or contractors
  • 2021 SHB 1363 – Addressing secondary trauma in the K-12 workforce.
  • 2021 SSB 5030 – Developing comprehensive school counseling programs.

The State Board prides itself on being a “learning organization.” If there are ways you feel we can help in advocacy, please reach out to us. Supportive resources and messages around this attack are available. Here are just a few: 

Thank you to the school district leaders, staff, and communicators, for sharing resources and information to your communities as soon as possible following the horrific event. With hope for a brighter future, 

Bill Kallappa
Chair
Washington State Board of Education