OLYMPIA – The Washington State Senate voted 43-3 today to approve legislation defining the duties of high school counselors.
School counselors are highly educated and provide vital resources for the academic, career, personal, and social needs of all students. However, many counselors in Washington are asked to cover for other positions and perform tasks such as proctoring exams, acting as crossing guards, and watching over recess.
“Right now, we’re seeing these specially trained professionals be pulled away from their jobs to perform duties that are not their responsibility,” said Sen. Mark Mullet (D-Issaquah), sponsor of the bill. “Counselors are meant to provide students with the resources they need to succeed in high school and plan for their post-graduation lives, so that’s what they should be doing.”
Senate Bill 6480 requires school districts to develop and implement written plans for a comprehensive school counseling programs. The bill also requires school counselors to spend at least 80 percent of their work time providing direct and indirect services to students.
“School counselors are extremely important to our kids’ education,” said Mullet. “I’m confident this proposal will boost the amount of time counselors can spend helping students with their academic and personal lives.”
After passing the Senate, the bill will now move to the House for consideration.
For information: Courtney James, Senate Democratic Caucus Communications, (360)-786-7853