FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – Mar. 7, 2023
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OLYMPIA – The Senate unanimously passed Sen. Claire Wilson’s (D-Auburn) bill to regulate non-public agencies that serve Washington students with disabilities Tuesday.
Senate Bill 5315 in response to a report by the Seattle Times and ProPublica, which found Washington has been giving millions of dollars to schools without proper oversight, leading to complaints of abuse, lack of academic progress and staff dependency on restraint and isolation.
“It is on us to change this inadequate system,” Wilson said. “That’s what SB 5315 will do.”
SB 5315 requires the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction to develop a complaint process, so parents can report noncompliance and violations of student rights. That process can be used to identify and address patterns of misconduct, as well.
The bill also establishes a clear approval process for non-public agencies — which would require on-site, pre-approval visits by OSPI — and ensures the school district and non-public agency to inform parents about their student’s rights and inform them of the new complaint process.
“We owe it to our students, their families and staff,” Wilson said. “Staff deserve our support, and our most vulnerable students deserve to be supported and safe at school.”